Dual Electronics is also entering the navigation/infotainment market with a the NavAtlas XNAV3550 (MSRP: $499.00). The unit features nice aesthetics and is pre-loaded with two million POI (Points of Interest) in the database. Along with its full menu of GPS navigation functions, Dual’s XNAV3550 features an MP3 media player, an AVI movie file player and JPG image viewer. Media can be stored on the included 1 GB SD media that is also used for loading updates, maps and firmware. Additionally, all navigation and multimedia functions operate at peak speed thanks to the unit’s 400MHz processor, which runs the Windows CE.Net (4.2) operating system. When used in a moving vehicle, the XNAV3550 offers maximum safety, with red/blue LED turning indicators that are easily seen by the driver. Robb Groner, Dual’s director of product development comments on the unit and how it can become a part of a professional installation, “The Dual XNAV3550 offers the best of all possible worlds, making it particularly attractive for installers who can take advantage of the threaded insert and 12V DC input to create a seamless installation in one vehicle, while giving consumers the option to move it to other vehicles as needed. The suction cup mount makes it easy to take the XNAV3550 on the road for use in, say, rental cars before it is returned to the primary vehicle for more secure installation.” The unit also benefits from its ability to turn itself off when 12-volts are removed instead of automatically switching to battery power. This is a big benefit to those performing a hardwired installation so the unit shuts off when the key is removed from the ignition.
The Pioneer AVIC-S1 (MSRP $599.99) is another excellent portable navigation device that can work with a Bluetooth-enabled phone to deliver the convenience of hands-free calling. The AVIC-S1 features a built-in contacts list to easily transfer contacts from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. When a call is received, the user will be prompted to answer the call, and the call data pops up on the display. Simply press the touch screen to use its built-in microphone and speaker for hands-free operation. Karen Rubin, director of marketing and product planning for navigation for Pioneer’s mobile business group notes “The AVIC-S1 is thin and compact which makes it easy for consumers to take on trips or transport from car-to-car. But, if it were to be custom installed in a vehicle, the overall design is ideal for flush mounting or creating a custom cradle. All of the controls are located on the touch screen and on the front panel of the system which makes it convenient for this type of application.” The AVIC-S1’s hands-free feature allows you to take calls while keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.