Bluetooth Gets its Ride On
December 1, 2005

The emerging wireless technology can allow drivers to enjoy music and make phone calls—with fewer risky distractions By Brett Solomon Mobile electronics installers are forever looking for an edge in the install bays that can make aftermarket product integration into the vehicle more seamless. The best installers hone their skills in fiberglass, ABS plastic, vinyl, body filler and paint in the interest of making products look like they were installed from the factory. They continually talk to electronics manufacturers' reps who can in turn communicate ideas from the trenches back to the engineers at the parent company. Increasingly, customers are demanding more when it

Loyalty is a Two-way Street
November 1, 2005

Lessons to be learned for the independant sales representative Debbie Vaughn President, TDMarketing As a mobile electronics rep, I spend a lot of my time visiting dealers of all sizes. Like many reps, I also work with several different manufacturers. One of the hardest things a rep has to do is be in the middle and keep everyone happy. When times get a little tough, as they recently have, it truly calls for creativity, understanding and hard work. For starters, most dealers expect their manufacturers to remain "true" to them by not signing up another dealer in the vicinity. The tough part is when the dealers don't want to display the

Sirius Teams With Sprint
June 15, 2005

SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Sprint teamed to offer select SIRIUS Satellite Radio programming via wireless phones. Select music channels being evaluated by Sprint and SIRIUS for the new service include new hits, classic rock, hip-hop, country, blues, soul, jazz and Broadway, according to a press statement. The new Sprint service will be available nationwide, says Sprint, while both companies plan to announce more specifics of the service, as well as price points later this year.   Explains Scott Greenstein, SIRIUS president of entertainment and sports, "One of our goals is to make this unique content available to as many Sprint PCS VisionSM customers as

Your Ride Your Way- MERA and CEA Want to Help Retailers Get the
May 1, 2005

Last spring, the Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association (MERA) first introduced "Your Ride Your Way," a consumer-awareness campaign to the mobile enhancement industry. The purpose of the campaign is to illustrate how the design of factory-installed mobile electronics systems often complicates equipment upgrades and repairs. Why was this campaign necessary? The aftermarket industry has a record of bringing leading-edge technology and new consumer-driven products to market. Mobile electronics products provide information and entertainment; they enhance consumers' enjoyment of their vehicles. Changes in the networks of many newer-model vehicles, which are intended to make the vehicles easier to operate, have had an unintended byproduct: The process

Thunder Marketing- How Sound of TriState Created an Event That
May 1, 2005

It's a warm summer day in Delaware, and there's quite a crowd congrated in a Dover park near the state capitol. Some crowd around souped-up cars sporting stylized exhaust pipes and flashy in-car audio/video systems, others are watching amateur bands compete for a "best of" title—there's even an egg-toss going on nearby. And prominent over all of this is the name of a local CE retailer, Sound of TriState. But oddly enough, there isn't a single product for sale. Mobile Electronics is still one of those product categories that is considered separate from the rest of consumer electronics—geared to a younger, somewhat wild customer,

Blaupunkt Announces Supply Chain Initiative
April 29, 2005

Blaupunkt, a manufacturer of car audio and video products, introduced a supply-chain initiative for North America that's set to launch as of January 1, 2006. According to the company, all Blaupunkt merchandise will be shipped directly from factories overseas to independent regional distributors, thus bypassing the current Blaupunkt warehouses in the U.S. This new supply chain management strategy, enthuses Blaupunkt spokespersons, "will improve product availability and speed of delivery for many dealers." Lutz Marschall, Blaupunkt general manager for North America, explains, "The nature of the mobile electronics aftermarket is changing. The industry is undergoing a period of consolidation and is increasingly price competitive. Our initiative will

Factory-Fits Threaten Mobile Market
April 18, 2005

A new study from global market intelligence firm ABI Research has identified a host of new threats that are chipping away at automakers' attempts to increase navigation hardware sales. Depending on the region, automakers have been facing stiffer competition not only from traditional aftermarket navigation vendors, but from PDA/accessory vendors, wireless carriers and other non-traditional automotive players. Marking the beginning of a new trend, European aftermarket navigation hardware outsold factory-fitted systems for the first time last year, according to ABI's research. While gadflies have warned automakers about this trend for some time, there are still ways, says ABI, for factory-fitted systems to compete. The new study,

Nokia Expands Into India
April 7, 2005

Nokia will set up a manufacturing facility for mobile devices at Chennai in India. The manufacturing unit in Chennai will be Nokia's tenth mobile device production facility globally. The company says it expects to invest an estimated 100 to 150 million (USD) in the India-based production plant.   "Establishing a new factory in India is an important step in the continuous development of our global manufacturing network. We selected Chennai to be the location for the factory thanks to the availability of skilled labor, friendly business environment, support from the state government, good logistics connections and overall cost-efficiency," explains Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Nokia's president.   According to the company,

AOL Enters VoIP Market
April 7, 2005

America Online (AOL) began the rollout of the AOL Internet Phone Service, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service that offers current and new AOL members a solution for voice, e-mail and instant messaging communications. According to the company, AOL will introduce the internet phone service in more than 40 markets across the United States, the first phase of a nationwide rollout that will continue to additional cities over the coming months. The internet communications service, says AOL, will offer lower price incentives compared to traditional telephone service, as well as a suite of integrated voice and online messaging features. Jon Miller, chairman and

CEA Addresses Mobile Aftermarket
April 7, 2005

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is working with the Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) Cooperation to help solve challenges associated with aftermarket integration of in-vehicle electronics. CEA says it is working to develop a gateway interface for aftermarket products into the MOST network for cars. CEA predicts the MOST fiber-optic network will connect multimedia devices in 48 percent of cars worldwide by 2008. The organization issued a statement saying that it wants "to ensure that aftermarket products will be able to interface with these vehicles." According to CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro, "Every consumer has the right to replace or upgrade the consumer electronics