Alpine Unveils Car Navigation System Linked with Cellular Phone, PC

Alpine Electronics Inc. unveiled a car navigation system with an HDD called i-assist NAVI HDD 555, which was co-developed with Aisin AW Co. Ltd.

This is Alpine’s first product with a built-in HDD.

The HDD is the same 2.5-in. type of 16GB that another maker uses for its similar HDD-loaded car navigation system launched this spring. Toshiba Corp. supplies the HDD.

Alpine plans to launch i-assist NAVI HDD 555 in early June. The product for the vehicle information and communication system (VICS) with an 8-in.-wide monitor is priced at 320,000 yen. The same system with a 6.5-in. monitor is priced at 288,000 yen. (124.69 yen = US$1)

The advantage of i-assist NAVI HDD 555 is a stronger network with mobile phones and PCs. Alpine will soon inaugurate a dedicated portal site “mydrivenet.com.”

For example, a user searches and points out a destination by a mobile phone or PC, and then registers it with a schedule to the dedicated site. On the appointed date, the user receives a “notice e-mail” via a mobile phone, and the car navigation system retrieves information about the destination from the server to set the route.

Arriving at a place near the destination, the mobile phone retrieves the map and route information from the car navigation system and guides the user for a walking route to the final destination.

This networked service with mobile phones and PCs is priced at 300 yen a month. Alpine also plans to add a new pay service to enable users to download the latest road map of a region they want through a PC to a Memory Stick memory card, to rewrite data on the HDD. This service is scheduled to start as early as the autumn of 2002.

Additionally, Alpine plans a real-time offering of information about cinemas, theaters, and locations of parking lots run by Park 24 Co. Ltd., a parking lot rental company. Information about the prices, service contents and operating hours of 800 gas stations of the Exxon Mobil Corp. group (Exxon, Mobil, and General) also will be provided.

Alpine will let users get such information free through accessing the portal Web site by mobile phone networking with the car navigation system.


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