Sony unveils car deck with built-in MP3

Everyone is drooling over iPod connectivity kits for their automobiles, but Sony is taking a slightly different approach. Given that most head units these days come with detachable faceplates, why not integrate some flash memory in there and create a drag-and-drop MP3 player? That’s the thinking behind the company’s new GIGA Panel in-car sound system.

Simply take the removable front panel, connect it to your PC via USB, and load up 1GB worth of music (up to 500 songs) with drag-and-drop simplicity. No need for a dock in your car, no worries about having your iPod stolen. You don’t lose your CD collection either: this head unit still has a slot for your compact discs, and probably AM/FM as well.

This is a big step beyond simple MP3 car decks that require users to burn their music collections onto CDs before listening to them in the car. “The Sony GIGA Panel brings MP3 functionality into the car stereo,” said Patrick Naltet, e-Vehicle Director of Sony Europe. No word on price.


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