updated 10:20 am EDT, Tue July 12, 2005
Harman Kardon Drive + Play
today unveiled the Harman Kardon Drive + Play, an integrated iPod docking system specifically designed for automotive use. It offers complete iPod control, including full browsing capability, while minimizing distractions for drivers. The system features a backlit LCD screen with five lines of iPod menu text that can be used with the pivoting mount in any of three positions; a five-button navigation control unit with universal mounting options mimics the iPod's user interface and can be mounted on the center console or other location; and the "the brain", which serves as an information processor, FM transmitter for playback through the care stereo, and connecting port. It is compatible with all docking iPods and will ship in September for $200.
"More than half of all iPod owners use their players in the car, and we know many are frustrated with the current auto solutions available because they're hard to use and offer limited functionality," said Mike Giffin, president of the Mobile Systems Division for Harman Consumer Group. "Our goal in developing Drive + Play was simple -- create a product that reproduces the iPod experience in any car while providing an array of options, including a line-level output, for connecting the iPod's audio signal to a vehicle's audio system, to offer consumers the most enjoyable way of taking their music on the road."
The "brain" houses a wireless FM modulator with five factory-set frequencies and one definable by the user; a 3.5mm audio output jack that connects Drive + Play to any vehicle that has an auxiliary input; and an auxiliary input that allows the user to use Drive + Play to route other audio signals, including satellite radio, into the vehicle's audio system.
The controller features four buttons that control the play/pause, forward, backward and iPod menu functions; a rotating dial around the perimeter that can be used for forward and backward scrolling; and a center button for the "enter" command.
The Drive + Play also charges the iPod when docked, displays customized user menus such as playlists and user preferences, and shuts itself off when not in use.
Harman Kardon Drive + Play is compatible with all docking iPods. The system includes a wireless FM modulator, and a 3.5mm audio output jack that allows Drive + Play to be connected to any vehicle regardless of the make or model. Harman Kardon Drive + Play, will be available in the U.S. in September 2005 for $200 and will also be available in European and Asian markets later this fall.