updated 03:15 pm EDT, Mon April 21, 2008
Pioneer AVIC F900 and F700
Pioneer has started the week today with introductions for three high-end AVIC navigators. The DVD-equipped F900BT and Premier F90BT, as well as the CD-only F700BT, all offer in-dash mapping on a 5.8-inch wide touchscreen and support comparatively advanced GPS features such as Traffic Message Channel and support, an advanced voice command system, and text-to-speech to read out street names. Each, however, is built just as much for media playback: any can read discs with DivX, and MPEG-4 video as well as AAC, MP3, and WMA audio, while 2GB of built-in memory as well as slots for both SD cards and USB that provide both audio and video support from flash storage. Both connect to most iPods and support not just playback but also direct control of the Apple players.
The AVICs are also uniquely extendable for mapping through simple text: users can add custom addresses through Comma Separated Value (CSV) files that mark out special locations without the need for an official update. The all-in-one devices further add support for other common car functions, including Bluetooth for hands-free cell calls, the options of HD Radio, SIRIUS, or XM tuners, and video connections for a rear-view parking camera.
Beyond optical drive choices, the GPS devices are separated by Internet and output features. The F900BT and F90BT include MSN Direct tuners for gas prices and other local data, while the F90BT both bundles an iPod-ready cable and includes high-power pre-outs for more advanced car stereos. Every system is ready in June, with prices sitting at $850, $1,100, and $1,200 for the F700BT, F900BT, and F90BT respectively.