updated 02:45 pm EDT, Thu April 16, 2009
Alpine W404 Ships
Alpine this afternoon said it has started shipping the iXA-W404, its first touchscreen media head-end for cars to occupy 2 DIN slots. The device centers on a 4.3-inch touchscreen that lets users navigate the media content of any dockable iPhone or iPod, including through quick skipping tricks for larger collections. It can also play video when the vehicle isn't moving.
HD Radio also plays an important, though optional, part in the W404. In addition to tuning the higher-quality digital stations, a head-end equipped with the tuner also enables iTunes Tagging to flag songs for buying through the iTunes Store on the next iPhone or iPod sync. Satellite radio is also an option, as is a Bluetooth wireless audio adapter and using the display with Alpine's GPS devices.
The W404 should be available today for about $550; the HD radio tuner can be added for $230, while Bluetooth costs $180.