Alpine Electronics Introduces Blackbird

Alpine Electronics

Alpine Electronics of UK Ltd today introduced Blackbird (PMD-B100P), a new portable navigation device (PND) with a unique system docking capability and built-in traffic receiver, to the European market.

Alpine Electronics is an automotive electronics system supplier and an ISO certified global corporation, specialised in engineering and manufacturing products for mobile media systems that include audio, video, satellite-linked navigation and connectivity solutions. With research and development facilities in Asia, Europe and the U.S., Alpine is the automotive specialist for premium sound systems and vehicle navigation for both aftermarket and OEM factory installations. Alpine Electronics is a consolidated subsidiary of Alps Electric Co., Ltd., one of the world’s premier manufacturers of electronic components for computer, communications and car electronics equipment.

After a steady expansion from the first DVD navigation system in 1997 up to fully integrated Mobile Media Solutions, now Alpine hits the market with a portable navigation device for the first time: the Alpine Blackbird. The Blackbird is a high-end navigation system, which can be removed from the car to also be a portable navigation device.

Due to its technical abilities and its elegant design, Blackbird is interesting for a wide target audience of modern and mobile individuals. It can be taken from one car to another or even be used when walking by foot. Combined with a fixed Alpine system, it can therefore be fully integrated. The modern, premium design also makes the Blackbird a stylish lifestyle gadget without the need for high technical knowledge.

Blackbird has a built-in radio data system (RDS) TMC tuner. With the RDS TMC service, Blackbird alerts drivers to planned and unplanned road incidents like roadworks or accidents and shows road congestion levels. Without any extra unit or additional subscription, Blackbird is fully TMC ready, which allows you to find the best route today with the dynamic route guidance.

The unit has a 4GB HDD containing preloaded maps of Western European countries and over 1 million Points Of Interest (POI) locations. The 3.6-inch digital LCD touch screen delivers 16.7 million possible colours and anti-glare technology for easy at-a-glance visibility. Blackbird has an Ambient Light Sensor that automatically controls the display brightness to optimize the screen visibility in day and night conditions.

The device can function as a navigation system and music player simultaneously, using the built-in SD-/MMC-card slot. A USB 2.0 connection facilitates the loading of mapping and software updates and the loading of MP3 files onto the SD card. Consumers can load their favourite MP3 or WMA files onto an SD/MMC card and then install this card into the Blackbird. Through the QuickSearchTM interface, the user can easily find any song via the touch-screen menu. Furthermore, Blackbird’s unique NaviMix function automatically lowers the volume of the music playback during voice-delivered driving instructions.

The sleek black aluminum design with back-lit laser-etched control pad redefines PND product design and can easily fit in a jacket pocket or handbag. Alpine’s exclusive Graphical User Interface (GUI for Drivers™) screen graphics deliver easy-to-understand, at a glance on-screen driving directions, as well as simple and easy to use menus and controls.

Running on the Microsoft Windows CE platform, Blackbird includes comprehensive NAVTEQ™ map coverage for West European countries with full turn-by-turn voice instructions to virtually any address. As a portable device, the unit can be moved easily from car-to-car, yet it also can be connected to a wired docking station (PMD-DOK1), available October 2006, allowing it to be fully controlled through one of Alpine’s touch screen based AV head units. Blackbird’s mapping, driving instructions and traffic alerts can then be viewed on the in-dash AV head unit, letting Blackbird serve as the main navigation “brain” in a complete audio/video/navigation (AVN) system. All controls and functions then can be managed from the larger touch-screen in-dash monitor or with an optional remote control. With the Blackbird dedicated to the navigation processing, this frees up the AV head unit to focus on the entertainment system operations.

The unique value proposition with Blackbird is that it offers consumers a flexible solution for their in-vehicle navigation needs. It can be used as the navigation brain for an integrated in-dash system or a portable navigation device and MP3 player. Consumers get the flexibility to use their in-vehicle navigation any way they want, going from one car to another or docked for fully integrated in-vehicle performance.

The Blackbird unit comes with a cigarette lighter power adapter that works in all vehicles, a carry case and wiping cloth, a PC mini-USB cable, a replaceable 1200 mAh lithium polymer battery, owner’s manual and quick reference guide. Blackbird has an optional second Car Kit, making sharing between family vehicles easy and simple.

Blackbird will be available from March 2007 from authorised Alpine dealers. For more information about Blackbird and other Alpine products please visit

12 March 2007 Staff

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