For millions of people a trip in their cars means tuning into local radio. But what if you’re traveling and want to catch a station from back home? FM stations don’t reach more than about a hundred kilometers, so on long journeys you’re usually out of luck … until now.
Blaupunkt has a new pair of car radios that allow users to tune in to any of about 16,000 stations from around the world.
The “New Jersey 600i” and “Hamburg 600i” radios, which are the first such in the world according to the company, are on show at this week’s Cebit trade fair in Hanover, Germany.
By connecting over Bluetooth to a cell phone, the radios access a 3G Internet service and then stream almost any station that’s online.
Blaupunkt chose to use a cell phone for the connection rather than embedding a 3G modem in the car radio so users have the ability to connect via a carrier of their choice and also so the radio wouldn’t have to be modified if a cellular network was different to that back home.
The radios work with the MiRoamer Internet database to grab information about available stations, and then your favorite programs are just a couple of button clicks away.
Beyond the price of the 3G data service it’s free to connect and listen to stations online.
Future plans call for the system to be extended to IPTV services so your car might soon rival your living room for entertainment.
Both radios will go on sale in Europe in the second half of the year. The DIN-sized “Hamburg 600i” will cost around €299 (US$375) and the 2DIN-sized “New Jersey 600i” will cost around €399.