Sony is returning to the installed in-vehicle navigation market in partnership with TomTom. TomTom’s navigation technologies and maps will appear in two Sony in-dash A/V-navigation head units available in November.
For TomTom, the launch marks the first time that an aftermarket head unit in the U.S. combines its maps and points-of-interest content with other TomTom navigation technologies, such as IQ Routes. Pioneer aftermarket head units in the U.S. already use TomTom (formerly TeleAtlas) maps and POI data, TomTom told TWICE.
TomTom’s maps, POI database and other proprietary technologies are also used in automakers’ OEM navigation systems.
Sony’s previous ventures in navigation have included portable navigation devices (PNDs) and an installed outboard navigation module controlled from select head units, but the company left both markets in recent years. The company’s first installed navigation systems were launched in the early 1990s and included a hideaway CD-ROM player/GPS receiver combined with a dash-mountable 5-inch LCD display and wireless remote.
The two new A/V navigation systems will be Sony’s first head units to incorporate built-in navigation. They are the XNV-770BT and XNV-660BT. The double-DIN units will retail on an everyday basis at around $1,300 and $1,000, respectively, through Sony dealers and the Sony Style retail stores.
The 770BT features motorized 7-inch WVGA widescreen capacitive touchpanel display that opens up to reveal a CD/DVD slot. The XNV-660BT features 6.1-inch WVGA widescreen capacitive touchpanel below the CD/DVD slot. Both feature surround-sound playback and rear-panel USB-1 input to control iPods, iPhones and other digital music players. They also feature Bluetooth, a graphical user interface (GUI), and display of song metadata and album artwork from connected MPs players. Sony’s SensMe feature automatically creates custom music playlists and radio channels from a connected music library.
Both models come pre-loaded with TomTom’s U.S. and Canada map database with one free year of map upgrades. Both models also incorporate such proprietary TomTom technologies as IQ Routes, which evaluates route options based on actual traffic speeds rather than posted speed limits and will recommend the fastest route for the time of day. Another TomTom technology is Advanced Lane Guidance, which displays detailed graphics in complex multi-lane situations. Quick GPSfix delivers fast GPS start-up times, and MapShare enables drivers to correct their maps and benefit from changes made by other drivers via computer.