Alpine has unveiled a fantastic new line of head units at CES 2012. Probably the most eye catching and unique of these new products would be the INE-Z928HD. With an oversized 8″ touch screen, this Alpine navigation system is unlike any other aftermarket double din navigation systems. Alpine is supporting this new model by producing and distributing a line of installation kits that will accommodate this head unit in larger stereo dash openings. The image shown here is from a Chevy Tahoe utilizing one of Alpine’s new installation kits.
The other groundbreaking feature, which I did not see from Kenwood or Pioneer is not only does this baby interface with iPhone and Android for Pandora control, but also Blackberry. Users will be able to plug in their smart phone and access their channels on Pandora radio on screen as well as utilize the thumbs up/thumbs down feature and skip tracks. Alpine was the 1st company I’m aware of to interface with Pandora and it seems they have a little bit of an edge on other manufacturers by also offering this great feature for the Blackberry.
Alpine will also be offering a standard sized double din navigation system with the same technology. Other great features these new double din navigation systems will include are a 9 band EQ, 4 volt preout section and built in HD radio. I’m also happy to report that the quality of their navigation screen has vastly improved with more detail and clarity than was seen with the INA-W910BT. Expected release date on the INE-Z928HD will be May 2012 with an estimated retail price of $1499 and for your standard double din, the INE-Z920HD, expect to see those shipping in March 2012 with an estimated retail price of $999.
Besides innovative navigation systems, Alpine will be offering two other double din head units with app features in the $600 range and a full line of single din head units with some great features. I was pleased to see Alpine is finally offering a single din head unit that includes technology that most consumers want, without having to add additional modules. One to look out for will be the CDE-HD138BT.
The CDE-HD138BT will feature Pandora control for iPhone, Android and Blackberry and will come with 3 4 volt preouts, built in crossovers, a USB mass storage mode for external hard drives, built in HD radio (yay no add ons), built in Bluetooth (one less component to install!) and has a steering wheel remote connection.
One thing I haven’t seen yet is multicolor illumination. Does Alpine think that everyone has blue interior dash lights? I guess we can’t always have it all. I’ll be visiting Alpine’s booth today to interview a product specialist, maybe I can gain some insight to their illumination color choice. Regardless of color, the 2012 line up from Alpine appears to be a vast improvement over their 2011 offerings. Check back soon for more details.