Pioneer navigates its way to a media-centric future

By Chris Nicholls

MELBOURNE: Pioneer has launched their new AVIC-F500BT and AVIC-F900BT navigation and in-car entertainment units.

The AVIC F500BT portable unit (RRP $999) has, Pioneer claim, nearly all the features of an in-dash device but without the price or lack of portability.

Customers can listen to music stored on an MP3 player, iPod or SD card, or connect their phone via Bluetooth and listen to both the music or phone conversations via the car’s built-in audio system. Video stored on an iPod can also be viewed.

Pioneer claims it can enhance the sounds emanating from the device further with the included ND-G500 Gateway four channel amplifier, which can also give users the option to stop any music automatically whenever a phone call arrives.

As is becoming standard with higher-end navigation units these days, the F500BT also allows people to install a reversing camera for extra safety.

At the higher-end of the scale, Pioneer’s new double-DIN F900BT (RRP $1,999) adds to the F500BT with movie player capability, either through its built-in DVD drive or any iPod, portable music player or SD card with MPEG4 or DivX-encoded footage stored on it.

Both units feature the same 5.8-inch wide VGA screen for high resolution viewing, and use Sensis Whereis Version 14 maps.

Customers can use the included text-to-speech to help them navigate, while business users can use the ‘Drive Report’ system to help log distances travelled for each journey.

Those living in Melbourne can take advantage of the live traffic update system there right now, while those in Sydney and Brisbane will unfortunately have to wait until next year. 

Pioneer Mobile Entertainment Group product planning manager, Paul Baddeley, said the F500BT was “the first of its kind on the market”, thanks to its specification levels for a portable device.

“The AVIC-F500BT is the world’s first navigation system to have all the features and power of a fixed in-car system with the flexibility of a portable device. The AVIC-F500BT is the ideal system for people wanting the power of a fixed unit but need to meet the challenge of a vehicle with an integrated dash,” he said.

However, he reiterated Pioneer’s vision of in-dash units as the future, saying “Pioneer sees the future of navigation as integrated into the vehicle’s dash”.

Pioneer will run a marketing campaign to accompany the products, with a poster displaying the benefits of the units to consumers.

The tagline “Pioneer navXtra, premium navigation with all the extras” will be displayed on all promotional material.
“We will continue to refer to our multimedia and navigation systems as AVIC. However, ‘navXtra’ is the perfect buzz word that communicates simply what our AVIC range is capable of doing,” said Baddeley.

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