1st Retail Radio of its Kind?

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By Amy Gilroy
Rosen Entertainment says its new factory look-alike radios are the first to include an onscreen button you press for roadside assistance plus some OnStar-like concierge services. The company partnered with a tracking device maker—Guidepoint–to offer the service, which is free for 90 days. After the trial, there’s an annual fee of $99 through Guidepoint. [See Update Below]
Rosen is offering the feature on new in-dash DVD/GPS/monitors. When you press the Guidepoint icon on the head unit screen, you are connected to Guidepoint’s 24/7 call center. Users pair their cellphone to the radio (presumably through Bluetooth) to activate service.
The navigation units are now available in a universal double DIN format and in a Subaru Forester-specific model, and more vehicle-specific models will be added in the next few weeks and months, said Rosen VP sales and marketing Steve Weimar. The service adds no cost to the actual price of the navigation unit.
The navigation units include touch screen LCD displays, turn-by-turn navigation with voice guidance, AM/FM radio, iPod interface, satellite radio compatibility, USB port and SD card slot, and they are back up camera ready. The radios also include a “virtual” 6-disc CD changer. When you load your CDs, the radio records them and stores the music in a file for each CD so you get a virtual CD changer. (Users can record over any CD recorded previously.) The units also come with a speed and red light camera data base to alert you as you approach a traffic camera (which can issue tickets via the mail for traffic violations).
When the user taps the Guidepoint button he can get concierge services such as travel and dining reservations, sports scores and directions, etc. He can also receive help with towing, flat tires, door unlock, and gasoline fill up at no charge up to the first $50 of service.
Guidepoint Systems makes tracking devices and tracking apps for smartphones including the iPhone and Google Droid. It also makes a Bluetooth add-on kit for car radios to deliver hands free calling plus roadside assistance.
UPDATE!: We heard from Pioneer Electronics which informed us that that its AVIC-D1 offered in 2005 and the D2 which followed, offered a form of roadside assistance but without the smartphone link.

Source: Rosen Entertainment

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