Fusion will offer in March the first marine audio radios that can be controlled by your phone so that boaters on deck can change stations on the radio down below.
Fusions’ new 700 series marine radios can link to an ordinary WiFi router and then communicate with an Android phone, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. After you download an app ($29-$39), you can change from the phone, the radio source or track, or adjust volume, treble, bass or just about anything you can do from the head unit, said Fusion Head of Sales & Marketing for North America Todd Crocker.
The radios come with an Ethernet connection. Through WiFi, you can also flip through album art on your phone to select your music.
Fusion is also creating other forms of networking in marine audio and video. It’s developed what could be called its own version of MirrorLink. It’s new “Fusion-Link” system lets the marine radio send video and audio from your iPod or iPhone to other screens on the boat—including the Chartplotter!
Also the new marine radios are the first to network into the boat’s bus system so you can also display wind speed and other boating info on a wired remote ($199).
“The 700 is certified to work with the NMEA data bus standard for an exchange of digital data….so if you want to broadcast or change depth or speed or heading or engine RPM, it’s all done through NMEA 2000. So if you have a remote in the cockpit and the head unit is in the saloon, you can see how much fuel is left, the water temperature, and what’s my heading. This is the first and only NMEA certified head unit on the market,” said Crocker.
He added, “I believe this is a paradigm shift in the category that takes the product to a whole new level.”
The new 700 series includes two marine radios, both with WiFi capability, Fusion-Link and iPod/iPhone AV out. They are both SiriusXM-ready and include about a 2-inch color TFT. They also have a built-in VHF weatherband plus USB. A model AV700 adds DVD capability. An iPhone or iPod can also dock inside the iP700, behind the flip down faceplate. The iP700 will carry a price around $449.99 and the AV700 with DVD player will sell at around $599 starting in March.
Finally, the company is also working with leading makers of GPS devices so by around summer, some marine GPS units will also work with Fusion radios to display video from an iPod or iPhone. It effectively turns a GPS into a video monitor and a remote control for the radio.
Crocker said 3 leading GPS makers have licensed the technology. “This allows them the right to fully…control our head unit from their device. Changing songs, track, raising and lowering volume, they can do all that.”