Corrected: Kenwood announced it will offer free cloud services for two years on two new DVD/radios that just began shipping.
After the first two years, cloud service will carry a 2-year fee of $60.
WiFi is built in to the Kenwood Excelon DNN990HD and DNN770HD, which were first announced at CES in January. The WiFi itself is free but some of the connected services will carry a fee after two years.
Kenwood claims that unlike some factory radios with advanced features, its new WiFi radios are easy to use.
Kenwood’s Keith Lehmann said, “We have all heard of the challenges faced by consumers who have struggled with factory-installed ‘infotainment’ systems that are not intuitive, not user-configurable and not particularly good at addressing driver distraction. Kenwood’s connected entertainment receivers provide a more innovative aftermarket solution for enthusiasts, business people, families and social media devotees that meet the expectations of the highly technical as well as those users who are more casual.”
The DNN990HD ($1,700.00 suggested retail price) connects to WiFi through your phone or a portable hotspot for access to traffic, Facebook and Twitter updates, and hands-free email. You can also send video to a back seat monitor. The deck also has built-in HD Radio, iHeart Radio, Pandora Internet Radio link, streaming audio services, Bluetooth with audio streaming capabilities, on-board Garmin navigation and INRIX real-time traffic and weather.
You can search for songs in the cloud on-demand (with a subscription). You can both send and receive messages over Facebook and email and manage Twitter and RSS feeds by voice. The device is also SiriusXM ready.
Kenwood claims that through its WiFi connection to traffic, parking and weather, the 990HD provides “the most accurate, intuitive and safe navigation experience available today in a moving vehicle.”
The deck can replace a Ford SYNC radio or a GM radio with OnStar through an optional module by ADS called the iDataLink Maestro RR. You still retain touch screen control and Sync or OnStar features.
The DNN990HD has a WVGA 6.95” touchscreen. The DNN770HD ($1,300.00 suggested retail price) has a 6.1” touch screen with many of the same features.