Alpine has joined with Telenav to offer in Europe initially, a USB stick that can plug in to older car radios and convert them to up-to-date radios with features including music streaming, Alexa voice control and navigation with traffic.
The USB stick will be offered in Europe in November but may be heading to the US. When we asked about a US debut, a Telenav spokesman said, “Stay tuned.” Alpine had no comment.
Think of the Alpine USB Stick with Telenav services as a Fire TV Stick but for your radio. It stays plugged in and converts the radio to an updated user interface with updated features. Even if your radio has no navigation, it now gets navigation with updated traffic. It supports the popular music streaming services and it’s voice-controlled by Alexa, said Telenav COO and Founder Sal Dhanani.
The catch is that the radio must support MirrorLink for the Alpine’s Infotainment Stick with Telenav’s VIVID software to work. About 33.5 million radios in the US produced since 2014 support MirrorLink.
“At the end of the day you just want a voice assistant, navigation with good live traffic and you want the audio sources. That’s the core. There will be some bells and whistles like ordering food in the future,” said Dhanani, noting that the VIVID software will be able to support ordering gas, drinks, food and parking in the future. Ordering gas from your car during a pandemic may prove a popular feature as drivers may not want to touch the gas pump, he added.
Dhanani said that a new car radio can cost $300 to $500 and then another $300 to $500 to install, while the Alpine Infotainment Stick could be an alternative. No pricing was available.
See a video of the device here: https://vimeo.com/383636601