The iPod Vehicle Challenge – The iPod seems to be everywhere, but one challenging spot is the car. Owners of pre-iPod vehicles have had to make do with problematic cassette adapters or FM transmitter units. Major changes often have to be made in vehicle audio systems to accept an iPod input. (My Mac expert traded in his two-year-old Mini Cooper for a new one primarily because the new model had an iPod input in the dash.) Sound systems with auxiliary jacks for the iPod are becoming a standard with new cars. Most however confine the navigation and selection of the music to the iPod itself rather than a display built into the car. Some are even going to separate hard drives in the car so that the iPod can be left at home. And Microsoft has teamed with Ford on a voice-activated audio system.
U.S. Production of AV Equipment Up 23% – The general knowledge seems to be that home electronics, computers and kitchen appliances made in the U.S. can’t possibly compete in a world where cheaper labor is found offshore. According to recent data from the Federal Reserve this isn’t entirely true, and it appears some U.S. companies are still making things domestically for American consumers. U.S. production of video gear went up 2% in December and was up 23% for 2006.
AMD’s Live Home Cinema Plans Slammed – Analysts have reacted unfavorably to Advanced Micro Devices’ announced plans for a Live PC-based home cinema system. A senior analyst at Ovum dismissed the initiative as too complex, too expensive and unable to offer any advantages over single-function, discrete devices such as personal video recorders. He said “In my opinion, AMD should focus on what it does well – semiconductors – not on developing living room PCs.” The initiative fails to address the PC’s two main faults: the complexity of its underlying architecture; and the fact that the market is not interested at all in letting the PC control the TV. He also said that there is a market for a better TV device than a set-top box or DVD player, “but this device will not be a PC.”
LG Selling Home Networking in China – South Korea’s LG Electronics Co. has signed a deal to provide its home-automating technologies for newly-built high-end apartments in China. Network-connected electronic appliances will create a more convenient daily life for users.