It seems that almost every week, car accessory manufacturers release new products that you simply 'must have'. From hands-free car kits to auto rain sensors and tracking systems, the product list is almost endless and if you really want to let your imagination run away with you have you thought about voice command systems or push-button parking systems?
Whatever crosses your mind, it's likely you will soon see it appear in the latest gadgets section online or in the newspaper.
But without looking into the future too far, let's take a look at some of the most recently released gadgets that are both practical and desirable.
Hands-free car kits.
- The latest and best hands-free car kits are Bluetooth systems with universal applications. They are compatible with most Bluetooth phones on the market and are not the old-style portable or sun visor type. They require full installation into the vehicle and are integrated into the sound system which mutes the stereo during a phone call and provides loud, clear, crisp sound. They can be fitted to just about any vehicle make or model, although some may require adapter plugs or hi-fi kits if they are fitted with premium sound systems.
- Of all the systems on the market, the Motorola TK 30 is a high-end system that utilises an OLED screen which can be fitted anywhere on the dashboard. It is a fully featured portable music integration system as well, with a built-in digital amplifier for truly excellent quality sound.It has a dedicated iPod connector that also charges your iPod or iPhone. It features the brand-new Multipoint Technology, the first of its kind on the market, which allows you to use two Bluetooth phones simultaneously. Priced at just below $500 it looks like a bargain.
- Reversing camera systems usually come as stand-alone monitors in combination with cameras. They can be fitted to the dashboard or mounted on the windscreen. The neatest and best option is to go for an integrated camera system which is vehicle specific and it uses the factory fitted colour screen that comes with your car. These are installed in conjunction with a mini camera under the boot lid or the number plate light. They require integration hardware but this depends on the vehicle type because some vehicles have camera imports already has an option. If this is the case it is a simple matter of plugging in vehicle specific adapters and a video converter and away you go. Although this type of unit cannot be fitted with a 2nd camera this is a small matter when you consider the quality offered.
iPod and MP3 players.
This is not an FM-type product and is a direct digital connection with excellent sound quality.
- The neatest product on the market is the Connects2 iConnect OEM. This is a vehicle-specific iPod integration system that plugs into the CD stacker port of compatible vehicles. With a dedicated iPod dock cable, you can connect any Apple iPod or iPhone and control your music using the CD functions on your stereo system or steering wheel. The iPod / iPhone is also charged when connected.