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2 new products from Delphi for the car

Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009

New SkyFi3 and Nav200 could put Delphi back on the map

Scripps Howard News Service

Delphi has hit the market with two products that are guaranteed to help it regain the top spot in the highly competitive world of electronic automobile accessories.

Long recognized as a leader when it came to XM satellite receivers and other electronic devices for cars, the company found itself close to bankruptcy due to heavy losses suffered by its biggest customer and former corporate parent, General Motors, in 2005.

The new SkyFi3 XM satellite receiver ($199) and the Nav200 portable GPS system ($399) began hitting store shelves around Christmas time. And I was fortunate enough to get a couple of units to play with. SkyFi3

At first blush, the SkyFi3 looks just like any other portable XM radio, but looks can be deceiving. This third incarnation of the SkyFi contains all sorts of new features you would never have expected from one of these babies, the biggest of which are a built-in portable audio player (for MP3 and WMA files), the ability to pause and replay up to 30 minutes of XM broadcasts and a slot that can hold up to a 2 gigabyte microSD card.

Plus you can record up to 10 hours of XM programming using its "time shift" feature, which stores your recording to 256 megabytes of internal memory. These recordings can be updated every 10 hours or you can schedule them to begin and end during specific time periods.

Last is the new, larger LCD display and the ability to enlarge the size of the type by changing the display mode.

Other key features include:

A new car dock with direct access to all the buttons you need to change channels, go back to your favorite stations and easily connect the radio to an external antenna and power supply.

A built-in FM transmitter that broadcasts XM to your FM radio. The only problem here is that an unused spot on the dial in New York may be used by a station in Boston, so travelers may find themselves seeking out new frequencies as they move from town to town.

A headphone jack, so you can listen to your favorite recorded tunes or MP3, WMA and Napster files.

It has a built-in five-hour rechargeable battery.



The Nav200 also contains a bit more than what you would expect from a portable GPS system,. In addition to maps of every square mile of the continental United States. and Canada, this inexpensive GPS system can be used as a portable MP3 player, a movie player and photo viewer. Plus it comes with a built-in world clock and Othello, a game that has driven most of us to the brink of insanity.

Although it did miss a few turns during my tests, on the whole it did a decent job of getting us where we wanted to go and is on a par with the GPS navigation system built into my car, which can also make an occasional mistake). In fact NAVTEQ created the maps for both systems.

In addition:

The maps are stored on a removable 1.5 gigabyte SD card, so they're easy to update.

You can add a real-time traffic accessory to the unit to give you up-to-the-minute traffic reports and advice on how to avoid backups, etc.

It has a full-color 3.5-inch display.

It is "pocket-sized" so you can carry it with you to listen to your favorite tunes using a set of headphones or ear buds.

It has a built-in five-hour rechargeable battery.

It has an SD card slot that can support up to a 2 gigabyte memory card.

It has a built-in two watt stereo speaker system so you can hear directions, music, etc without using headphones.


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