Built Around the ARM-Based MB9G711 SoC, New Kit Features a Full Range of Audio and Connectivity Options

Fujitsu introduced a new CD-less Audio Design Kit, a complete reference solution featuring decoding and playback of popular digital audio files such as MP3, Windows Media Audio (WMA), Ogg Audio and Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) formats. The design kit also offers available support for a full range of connectivity options, including radio tuner, Bluetooth, USB mass-storage, SD/SDHC Card and iPod devices.

Designed for rapid development and prototyping, the kit is built around the Fujitsu MB9G711 SoC Series, a new low-cost, ARM-based System-on-a-Chip (SoC) for audio systems that do not require a CD player. The kit comes with a complete Board Support Package (BSP) providing hardware design, schematic, and Gerber files, along with guidelines for low BOM cost implementation. The BSP includes software libraries and application source code for rapid development and prototyping. Eliminating the CD player enables the design of low-cost audio systems that require a minimum of power, fit into a small form factor, and are free from mechanical failure.

Audio Design Kit Features

The Audio Design Kit features digital audio playback via a USB memory, SD/SDHC card and MMC memory card, as well as Apple iPod audio playback via USB. The kit also includes an LCD with 2-line, 16-segment characters; +/-14dB bass and treble control; an AM/FM/RDS tuner support; and 10-band, real-time, audio spectrum indicator functions. In addition, the kit incorporates a full array of Bluetooth capabilities including A2DP (wireless audio transmission), HFP (hands-free speakerphone), PBAP (phonebook access) and AVRCP (AV remote control) Read the rest of this entry »

TomTom announced the launch of the Blue&Me TomTom LIVE system, including the award-winning HD Traffic™, for the new Lancia Ypsilon.

The new system was launched at the Geneva Motorshow on March 1. It will provide the customers of the new Ypsilon with an easily updateable navigation experience, together with the most accurate traffic information and specific product attributes such as a new fluid touch user interface and a new mounting system developed by TomTom and Fiat Group Automobiles. The Blue&Me TomTom LIVE offers the benefits of an integrated and connected infotainment system with the advantages of a portable navigation device opening up the world of connectivity to new Lancia Ypsilon customers. The Blue&Me TomTom LIVE will be available for the new Lancia Ypsilon from the second quarter of 2011.

“We are very pleased to be able to further build on an already fruitful relationship with Fiat Group Automobiles and Lancia, one of their most prestigious brands. The Blue&Me TomTom was successfully launched on the Fiat Punto Evo in August 2009 and since then has enjoyed good adoption rates with more than 50,000 units sold in Europe. We expect this new product, with its compelling services package to be at least as successful as the previous one”, says Giles Shrimpton, Managing Director, TomTom Automotive. Read the rest of this entry »

Ford is expanding the reach of Ford SYNC globally with the European launch of its popular voice-controlled connectivity system, with the capability of now offering 19 languages.

SYNC was originally launched in North America in 2007 with three languages. With the additional 16 vernaculars, Ford will offer voice recognition capability, powered by Nuance Communications, in more languages than any other automaker offering voice control.

The expansion brings the convenience of SYNC to a much larger audience of potential customers, said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, who kicked off the global launch of SYNC this week at the 2011 CeBIT technology show in Hanover, Germany.

“We are pleased to announce that SYNC will soon be available to customers around the world,” Mulally said. “It is a smart and simple way to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives.”

Teaching a car to speak

At the heart of SYNC is the speech engine, and Ford is working with its speech technology partner, Nuance Communications, to deliver a similar experience across the multiple languages.

Ford leverages significant investments made by Nuance to support the broad dialect coverage required in larger regions such as the United States. Additionally, regions such as Europe present unique challenges, in part because of the proximity of different countries and the resulting need for multilingual solutions.

For the customer, that means SYNC can recognize 10,000 voice commands in any one of the available 19 languages, and can cope with variances in accents, vocabulary and local dialects.

If a German customer, for example, is driving in Italy, the system can provide directions in German but will use the correct Italian pronunciation for street names.

Within each international market, a unique set of abbreviations for text messaging also has been identified. For example, “cvd,” short for “Ci vediamo dopo,” was added for SYNC to read aloud, which basically means “See you later” in Italian. Read the rest of this entry »

More than 14,000 owners of SYNC-equipped Ford Fiesta vehicles can start celebrating the holidays now by treating themselves to the gift of AppLink, a free software program that gives SYNC users voice control of apps stored on their smartphone.

The industry-first capability puts Ford out front in the race to integrate smartphone apps into the car. The AppLink download for Fiesta owners went live today on the SYNC owner website, www.syncmyride.com.

“More and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services. “With AppLink, SYNC is a smarter solution for these drivers who choose to use these apps while driving – making it the only connectivity system available that can extend app functionality to the car using both voice and steering wheel controls.”

Ford is also announcing a surprise new member to the AppLink family: the Apple iPhone. The popular smartphone makes for a powerful addition, and will be joining Android and BlackBerry smartphones as compatible devices with the software that allows apps to be controlled through the SYNC voice recognition system – a smarter alternative to manually controlling apps while driving.

Recent studies indicate 46 percent of adult smartphone users have apps on their phones and 36 percent of those admit to using those apps while commuting. Moreover, the 2010 study “Staying Connected on the Go: A Look at In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Systems” conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association reports that 55 percent of smartphone owners prefer voice commands as their user interface for in-car smartphone integration, making the business case for SYNC and AppLink even more compelling.

“SYNC and AppLink work hand-in-hand to answer consumer demand for safer, smarter control of smartphones while in the car,” said VanDagens. “Ford has worked hard to be a step ahead or at least in step with the speed of the consumer electronics market, and to leverage the technologies, features and services we know our customers want to be connected to while driving.” Read the rest of this entry »

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