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Motorola iRadio System Hits the Road

Motorola today announced the commercial launch of the iRadio system, an in-vehicle platform that combines entertainment, location-based information, navigation, emergency calling and communication into one complete, driver-friendly system.

Drivers will be offered a range of service levels from basic to premium packages, much like ordering cable TV. A personalized Web page will enable the iRadio system to be configured anywhere drivers and passengers have an Internet connection -- at home or in the office. Users can access their personal profile from multiple vehicles and support multiple profiles in one car. As an end-to-end solution, Motorola's iRadio system includes a Java computing platform, an automotive application framework and user interfaces and applications. These features will enable service providers, automotive OEMs and audio manufacturers to ultimately deliver iRadio to vehicles and end users.

Several key improvements in design have been made since last year's introduction of the iRadio system prototype. For example, Motorola will be showcasing both a double-DIN and a newly designed single-DIN faceplate that more closely resembles the look of a traditional car radio. This choice highlights the flexibility of the system by providing the ability to create a model that meets preferences in design and cost.

The system comes with voice recognition and text-to-speech technologies, including an embedded hands-free phone system. Additionally, the iRadio system's major components and hardware, including wireless voice and data, Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, automotive-grade software and other components embedded into the vehicles' Telematics Communications Units (TCUs), can now be fully integrated into the car.

To support consumer testing of the iRadio system, which begins in early 2001, Motorola has teamed up with suppliers whose services and electronic components will enable iRadio system functionality. Motorola has established alliances with client operating system providers like QNX. Several content providers also have signed up to participate in this consumer testing, including infoUSA.com, WeatherBank, SRDS, Reuters NewMedia, TheStreet.com and SportsTicker. Additional hardware and integration providers for testing purposes include BAE SYSTEMS Mission Solutions and Frog Design. In addition to iRadio system testing partners, Motorola has established several long-term agreements with companies including IBM, Navigation Technologies, BCI Navigation and Command Audio.

"The new enhancements to Motorola's iRadio system combined with our strategic alliances further reinforce Motorola's position as the leader in Telematics," said Marios Zenios, corporate vice president and general manager, Motorola Telematics Communications Group. "We are at the forefront of Telematics today as we continue to offer the in-vehicle technology drivers demand."

Motorola's iRadio system pricing is expected to be similar to that of mid- to high-end car stereo systems, with final cost determined by OEMs and audio manufacturers, and the level of services requested by motorists. Consumer testing of the Motorola iRadio system will begin in early 2001 and individual components are expected to be available in vehicles within 18 to 24 months.