The best iPod accessory has gotten better. I was really hoping this would happen at CES, and it’s here. I bought my Drive + Play and it has been one of the best purchases I’ve made for my iPod. This new version is improved and supports many devices, not just the iPod.
First, the knob is now wireless, no more messy wires running around your vehicle or holes to drill. The screen is 3.5″ and now full color. The interface looks a bit more like Windows Media Center, but still offers the same functionality, just like using an iPod.
It now will include a bluetooth module, that will connect to mobile phones and even Sirius units (too bad I have XM). Many more devices will be supported in the future with a simple add-on. The bluetooth module will even feature a microphone for hands free calls that can be played right through your stereo.
The interface features a “More like this” which can pull up a dynamic playlist that will feature songs similar to the one you are listening to. The knob also includes incrementally faster scrolling, bolstered by voice-based letter announcement and voice menu prompting features, letting users hear the menu and/or letter of a song list theyâ€™re currently accessing.
This new version is TWICE the cost of the previous, making it $400, but it will be worth every penny. It is planned to launch Spring 2007, and I will be one of the first to have it installed.