Stuff flash memory into a facia and what do you have? A very expensive digital music player.
First muted around Autumn last year but now finally seeing the light of day is Sony’s Giga Panel car stereo, a product which shows that a car stereo really can mate with a digital music player.
Just like most modern car stereos the Giga Panel has a removable face plate, but this one connect directly to a PC via a USB cable. From here MP3 files can be dragged and dropped directly onto the device and then played back on the car’s stereo when the facia is put back into the car.
If there is a draw back to this darn nifty piece of kit it is that the storage capacity on offer is just 1GB and it isn’t upgradeable, but that should still be good enough for around 20 hours of music (Sony quotes 60, but you don’t want your most cherish Pink Floyd tracks to sound like a Chipmunks’ Christmas album, do you?).
Counting against the Giga Panel is a rather ambitious asking price of £319 including VAT when it arrives in February. For this money you could buy yourself a brand spanking new 30GB video iPod and a mid range iPod compatible Alpine stereo to connect it to for the same money. The choice, as they say, is always with you…
…but if you want a nudge, I’d rather go for the iPod!