Live from Berlin: Blaupunkt adds tunes to directions

It's like the Empire Strikes Back all over again. In Episode IV, Blaupunkt - AKA the dark side, Darth's gang - was overwhelmed by the portable GPS rebels from TomTom and Garmin. Now we're definitely on Episode V - and Blaupunkt's Death Star is an MP3-play

Throughout today Stuff will be reporting live from the IFA gadget show in Berlin

And you thought your handsfree TomTom Go 700 was fancy.

This is Blaupunkt's first portable car GPS unit, and it also happens to be the first ever porta GPS we've seen that plays music, photos and can pipe voice directions over your car speakers.

The Lucca will come in two versions, a £370 windscreen sucker jobbie and a £430 Smart Cradle edition that - unless you're a bit handy - needs to be installed by a pro. Upgrading to the cradle version looks worthwhile as it routes the Lucca's voice directions and MP3/WMA tunes over your car speakers. Which, frankly, beats listening to a tinny little speaker barking orders.

The GPS is built-in, maps are stored on SD card - the UK & Ireland come preloaded and Europe fits on a 512MB - and the interface is controlled entirely by a 3.5in touchscreen. When you're not using the Lucca as a sat-nav or a stereo, you can also use it to run slideshows of your jpegs. The why is beyond our comprehension but it's pretty neat nonetheless.

Blaupunkt's expecting both version of the Lucca to be on sale by mid October in the UK. Prices could change.

Bluetooth iPod dock 'by 2007'

Nice as the Lucca is, the coolest thing we saw at Blaupunkt's stand was a concept Bluetooth car radio.

The idea is that Blaupunkt will provide a Bluetooth adapter for your iPod and you'll be able to play and navigate your collection from the head unit. It works using a new Bluetooth protocol called A2DP that allows for player control - pause, fast forward, volume, track selection - as well as stereo Bluetooth music. The product's due in 2007.

More after the break...

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