Panasonic builds in-car Odeon

The car dashboard has become something of a gadget magnet of late – sat-nav devices have been flocking to graze on its surface, Sony and Parrot have l

The car dashboard has become something of a gadget magnet of late – sat-nav devices have been flocking to graze on its surface, Sony and Parrot have launched Bluetooth stereos, and now Panasonic has trumped them all with this car cinema kit.

Designed to be built into your dash, the CQ-VD7003 comprises a 7in monitor and a multimedia disc-eater, which will take DVDs and CDs loaded with MP3s and WMAs.

The screen is apparently ideal for day and night watching thanks to a non-glare surface and internal backlight, while the touch-screen should let you fiddle with options without pulling over into the nearest Happy Eater.

It has a couple of other interesting tricks too. There’s an AUX input, which means you could connect the screen to a sat-nav device for even clearer directions.

If you buy Panny’s CY-BT100N Bluetooth unit – which should retail for around £160 – you’ll also be able to connect it to your mobile for hands-free calls.

That makes it a challenger to Parrot’s Rhythm n’Blue (story here) which also broadcasts calls over your car speakers, although it’s a shame the Bluetooth isn’t similarly built-in.

There’s no official price for the CQ-VD7003 yet, but it’s expected to retail for £850 from April. Look out for more info on Panasonic’s site.