Thanks to their portability, personal navigation devices (PNDs) are finding their way into the hands of more and more drivers of multiple vehicles. PNDs not only assist in getting you from point A to point B - as well as locate every ATM and Starbucks in between - they also offer features such as MP3 compatibility and real-time traffic info.
Alpine's first foray into the PND market, the Blackbird PMD-B100 ($750; alpine.com), boasts an onboard MP3 player that you load with tunes via an SD card slot, while a USB 2.0 connection allows you to update maps and software. An FM modulator built into the supplied windshield cradle floats music files to an FM tuner, while an optional wired perch (the PMD-DOCK, $200) pipes MP3s directly into the audio path and allows nav functions to be controlled via one of Alpine's touchscreen-based A/V heads.
Besides offering all the standard guidance functions - voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions, automatic rerouting, comprehensive mapping of the U.S. and Canada - the Blackbird is currently the only PND with a built-in radio data system (RDS) tuner. This enables it to access the subscription-based NAVTEQ Traffic RDS service to alert you to accidents, congestion, or construction. Pretty fly all around.
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