Pioneer AVIC-HD1BT brings plain speech voice-activated GPS units

Yeah, we love GPS around here as much as the next guy, but it really doesn't impress our lady friends too much when our mellifluous prose gets interrupted by Cro Magnon-like gestures while we have to ask for directions on our nav units. We'd much prefer to use a phrase like "Find me a hotel in Paris in the seizième arrondissement, play Serge Gainsbourg's 'Je t'aime' and adjust for mood lighting -- s'il te plaît" and have our ride respond instantly. Well, save for that last request, apparently plain English queries (or 13 other languges) to a GPS stystem are now possible thanks to software by IBM built onto Pioneer's new AVIC-HD1BT nav unit. It's loaded up with a 30GB hard drive (20GB for maps and the rest for music), a DVD player and an iPod connection of some sort. Although Pioneer claims that the AVIC-HD1BT is for the European-only non-"luxury car market" driver (sorry, us Lexus-driving Yankees will have to suffer), it still doesn't come cheap: €2,500 ($3,145).

[Via IDG News Service]