Harman Kardon's Drive + Play iPod solution was an innovative enough solution to the problem of in-car iPod playback to warrant three separate mentions
on this little site that you're currently reading. At CES, Harman Kardon has unveiled the second iteration of the Drive + Play, marking the occasion by sticking a big Roman "II" at the end. In case you didn't get it the first time around, the Drive + Play II is a media manager that takes the audio from your iPod, Zune, or Plays for Sure media player and routes it through your car stereo whilst simultaneously displaying song information on a separate 3.5-inch color LCD. Also part of the deal is a wireless control knob similar to the control scheme on BMW's iDrive system
. This time around the Drive + Play can send your portable media player's audio to your stereo via an integrated FM transmitter, which will be handy for those who own stereos without a standard 3.5 mm analog jack. A couple of other functions really seal the deal for the Drive + Play II, simply because they add some interesting possibilities to how you listen to your music. Firstly, there's an automatic DJ functionality that allows the user to select how music music from a particular style -- which can be specific as a genre or an artist -- will be played. Secondly, these desired styles can be split up into channels so that different drivers can listen to their specific music taste. On top of all this, the Drive + Play II supports A2DP Bluetooth which makes it possible to send over any MP3s that are on your mobile phone. Unfortunately, all this functionality does come at a price, as Harman Kardon has raised the price of the Drive + Play II to $399.95. Look for it to hit stores sometime this spring.