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Kleer teams up with Mercedes Benz to untether in-car headphones


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We hate wires. We can't count the number of times that our headphones were unceremoniously yanked from our heads (or ear canals) because the wire got snagged while ordering our Brazilian man-servant about. Kleer solved this problem years ago but still haven't broken into the mainstream thanks in no small part to the preponderance of low-cost (and low-quality) Bluetooth headphones. That could change with the visibility provided by a new partnership with Mercedes to replace line-of-site infrared technology the company had been using. The deal will equip 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class models with Kleer's proprietary, low-power, CD-quality digital wireless audio emitted from a pair of video screens on the back of the seats. Occupants wearing the Mercedes-provided Kleer headphones or any compatible pair can then select which audio stream their headphones receive without interfering with Bluetooth or WiFi connected devices. Win, win.

Gallery: Kleer teams up with Mercedes Benz to untether in-car headphones | 3 Photos

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SMSC's Wireless Audio Using Kleer® Technology To Be Implemented in Automotive Infotainment System of Selected Mercedes-Benz Models

Model Wins Mark SMSC's First Automotive Customer for Kleer Technology

Hauppauge, New York – June 24, 2010 - SMSC (NASDAQ: SMSC), today announced that its Kleer® wireless audio technology has been selected by Daimler AG as part of the rear seat entertainment system for the company's 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class models. These two Mercedes-Benz models are the first automobiles to implement Kleer technology and add to the growing list of products consumers can choose from to enjoy the high quality wireless audio that Kleer can offer.

Kleer technology transmits CD-quality digital wireless audio from two video screens on the back of the seats to multiple wireless headphones in both the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class models. Each screen can display different content and occupants can select which audio stream their headphones receive. Multiple occupants can share the same stream. The ultra low power consumption of Kleer technology ensures many hours of enjoyment before headphone battery charging is needed.Mercedes-Benz owners have the choice of using the brand's headphones provided with the car or using their favorite third-party Kleer-based headphones or earbuds as they are available for example from AKG, Sennheiser or TDK.

"We are pleased to announce Daimler AG's selection of Kleer technology in these two prestigious Mercedes- Benz models," said Dr. Christian Thiel, Vice President and General Manager of SMSC's Automotive Information Systems group. "Kleer's high quality audio, exceptional radio performance and industry-leading low power consumption make it an ideal choice for streaming wireless audio in the portable, home and automotive markets."

Kleer wireless audio technology resolves the issues associated with analog Infra-Red (IR) technology, which has been the primary technology used in wireless automotive headphones to date. Analog IR transmission of audio suffers from low quality audio, interference from visible light sources like sunlight, and high power consumption. It also requires an uninterrupted line-of-sight path from transmitter to receiver. Kleer addresses these issues and adds the ability to have multiple audio streams transmitting in the vehicle simultaneously.

"Consumer demand for in-vehicle multimedia experiences continues to grow at a rapid pace, and wireless audio is a crucial element," said Mark Fitzgerald, associate director, Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics. "Wireless solutions that offer high quality audio and low power characteristics are positioned well in this expanding market."

In addition to its high audio quality and low power consumption, Kleer technology also offers excellent Wi-Fi and Bluetooth co-existence capabilities. This means that the vehicle's infotainment system, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled devices can all be used simultaneously in the vehicle with no interference.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class also feature the MOST® multimedia networking standard, which is the de facto standard for efficiently moving high-bandwidth infotainment content around the vehicle. MOST
and Kleer are synergistic technologies. While MOST represents the backbone of the whole infotainment system and moves all signal streams between the devices, Kleer is the high quality wireless link for headphones and remote controls.

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