Belkin Rolls Out GPS-Assisted FM Transmitter for iPhone/iPod touch

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Peripheral and accessories maker Belkin has announced its new TuneCast Auto Live FM Transmitter for iPhone and iPod touch. On the face of it, the TuneCast Auto might not seem a lot different from other FM transmitter products that let people push tunes from their iPhones or iPod touches to a vehicle’s audio system using an open FM frequency. But with those solutions, the trick is often finding an open FM frequency, with lots of testing and scanning to find an empty spot on the dial where you can put your own tunes. Belkin is looking to take the guesswork out of that with a new ClearScan application, which uses the iPhone/iPod touch assisted GPS to select an available FM frequency based on a user’s location.

Users will be able to select available FM frequencies based on geographical information as well as information reported by other ClearScan users; furthermore, users will be able to contribute to ClearScan’s knowledge base by rating how well specific frequencies work at a particular location. The device offers in-car charging of the iPhone/iPod touch, two programmable preset buttons for oft-used frequencies, and a PRO setting that optimizes audio and boosts volume.

Belkin says the Tunecast Auto should be available in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia in “early fall”—we’re assuming they’re referring to the northern hemisphere, or the Australians might be in for a long wait. The TuneCast Auto will carry a suggested retail price of $79.99; Belkin says the ClearScan application is specifically compatible with Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 3.0 software, and will be available as a free download via the iTunes store.

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