Continental has unveiled a Flat Panel Radio designed without a CD player. It connects consumers' portable devices, including USB, SD memory card, or MP3 players, and includes Bluetooth for hands-free phone calls or wireless digital music streaming.
Continental said CD sales have been on the decline since 2004 while sales of digital music singles grew 45%, from 582 million in 2006 to 844 million in 2007.
"CDs will not go extinct anytime soon, but within four to five years--a relatively short time in automotive terms--we expect digital music to exceed CD sales in units and revenue,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president of Gartner's Automotive and Vehicle ICT Manufacturing Industry Advisory Service. According to a Gartner study, 12% of U.S. consumers definitely want to get the functionality of integrating their digital media player in their next car. An additional 27% expressed a very strong interest.
Continental's Flat Panel Radio is about the size of a large postcard, measuring approximately 7 inches wide by 4 inches high and 1.5-inches deep. It contains a Class D amplifier and is designed without the "silver box" typically required to house a CD player. It weighs about three pounds less than a traditional car radio.