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One of the biggest reasons that people purchase new vehicles is not because of mileage, it’s because each year the auto manufacturers put better and more user-friendly technology packages in their vehicles. Instead of trading your vehicle in for a new model, maybe you should consider just adding those creature comforts to your current ride. Whether it is a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, UTV or RV you can have those features installed on your current vehicle. Here are some of the most popular items out there per vehicle type.

BOATS – Obviously upgrading speakers on any boat is a nice feature but you can do so much more. Today’s marine speakers are available in a variety of colors, sizes and some even come with LED lights in multiple colors. To go along with the LED lit speakers, you can install cup holder lights, interior accent lights, under water LED lights, lighted rub rails, or LED lighting underneath your pontoon boat. Of course, tower speakers for wake boats are all the rage and if your tower doesn’t feature a couple of sets it looks a little out of place. And last, but not least, is installing a new stereo receiver that gives you the ability to have full control of your smart phone with today’s newest Bluetooth interfacing. But did you know that you can now get marine receivers that can have a camera interface installed in them? You could use a camera on the front of your pontoon or cruiser and be able to get a better view when docking or when people are swimming around you. We even have FLIR (infrared cameras) that will let you see in total darkness. On wakeboard boats you can use one as a rear-view camera. With a new marine receiver, you can also add LCD screen remote controls throughout the boat for even better control. Some popular places for a remote are in the lower cabin, swim deck, bow or even put one on the passenger and one on the driver’s side.
CARS, TRUCKS & RV’s – In the last couple of years we have seen a huge improvement in safety. Of course, adding a backup camera to your vehicle is a great idea. Whether you are using it to detect hidden objects or for hooking up to your trailer back up cameras are a must-have today. But there is so much more technology now days. You can add front facing cameras, blind spot detection, lane assist and even multi view cameras to your existing vehicle. But number one on the list is the addition of Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Both features are now commonplace when looking at upgrading your radio. And with the new “hands free” law in effect since last August you want to make sure you are driving legally and being as safe as possible. Don’t forget about creature comforts like replacing your cloth interior with leather, adding heated seats, remote start, window tint, cruise control and wireless charging.

MOTORCYCLES – Loud pipes save lives, right? Well then you will need a loud stereo system to go along with it. If you are a Harley guy you are well aware of what a BOOM system is. But did you know there are way better options out there available to you? Rockford Fosgate is at the forefront of Harley Davidson stereos with their model specific replacement speakers, radios and bag lid speaker kits. If you own a Harley and haven’t seen the Rockford Fosgate bag lid kits yet, do yourself a favor and check them out today. While you are looking at upgrading your stereo it’s also a perfect time to upgrade your lighting. Upgraded LED headlights, turn signals, passing lights and taillights are available in black or chrome to look better and help you see better at night. You can also add LED accent lights underneath of your bike to show off a little more.

By Sound Connection Inc Staff

On August 1st Minnesota joined 23 other states that have a complete ban on handheld devices while driving.

The new Hands Free laws going into effect all across the country made a large impact in the mobile electronics industry and were the topic of numerous discussions over the last few years.  The discussions focused around how to make it easier and safer to use your phone without being distracted because, let’s face it, we are all addicted to technology and our phones in particular. Bluetooth has been around long enough that almost anyone not living under a rock is familiar with it and it’s purpose. The first vehicle equipped with factory Bluetooth was released in 1999 which puts it at 20 years ago now. That was 8 years before the iPhone was even released. Bluetooth was a game changer back then. Moving back to this century, the Apple and Android organizations knew the new Hands Free law was coming long before we did and began working on integrating their respective systems into vehicles for years, both on the OEM and aftermarket side. With that came the advent of Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The basics of these systems allows you to plug (or even wirelessly in some cases now) your phone into your cars touchscreen radio and VOILA!

Your radio basically becomes your phone with matching user interfaces and icons. It really couldn’t be any simpler. You can now control your radio as you would your phone and you don’t have to learn a new operating system just to play your favorite music. You can use Siri or Google as you see fit and access your phone, messages, GPS and other useful apps while in the vehicle. And everything is operating HANDS FREE! The voice activation lets you send messages, make phone calls, set reminders, send emails, get directions, search music, play podcasts and so much more.  Apple Car Play and Android Auto are becoming commonplace now if you purchase a new vehicle. But what if you have a vehicle made prior to the introduction of Apple Car Play, Android Auto or even Bluetooth? That is when you need to turn to your local mobile electronics specialist.

Companies such as Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony and more are offering new car receivers that offer up Apple Car Play, Android Auto and of course Bluetooth. New Bluetooth receivers can be purchased for under $100 and most Apple Car Play and Android Auto units start around the $350 range. I was recently driving a 2015 GMC Sierra as a loaner vehicle while my truck (which happens to have a Pioneer unit with Apple Car Play) was in the shop to be fixed. Even though the truck was only a few years old and had all the newest comforts such as full touch screen radio, GPS, heated steering wheel, air conditioned seats, lane departure system and other gizmos and gadgets, I felt that I was back in the stone age without my Apple Car Play. I didn’t have quick intuitive access to my text messages or phone calls and most of all I missed my Spotify, Stitcher and Google Maps.

If you haven’t had the opportunity (dare I say privilege) of driving a vehicle with Apple Car Play or Android Auto you really have no idea how it will change your life. Make sure to go to your nearest mobile electronics specialty store to see for yourself.