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Mercedes-Benz Launches The GLK Universal Media Interface (UMI)
Posted July 23, 2008 At 9:50 AM CST by T. Philips

Interior view of the Mercedes-Benz GLK with Universal Media Interface (UMI)

For those of you currently in the process of constructing your Mercedes GLK options list, the company today has taken a moment to detail an accessory vital to anyone looking who's looking to integrate their iPod, iPhone, Zune, or any other USB-based MP3 player/music phone into their existing vehicle architecture. The GLK Universal Media Interface (UMI), as it is so eloquently titled, allows you via a single step to connect any of the aforementioned devices into your vehicle's audio system, and furthermore, control these various devices with your vehicle's built-in operating controls.

Operation of the Universal Media Interface is simple:  in the glovebox, a UMI connector allows you to connect your multimedia device of choice, with the vehicle display then showing the corresponding structured menu levels for straightforward navigation. Control of your device's various multimedia functions is accomplished with the help of the vehicle's center console controller (press/turn knob), and for some features, the multi-function steering wheel.

In addition to plug-and-play functionality, the GLK Universal Media Interface also incorporates A2DP Bluetooth functionality as well.  With this technology, drivers can stream music wirelessly from the MP3 memory of a mobile phone equipped with Bluetooth technology straight to the vehicle's audio system - even while the phone remains in the his or her pocket.

And, if you're still not sold, there's one final element of the GLK Universal Media Interface I've yet to mention:  when used with the non-navigation Audio 20 system, the GLK UMI adds a retrofitted navigation function to your existing setup.  Operated again with your GLK's center console controller, the navigation function monitors your vehicle speed and GPS coordinates, determining not only the location of your vehicle, but also offering route planning and a traffic message channel (which warns of upcoming traffic jams and suggests a suitable detour).

Sound intriguing? If so, the GLK Universal Media Interface package will be available for the Mercedes GLK-Class following its market launch in October 2008. Pricing is set at EUR 1099.00 for the German market, which includes VAT.

For more info, you can see photos of the Mercedes GLK UMI immediately below as well as the official press release detailing each of its various features.


Interior view of the Mercedes-Benz GLK with Universal Media Interface (UMI), center console

Interior view of the Mercedes-Benz GLK with Universal Media Interface (UMI), center console

The Mercedes-Benz GLK Universal Media Interface (UMI)

The Mercedes-Benz GLK Universal Media Interface (UMI)


Mercedes-Benz launches the Universal Media Interface for the GLK: Intelligent multimedia centre for mobile entertainment and navigation

Stuttgart – Perfectly equipped for the future: with the Mercedes-Benz Universal Media Interface (UMI), GLK customers can integrate the latest mobile multimedia technology into the existing vehicle architecture by means of just one procedure. Mobile entertainment and communication devices such as USB-based MP3 players, music phones and the Apple iPhone® can be easily linked to the vehicle audio system and controlled via the existing operating controls. The Universal Media Interface developed by Mercedes-Benz Accessories GmbH is compatible with the Audio 20 CD system (codes 523 and 520). Although this equipment does not have a navigation function, a convenient GPS map navigation function is available when used in combination with the UMI.

In everyday life, people are becoming increasingly unwilling to forego their personal music and picture collections while they are moving about. Accordingly, the market for portable multimedia equipment such as USB-based MP3 players, music phones and Apple iPods® is booming. The Mercedes-Benz Universal Media Interface for the GLK, which is available as a retrofit, makes it possible to use these external devices via the vehicle audio system – with top sound reproduction quality, simple operation and perfect integration into the vehicle architecture.

Existing operating controls such as controllers, displays and the radio can still easily be used – no replacement of components is required. After the interface has been installed by a specialist Mercedes-Benz workshop, no additional hardware or software installation is required.

In accordance with the “plug-and-play” principle, the external multimedia devices can be connected quickly and easily using the appropriate connection alternatives in each instance, to the UMI connector which is discreetly housed in the glovebox. The various multimedia functions can be activated simply by pressing the “AUX” button on the car radio. Using the clearly structured menu levels, the user can then easily activate the desired functions by means of the controller (press/turn knob) on the centre console, and can easily read them off the large vehicle display.

Music lovers will also be delighted with the wireless transmission of audio signals via the A2DP Bluetooth® profile. This audio streaming makes it possible to play music wirelessly directly from the MP3 memory of a mobile phone equipped with Bluetooth technology. The mobile phone can remain in the user’s jacket pocket – it is sufficient merely to activate the Bluetooth connection.

The intelligent USB interface also affords greater convenience. If music is stopped or switched off at the USB stick, the system records the position and commences at exactly the same point when the stick is activated again.

Perfect map navigation available as a retrofit

The new Universal Media Interface can do even more: customers who use the often factory-ordered Audio 20 CD system without a navigation function receive a convenient retrofitted navigation function with the Universal Media Interface. In addition to the required navigation software, the module set also contains up-to-date map materials for Europeat no additional cost.

The system uses several information sources, such as the vehicle speed and GPS coordinates, to precisely determine the location of the vehicle. The operation via the controller in the centre console is especially convenient and reliable. In addition, the Universal Media Interface uses the display, which, likewise, is already provided in order to display the maps, and it also displays the route recommendations using arrow symbols in the vehicle’s instrument cluster. An additional monitor, which would upset the harmony of the vehicle’s interior, is therefore unnecessary.

The route planning is made without delays, because the system has an efficient processor. Numerousadditional features make the navigation very sophisticated. The TMC (traffic message channel) function, which is fitted as standard, warns of traffic jams and suggests detours. The inclination of the map display can be individually selected, or it can be switched to “Bird view mode”. The acoustic route information can be announced in 19 languages.

The system always remains state-of-the-art: updates can be easily uploaded and installed by means of a USB stick. The Universal Media Interface thus represents an attractive and fully vehicle-integrated navigation retrofit solution.

Absolute ease of operation

The music part of the new interface, too, is characterised by perfect integration into the vehicle architecture. For instance, in the case of the iPod®, the driver can control all the music functions, such as navigating through the playlists, browsing at the next-highest menu level, fast-forwarding, and rewinding or track repetition, by means of the controller in the centre console. Amongst other things, the colour display (in the case of Audio 20 CD with a five-inch screen) of the audio system provides information about the respective music track, the artists and albums, and also about the MP3 player’s playback mode.

In addition, if desired, some music functions can also be controlled using the multi-function steering wheel. In this case, the most important information is displayed in the instrument cluster.

The question of the power supply is also elegantly solved: the Mercedes-Benz Universal Media Interface automatically supplies fresh energy to the battery of the portable communication and entertainment devices by means of the on-board power supply system, once the connection has been established and the ignition has been switched on. If the device is taken out of the glovebox after a long car ride, the battery will still be fully charged.

The Mercedes-Benz Universal Media Interface will be available for the new GLK-Class following the market launch in October 2008. It will be available from all Mercedes-Benz partners at a price of 1099.00 euros (incl. VAT; this price applies to the German market, plus installation costs).

The functions of the Mercedes-Benz Universal Media Interface at a glance

When linked to the Audio 20 CD audio system, theMercedes-Benz Universal Media Interface provides the following functions which are shown on the display in each case:

  • Map navigation

  • The integration of a USB-based MP3 player or USB stick (“USB”) on which audio files have been pre-recorded

  • Playing of MP3 audio files that are stored on an Apple iPod® or Apple iPhone® ("iPod/iPhone")

  • Connection with a conventional external audio device (“AUX”)

  • Wireless transmission of MP3 audio signals via the Bluetooth® profile A2DP (“audio streaming”)

Copyright © 2008, Daimler AG

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