Already well-established as one of the big players in the U.S. market for embedded auto nav systems, Alpine is bowing to pressure from portable devices from the likes of TomTom and Garmin, announcing Thursday the launch of  its own portable navigation device.

Dubbed the "Blackbird," the versatile unit comes pre-loaded with map data for the U.S. and Canada, and will provide full turn-by-turn voice directions to an address, intersection or pre-loaded point of interest (including hotels, restaurants, airports, and gas stations). The Blackbird is also a Radio Data System traffic data receiver (requires a service subscription) and an MP3 player accepting music files on SD cards.

Alpine's road trip buddy retails for about $750, with traffic data services starting this summer, for a $60 annual fee.

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