The first head units appeared in the US in the 1920s, initially as an experiment in just a few cars. The first mass manufacturer of car radios was Paul Galvin, later the founder of Motorola, who began installing them around 1929. The first head unit in Europe was introduced by the predecessor of Blaupunkt at a radio technology exhibition in Berlin in 1932. Its name was AS5 – the abbreviation AS stood for Autosuper, number 5 for the number of tubes (in the first third of the 20th century, until the invention of the semiconductor transistor, tubes were part of all electronics).
The device weighed 15 kilogrammes, cost about one third of the price of the car, and could even be connected to a gramophone. At that time, factory-fitted audio systems were far ahead in the future. The first head unit built into the dashboard, with station selection buttons, was launched by Decker in 1951. Two years later, Decker came up with an improved automatic station search system. The first transistor radio was introduced by Philips in 1961. In 1968, the same company made it possible for drivers to use audio cassettes in cars. The first digital display was showcased by Blaupunkt in 1979. Philips and Becker launched the first car CD players in 1985.