September 13, 2005

GPS News: Garmin New Nuvi 350 a Personal GPS Travel Assistant

Garmin is keeping up their break-neck pace of introducing new models in new forms all attempting to break out of the woods and integrate location based knowledge further into life. The Garmin Nuvi 350 combines a GPS navigator, language translator and travel guide capability, an MP3 player, an audio book player, a currency and measurement converter, a world clock, and a digital photo organizer - all in one slim, sleek, and easy-to-use device. The Garmin nuvi 300 comes with 200MB of flash memory and is available in Europe only; it does not have text-to-speech capability. The Garmin nuvi 350 will be available in Europe and North America and has 700MB of onboard flash memory.....

"The nuvi represents the pinnacle in integrated consumer electronics for travelers," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's vice president of marketing. "With its amazing array of features, the nuvi makes traveling easier and more enjoyable."

Like Garmin's latest generation of navigation devices, the nuvi's introductory screen lists two familiar options: "Where to?" and "View map," which offer the user Garmin's very popular and easy-to-use GPS navigation functions. A third option on the title page - named "Travel Kit" - contains the functions that distinguish the nuvi as a seasoned travel companion.

Travel Kit
Within the Travel Kit there are two main functionalities: The Language Guide and the Travel Guide: both require optional SD card based information. The Language Guide lets travelers look up and translate more than 17,000 words or 20,000 phrases per language. Through the unit's text-to-speech interface, users can get a spoken pronunciation of each entry in the word bank - along with gender and part of speech information. The multilingual phrase bank is categorized by activity for ease of use. The Travel Guide has information provided by Marco Polo - one of Europe's leading travel authorities - these guides put in-depth travel information at the user's fingertips - helpful reviews and recommendations for restaurants, hotels, shopping, nightlife, sporting events, and tourist attractions.

Both the Garmin Language Guide and Garmin Travel Guide are available separately on SD data cards. Once the Garmin Language Guide is installed, users can remove the card to free up the SD slot for other purposes, such as the Garmin Travel Guide.

Other Features
The Garmin nuvi comes with several other features which include an audiobook player that allows the user to download books from audible.com. Loading music and audiobooks onto the device should just be a drag and drop procedure onto the SD card.

The Garmin nuvi also comes with a picture viewer, a wordle travel clock, currency and measurement concerter and a calculator.

Product Details
Approximately the size of a deck of playing cards, the svelte and stylish nuvi hosts a sunlight-readable 3.5-inch (diagonal) color touchscreen display with a recessed power button, SD card slot, mini-USB jack, and headphone output. The flush flip-up GPS antenna houses an external antenna jack, and the unit's speaker is mounted within the unit - making the nuvi easy to carry in a jacket pocket, attache, or carry-on.

The nuvi has a battery life of four to eight hours, depending on backlight settings and GPS or application usage. The unit can be charged via the included AC power adapter, 12-volt power cable with suction-mount automotive cradle, or the PC/USB interface cable connected to a computer. Equipped with a new high-sensitivity GPS receiver, the nuvi is capable of maintaining a signal in heavy foliage or "urban canyons" created by city skyscrapers.

nuvi 300 - Available in Europe Only
This unit is sold exclusively in Europe. (Contact your Garmin European distributor for pricing.) Customers can purchase one of eight regional coverage areas:

* Italy and Greece
* Switzerland, Austria, Eastern France, Northern Italy, and Southern Germany
* Germany and Czech Republic
* U.K. and Ireland
* France
* Spain and Portugal
* Nordics
* Benelux

The nuvi 300 comes with approximately 200 MBs of internal memory for storage of supplemental maps, MP3s, and audio books (available from Audible.com)

nuvi 350 - Available in Europe and North America
This unit contains full European mapping right off the shelf. North American versions include pre-loaded City Navigator NT maps of the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

The Garmin Nuvi 350 is compatible with the GTM 10 FM TMC traffic receiver, which allows users to avoid traffic tie-ups by simply pushing a button that will calculate a new route.

The nuvi 350 also comes with an A/C charger and approximately 700 MBs of internal memory for storage of supplemental maps, MP3s, and audio books (available from Audible.com).

The expected street price is $969 US.

So What?

This is a rapidly expanding area, and the market is responding to the consumer need for more GPS capabilities integrated into other functions and forms. This market entry puts the consumer in the place to compare the Garmin nuvi vs. the Mio entries (Mio 269 for about $799 - a hard drive based unit), the Navman iCN 320 ($580 and flash based), the Navman iCN 550 (Prices in the $900 range with a hard drive), and the Cobra Nav One 4500 .

Detailed Specifications:


Garmin nuvi Features:

* High-sensitivity integrated GPS receiver by SiRF
* WAAS enabled; flip-up antenna-includes MCX-type connector for optional external GPS antenna connection
* Preloaded with City Navigator NT v.7-includes detailed maps of U.S., Canada & Puerto Rico (no downloading required)
* Travel Kit includes Language Guide, MP3 player, audible book player, picture viewer, world clock, currency and measurement converters, and calculator
* SD memory card expansion slot
* Powerful built-in speaker
* Traffic alerts with optional GTM 10 FM TMC traffic receiver*
* Text-to-Speech - unit prompts you to "Turn right on Main St" instead of "Turn right in 500 feet"
* Audible and visual navigation instructions and warnings
* Offers a three dimensional mapping perspective, or 2-D overhead view
* Display: 2.8" W x 2.1" H (3.5" diag.), 320 x 240 pixels; bright, TFT display, 64K colors, with white backlight and touch screen
* Unit dimensions: 3.87" W x 2.91" H x 0.87" D (98.3 mm x 73.9 mm x 22.1 mm)-fits easily in a pocket or purse
* Weight: 5.1 ounces (144.6 grams)
* Built-in lithium ion battery
* Between 4-8 hours of battery life, depending on use
* Includes 12-volt power adapter cable for external power while in your vehicle
* Includes suction cup mount that allows for easy adjustment and quick release
* Simplified PC connectivity, similar to a digital camera, using USB Mass Storage with access to either the SD card slot or to the unit's internal memory directly from your PC desktop.
* With the POI loader program (available for free from www.garmin.com), users can set up proximity alerts for school zones, safety cameras, and more.

*Traffic services available only in select cities where RDS-TMC coverage exists. Requires the GTM 10 FM TMC traffic receiver and subscription fee to enable traffic capability.

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Posted by Scott Martin at September 13, 2005 9:43 AM

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