October 3, 2007

Garmin Mobile XT

Garmin introduced Garmin Mobile XT, an all-in-one software solution that turns select smartphones with internal GPS into high-end Garmin navigators. Garmin has certainly recognized the coming wave of mobile smartphones and plans a place in their future. (I find it interesting to see Nokia coming the other way from phones to stand alone GPS.)

Garmin Mobile XT mobile phone software application seamlessly pairs the phone's built-in GPS with Garmin's software so that customers have the benefits of navigation anywhere in North America or Europe. Garmin Mobile XT offers convenient preloaded maps and includes access to dynamic content like premium real-time traffic alerts and fuel prices, but does not require any monthly fees or subscriptions of any kind. The cost is $99, which compares well to the $10/mo the wireless companies want you to pay.

One interesting feature is the PeerPoints feature that allows you to find friends who also run the Garmin Mobile XT software. This sounds similar to the capabilities of the RINO 530 HCx, (see my review of the RINO 530 HCx) that uses the FRS GMRS radio system to find friends (on a very local basis). I thought it was a great feature, and as long as you trust your friends (of family), it's cool to be hooked together.

More from the Press Release below…

"Garmin Mobile XT is easy-to-use and affordable, with no monthly charges," said Charles Morse, Garmin's director of mobile and PND marketing. "It's a one-time investment that gives customers full-featured GPS navigation on their smartphone whenever and wherever they need it, including areas outside of wireless network coverage."

Garmin Mobile XT is preloaded on a microSD card (with miniSD and standard SD card converter) that includes Garmin navigation software for the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, or Europe. Once the card is inserted into a compatible smartphone with embedded GPS, the Garmin Mobile XT application will launch automatically. Customers are then greeted with Garmin's intuitive "Where to?" and "View map" welcome screen. With a few screen or button taps, customers can easily route to a specific street address or choose from millions of points of interest -- such as restaurants, hotels, ATMs, and gas stations. In addition to turn-by-turn, voice prompted directions, users will also see their exact position on a detailed moving map. If a turn is missed along the way, a new route will be recalculated automatically.

Thanks to Garmin's vast product line and ability to leverage technology from the other GPS markets Garmin serves, Garmin Mobile XT builds in unique features such as support for travel guides, topo maps and custom points of interest, as well as advanced features such as route planning with saved routes, custom avoidances and visible trip logs. Garmin Mobile XT users also have the benefit of routing to the location of a contact in their phone's address book or to a calendar appointment (on supported platforms).

Garmin Mobile XT also includes PeerPoints(TM), a powerful feature enabling users to send their position to any other phone as well as view and navigate to the location of other Garmin Mobile XT users. PeerPoints is the perfect way to keep track of friends and family and navigate to them with the touch of a button.

In addition to navigation, Garmin Mobile XT includes free access to Garmin Online(TM) so that customers have useful, constantly-updating information at their fingertips like real-time traffic, fuel prices, hotel prices and weather forecasts. The real-time traffic service from traffic.com identifies accidents, road construction or other incidents affecting traffic, and routes users around the congestion. The fuel price feature displays the filling station's name, fuel price, type of fuel, and distance to the station (U.S. only). Garmin Mobile XT users can also help customers find hotel information, ratings and discounts from hotels.com. Real-time weather information provided by Custom Weather lets users see weather forecasts at their current location or anywhere in the world. Garmin Online is accessed through the phone's wireless data service.

Garmin Mobile XT is available now for a suggested retail price of $99 in the U.S. Garmin Mobile XT products purchased in the U.S. include maps of all North America. In Europe, Garmin Mobile XT includes map data for 30 countries in Europe. Map data is provided by NAVTEQ(TM) -- a world leader in premium-quality mapping.

Read More in: Garmin GPS News | Mobile Phone GPS

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Posted by Scott Martin at October 3, 2007 8:34 AM

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