January 3, 2008

CES 2008: Garmin Nuvi 5000 - Super Size Me!

So Garmin has been in the BIG screen segment before with the 7-inch screened Garmin StreetPilot 7200, but with market pressures driving costs down and features into the units, it's time to revisit the big screen for the everyman.

Garmin announced a new series of nuvi navigators designed specifically for those seeking premium navigation features on a large, 5.2-inch touchscreen display. Those premium features include a choice of MSN Direct data feeds or TMC Traffic feeds, Video input for back-up cameras, MP3/Audiobook player, and route optimization. Not bad, but no THX Certified Surround Sound?

"The nuvi 5000 is ideal for those with larger vehicles that need navigation on a big screen," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "With its easy-to-use interface and route planning features, it puts drivers in total control of the road."

With its large, touchscreen interface, the nuvi 5000 makes it easier than ever to obtain voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions, route calculation, and automatic rerouting if a motorist strays off course. Route planning is a cinch as the nuvi 5000 will save 10 routes, specify via points and preview simulated turns on the big screen. Additionally, it auto sorts multiple destinations providing the driver with the most direct and efficient route for errands, deliveries or sales calls. Drivers who want to keep track of where they have been can turn on the track log feature and see an electronic bread crumb trail that shows their previously traveled route on the display. If a driver wants to avoid an area, the nuvi's routing can be customized by choosing to avoid select roads and areas. Garmin has also made it possible for customers to supplement the pre-loaded maps with custom points of interest such as school zones and safety cameras.

All routing information is displayed on a digital elevation map that shows detail about the surrounding terrain. Users can select a configurable vehicle icon, which allow the user to travel along their route with a fun, customized vehicle-shaped icon -- instead of a simple wedge shape graphic. The nuvi also displays speed limits for major highways and Interstates.

Customers also have the opportunity to receive dynamic content from either MSN Direct (U.S. only) or FM TMC (Traffic Message Channel) traffic receiver. Those selecting the optional MSN Direct receiver will receive enhanced, up-to-date traffic information, fuel prices, weather reports, enhanced movie listings, and news and stocks information for major metropolitan areas in the United States. In addition, owners may plan trips and look up destinations from their computer, via Microsoft Local Live, and then send locations and routes to the nuvi 5000. Customers who purchase the optional FM TMC traffic receiver will receive up-to-date traffic information for metropolitan areas in the United States and select European countries.

In addition, the nuvi 5000 displays a video signal from an external analog source, such as a back-up camera. When an external video source is active, the user may revert to the map display by touching anywhere on the screen.

Customers also have several entertainment options to choose from -- an internal MP3 player, audio book player and games. The built-in MP3 player lets users browse music by artist, album, song or genre. Music can be loaded onto an SD card and is "drag-and-drop" easy -- no special software is required. The nuvi 5000 is also compatible with audible.com, a subscription based audio book service. A handful of games are preloaded on the nuvi to help passengers pass the time. Additional games will be available in the future at http://www.garmin.com/games. All music or speech files can be emitted over the vehicle's existing speakers, through the nuvi's built-in FM wireless transmitter or via the unit's 3.5mm stereo output jack. The entertainment audio is muted when navigation instructions are given.

The nuvi 5000 is expected to be available in North America in February for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $799.99. It will be available in Europe in the second quarter of 2008.

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Posted by Scott Martin at January 3, 2008 7:21 PM

Recent Comments

I would agree with Tom, that a GPS / Satellite Radio combo unit is a great no-brainer, even more so now that the Sirius / XM merger is closer at hand.

Think about it... Within a year of the merger, the company expects to have portable units available that will be able to receive both signals and the ability to pick channels cafeteria style. I have a Nuvi 350 and a built-in XM receiver in my Honda. However, this combo device with the ability to receive both XM and Sirius signals would be logical to both people that are just entering the GPS market, those entering the satellite radio market and those that wish to upgrade their older XM or Sirius radio to be able to receive both. Garmin starting development now gets past the question of picking either XM or Sirius or having two different devices.

The technical details of the sound system are just that, details... Both an internal speaker and an audio output port would handle that. There's already portable XM or Sirius receivers so that wouldn't be much different.

Posted by: Kevin Cubberly at March 31, 2008 1:50 PM

Thanks, Scott, but I still believe that a GPS/XM combo is viable for those of us with older vehicles no so equipped. That's what made the portable GPS popular in the first place, that it wasn't tied into one vehicle.

If it were up to me, I'd simply improve the quality of the speakers already in the GPS unit and play the XM right through them. I can't see why this can't be done, given the quality of many speaker systems in hand-held media player units today. Also, many new car models are coming out with audio-in jacks designed to take mp3 audio directly, and I would assume that a connection from the audio-out of a GPS to the audio-in of a car's system would work fine. As it stands now, I have to run my two units separately, and I'd snap up a combo unit in a heartbeat. -Tom Loughlin

Posted by: Tom Loughlin at January 7, 2008 11:36 AM

Hey Scott,

When do you think Garmin will team up with either XM or Sirius (XM preferably, though with a potential merger who knows?) and produce a GPS/XM Radio combination? I know the 7200/7500 has it, but the antenna was about $250 extra over the street price. If you talk to any Garmin people at CES, tell them there is probably a nice market out there for a GPS which can receive satellite radio - that's it. Not all of us live where traffic is a problem, but all of us do live where satellite radio is available. This seems like a natural combination to me. Thanks. -Tom Loughlin


I think that is a good combination too, but I think that car makers are better suited to offer these units at the original sale, so Navigation with XM onboard. I am generally not a big fan of audio from GPS sent to your car stereo, if they rely on FM transmitters. The quality is just OK, not great. TomTom had the idea to hardwire, and I think that while not many people are going for that; it's a great way to go.


Posted by: Tom Loughlin at January 4, 2008 5:29 PM
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