January 3, 2008

CES 2008: Garmin Nuvi 880/850


UPDATE: MSN Direct will stop service January 1, 2012 - buyer beware that the traffic and other information services will not work after that date.
Garmin announced the new nuvi 880, a premium portable navigation device with cutting-edge speech recognition, dynamic MSN Direct content, and an impressive array of other convenience and safety features. Big stuff.

  • Voice Recognition - A little different; you need to push a small mountable button to get the Nuvi to "Listen", but it uses an algorithms to use Voice Controls to do some great things.... say "Find Nearest Italian Restaurant" or "Find Nearest Starbucks", and it will search through the POI listings to get a list for you.

  • MSN Direct with new features like News and stocks, Local events and "Send to your GPS from your computer in addition to the Movie, Weather and Gas prices info that has already shown up on MSN Direct models.

  • It seems like Garmin is using SiRF's new InstantFixII technology here as they say that "At startup Garmin's new "instant on" feature makes the unit quicker to use."

  • I am not a huge fan of FM transmitters for playing music over the stereo, but it looks like Garmin is getting hipper as they are offering their music player that can read MP3, Ogg, and Flac formats.

    Garmin also offers the Nuvi 850, which offers speech recognition capabilities but without MSN Direct services or Bluetooth wireless technology.

    More below...

    "Garmin's nuvi 880 uses speech recognition to make navigation safer and easier than ever. Now it's possible to keep both hands on the wheel, tell nuvi what to do and where to go, and you're on your way to stress-free travel," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's worldwide vice president of sales. "And with enhanced MSN Direct services, the nuvi 880 provides cutting-edge content like traffic, fuel prices, news and business headlines, and a wireless 'send to GPS' capability."

    In keeping with Garmin's heritage of elegant user interface design, the nuvi 880's speech recognition technology sets the new industry standard for simple and intuitive use. Users mount a push-to-talk wireless remote to their steering wheel, which is used to activate voice commands -- no additional setup or "training" is required. Once activated, the user can effortlessly manipulate controls by speaking the words that correspond to buttons that are on the touchscreen display, so that almost any common task can be performed without ever touching the unit.

    Garmin has also streamlined the way users can perform complex points of interest searches. Driving in an unfamiliar area and hungry for some spaghetti? Simply say, "find nearest Italian restaurant," and you're offered a menu of nearby pasta purveyors. Use a voice command to select the establishment of your choice, and the nuvi 800 series gives you turn-by-turn directions to dinner. The nuvi 880 also knows the names of many large business brands, so a user need only say, "find nearest Starbucks" for a quick caffeine fix.

    For the ultimate in safety, a driver at any time speak the phrase, "where am I?" and their device will display its exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations and gas stations. Speech recognition can also be used to search for addresses as well -- all hands-free, from start to finish. Speech recognition is available for American English, British English, European French, European Spanish, German, Italian, and Netherlands Dutch languages.

    The nuvi 880 also boasts next-generation dynamic content from the MSN Direct network that helps users efficiently navigate their day, including:

    -- Traffic conditions: receive up-to-date traffic incident and flow
    information for most metropolitan areas across North America, and let
    nuvi select a route that avoids traffic accidents, road closures, and
    -- Fuel prices: receive gas price data from over 100,000 gas stations
    across the nation. Drivers will always know where to get the best
    prices -- and save time and fuel by using their unit to navigate
    directly to the station of their choice.
    -- Weather reports: features current weather conditions (including
    high/low/current temperatures, chances of precipitation, humidity,
    pressure, wind, and weather alerts) as well as three day weather
    -- Enhanced movie listings: search for movies by title or by theater and
    receive show times, 'star' ratings, genre, actors, and more -- and get
    driving directions to the theater.
    -- Local events: receive special notices on festivals, concerts, and
    sporting events in your area, and navigate to them.
    -- News and stocks: the latest news headlines and financial market updates
    are always at your fingertips.
    -- Send to GPS capability: plan trips and look up destinations from the
    convenience of your computer, via Windows Live Local, and then
    wirelessly send locations to your nuvi 880.

    Three months of free MSN Direct service is included with the purchase of the nuvi 880. Owners can re-subscribe for $49.95 a year, or a one-time charge of $129.95. For more information on MSN Direct services and coverage areas, visit http://garmin.msndirect.com.

    The nuvi 880 has Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free calling when paired with compatible phones. Using the unit's speech recognition capabilities, users can find and dial phone numbers (specifically supported phones can even access their history log of received, missed and dialed calls) or nuvi's points of interest database (hotels, restaurants, stores and more). This new premium PND also has a built-in FM transmitter, allowing users to wirelessly transmit turn-by-turn directions and street names, MP3s and audio books through their vehicle's stereo. The nuvi 880 also boasts front-firing stereo speakers and a removable lithium-ion battery.

    Boasting a bright, sunlight-readable 4.3-inch color touchscreen display (480x272 pixels), the nuvi 880 is loaded with maps of the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The new unit incorporates a high-sensitivity internal GPS antenna that makes it thinner and easier to mount in a car. At startup (Garmin's new "instant on" feature makes the unit quicker to use), Garmin's intuitive "Where To?" and "View Map" welcome screen appears, allowing for quick searches of addresses or over six million points of interest like restaurants, hotels, attractions, gas stations, and more. Turn-by-turn, voice-prompted directions guide drivers to their destination, announcing streets by name along the way. If they miss a turn, the nuvi automatically recalculates a route and gets them back on track.

    To help drivers find their car in an unfamiliar spot or crowded parking lot, the unit automatically marks where it was last removed from the windshield mount. Users can save 10 routes, specify via points and preview simulated turns, and the unit automatically sorts multiple destinations to provide an efficient route for errands, deliveries or sales calls. It also displays speed limits for highways and interstates, and a trip log provides an electronic bread crumb trail of up to 10,000 points.

    The nuvi 880 also includes many entertainment and travel tools including a music player (MP3, Ogg, and Flac formats supported), audio book player (subscription to Audible.com required), alarm clock, picture viewer, currency converters and more. The nuvi 880 even has games pre-loaded to pass the time while waiting in airports and long lines. The units also are installed with Garmin Lock(TM), an innovative patent pending theft prevention system that disables the unit from performing any functions until the user types in a specific 4-digit PIN or takes the unit to a predetermined secure location.

    Garmin also offers the nuvi 850, which offers speech recognition capabilities but without MSN Direct services or Bluetooth wireless technology. All other features are comparable to the nuvi 880.

    The nĂ¼vi 800 series will be available in the second quarter of 2008.

    Read More in: CES 2008

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    Posted by Scott Martin at January 3, 2008 7:43 PM
  • Recent Comments

    This sounds great, but does it have the historical speed averages? I am waiting for the device that does, and hope they get that integrated soon.

    Also. I agree that the current detour function is absolutely useless. If they fix this also it will be a great upgrade.


    I agree, I want historical average speeds too. This unit does not have it, but I believe Garmin is only a few months away from a market entry with a Next Generation approach to things (connected GPS with advanced traffic reporting).

    Now that TomTom, Magellan and Dash have entries announced, Garmin will have to step up.


    Posted by: Chad Cooper at January 3, 2008 11:09 PM

    Magellan already has "Find nearest [XYZ type] restuarant]" voice recognition.

    The 3 biggest problems with the Nuvi 700 series are:

    1) can't remove a particular road from a route
    2) detour function is useless
    3) speaker/mic for bluetooth is worthless (like most PNDs)

    Did they address any of the three above?

    Posted by: Brett at January 3, 2008 9:43 PM
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