January 8, 2009

CES Update - So Far

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A lot of action has gone on at CES so far, but one has to imagine that the economy and the future of the category is on the minds of a lot of GPS participants.

The shear number of introductions is down; Garmin had a handful of units last year (Nuvi 850, 780, 260W, 5000, Forerunner 405, Colorado series, and Garmin Mobile for computers); not so this year. They did drop the Approach Golf GPS, Nuvi 885T, the Zumo 660 Motorcycle unit, and EcoRoute a free download that will help you save gas by routing you so there's less stop and go traffic.

Continuing the trend, Navigon announced a group of software rollouts meant to pimp your GPS up with some better map offerings, and information like Red Light Camera Locations. They also announced an alliance with Rand McNally to sell pre-programmed driving guides and specialized content of tourist locations.

TomTom announced that their TomTom GO 740 LIVE was coming to the US this spring - a connected GPS done the TomTom way. Will provide traffic, weather, Google Search, gas prices and more. Not offering HD Traffic right away, but that doesn't have me worried for now. I expect that the higher bandwidth and underlying data should be enough to make it better than current. TomTom also announced a slick new unit with Fujitsu ten - the Eclipse AVN4430.

Mio announced a whole line-up change with a big launch - announcing that their strategy has changed to go after the whole market, not just the low end. I was just talking the other day about newcomers getting squeezed at the low end while Garmin and TomTom kept them out through tough competition at that end of the market.

Nextar has launched the Q4-LT - the second brand to use NAVTEQ's advertising service; making lifetime traffic free to users. (Garmin was the first)

TeleNav and Inrix are a part of Ford's new Sync navigation system. Sounds like Ford is making a big step here with all the capabilities of the Sync.

Not to be outdone, Dual, announced another first; the first GPS to get HD Radio-based traffic feeds. Bigger bandwidth means faster updates. The Dual XNAV43HD should go on sale this spring.

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Posted by Scott Martin at January 8, 2009 10:40 PM

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