The end of the summer is almost here, and the IFA show is going on in Berlin which is the big Euro electronics show ahead of the holiday shopping season. With new Garmins and new TomToms announced there are now some signs that there are good bargains. I have seen it time and time again in the GPS world.
A few to keep in mind:
TomTom ONE XL - The TomTom ONE 330 XL has been launched and the very capable TomTom ONE XL is now down about $30 in recent weeks. No Text to speech, but TomTom has a good software upgrade program that allows you to keep these models as current as ever. At $169, it's a $20 upgrade to a widescreen.
Garmin Nuvi 350 - Now that the Garmin Nuvi 300 series has been discontinued, the Nuvi 350 and Nuvi 360 are prime candidates for low prices. As an aside, the Nuvi 350 started it all, as the first thin format factor GPS that was at the time targeted at business travelers. The rest of the industry followed, and now you can barely find a unit that is thicker than 1-inch. The Nuvi 350 is still priced at $199, while the Nuvi 360, which adds Bluetooth, is priced at $324.
Sony announced a nice update to their line of GPS units. The Top of the line, billed as a luxury GPS, NV-U94T ($400 SRP) has an extra large screen at 4.8-inches (16:9 ratio), compared with the normal widescreen of 4.3-inches. The "T" means traffic which is fed through RDS-TMC system over the FM airwaves. The Bluetooth enabled unit will allow for handsfree calling on compatible phones. The unit also comes with Position Plus which uses an accelerometer to help guide you while you are moving through tunnels. A nice thing when you live in a place like Boston where there are multiple tunnels under the city with exit ramps. The Sony GPS line will continue to use a gesture command to control the unit with flicks of the finger; quick stroke means "Go Home" which can be a nice shortcut.
The NV-U84 ($350 SRP) is a more affordable extra large screen at 4.8-inches, while offering a lot of the features of the higher level NV-U94T, without the Bluetooth or traffic. The NV-U74T ($300 SRP) has a normal widescreen at 4.3-inches but includes such features as Bluetooth, traffic, and the gesture command.
The NV-U44 ($250 SRP) is a standard screen (3.5-inch) unit that offers text to speech, gesture command and a photo viewer.
Pre-orders are being taken at Sony Style, and a quick look there has a ship date of September 10th.
Full Press Release and more information after the jump...
We broke the news the other day on the GO 940, and TomTom announced today that they are launching the TomTom GO 740 LIVE and 940 LIVE which will be connected devices through their cellular networked HD module. This will offer high quality up-to-date traffic data feeds with available traffic data and information from other users who are also using the TomTom HD service. The service will also offer fuel prices to subscribers. The units will be available in Europe, and carry a 9.95 Euro monthly price.
Google Search - TomTom has brought Google to the table as a partner for search on the GPS, and will deliver results that are easily routed to with the touch of a button.
The only question is when this will come to the US.....
Arkon has announced that they now have replacement mounts for the new Mio Moov 200 and Mio Moov 300 series. All of the mount bundles include a custom cradle adapter and a location specific pedestal for use in the car. Arkon has an amazing array of aftermarket mounts that allow you a lot of flexibility in placement of your GPS. Users can choose from a variety of different mounts that attach to the windshield, dash, cup holder opening, lighter socket, sun visor, and air vent locations.
Navigon is making news with their own announcement that they are now offering their product line with lifetime traffic included across all of their products. NAVIGON's traffic feature will work out of the box, no subscription, no extra hardware required, no strings attached. Using real-time traffic information delivered via an FM receiver built into each device, NAVIGON's newest generation of products will let 200,000,000 consumers in 95 North American markets route around traffic. The offer will span from Navigon's entry level products up to its top end.
Inrix and Beat the Traffic came together to bring the broad coverage to TV news broadcasts. Inrix and their Smart Dust network are coming together in a new way to get a better view of the traffic at hand in a way that is familiar to GPS users.
"Millions of consumers rely on local broadcast TV traffic reports before they start their commutes," commented Kush Parikh, vice president of business development of INRIX. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Beat the Traffic - the clear leader in providing innovative, visually-striking 3D traffic reports to broadcast stations across the country - to provide customers with the most accurate traffic data possible to help ease their commutes."
Nextar announced that they now have the new M3-MX navigation system that provides maps of the US and Mexico along with English and Spanish voice prompts. The maps come on a 2GB card, while the unit features a 3.5-inch screen. The cross border travel must drive the demand and sounds like a pretty good idea. The MSRP is $199 and is available at WalMart.com and at Nextar.com
On top of the Nuvi 200 series announcement, Garmin let out the upgrades to the Nuvi 700 series today too. The new 7X5T units are set to drop by October, just in time for the holiday shopping season. There are a few nice additions to the line that will make the line a lot more attractive.
Lifetime Traffic - The "T" designator gets you lifetime traffic on the units. A strategic change for Garmin who has had a subscription model on their units until now. The Nuvi 785T has MSN Direct traffic, while the other units have TMC Traffic.
Lane Assist - Garmin brings Lane Assist to its line, which I think is great. It helps you decide which ramp to take when you hit complicated highway situations. I have seen this on Navigon, and think that it can really help.
3-D Buildings - Garmin is now bringing 3-D buildings to the Nuvi 7X5T line with semi-transparent representations of the actual buildings that are there. Cool stuff, can't wait to see it.
Garmin will add Garmin HotFix technology to the line which lets the GPS units predict where satellites will be and grab a signal faster when you turn it on.
The Nuvi 755T ($499 SRP), will have North American Maps, the Nuvi 765T ($599 SRP), will add Bluetooth, the Nuvi 775T ($799 SRP) will include North American and European maps pre-loaded, while the Nuvi 785T ($699 SRP) will have Bluetooth, North American Maps and offer MSN Direct traffic.
The Garmin Nuvi 7X5T series is expected to ship at Amazon October 1:
Today Garmin announced an update to the Nuvi 200 series, that is aligned with the Nuvi 2X5 set (205, 255), that were announced earlier this year, and that add a couple of highly sought after features to the entry level line: Bluetooth and Traffic.
Garmin is getting on the bandwagon with the Nuvi 265T, 265WT and 275T models and offering LifetimeTraffic with these new models, a departure from the older 3-month free trial and a monthly subscription after that. Interesting little feature that is mentioned is the "patented auto time zone feature", which will set the correct time while navigating. I always wondered why a GPS couldn't do this, now it can. (A GPS is a very sophisticated calculation device that calculates the time it takes to get a signal from a satellite and triangulates its position on a known map. The satellites send their signals with time stamps, so the nav unit should be able to tell you what time it is!)
The new Nuvi 2x5 models come with the enhancements that you get with the rest of the 2x5 line, including:
New faster processor, making for a faster routing and map drawing.
New shaded elevation maps.
Now compatible with optional TMC traffic receivers, or MSN Direct service (Gas prices, traffic, local events, stocks, news, and weather.
Garmin HotFix capability to automatically calculate and store satellite locations so that you will be able to turn the unit on and go a lot faster greatly reducing satellite acquisition time.
Geolocated Picture capability - Download geotagged photos to the Garmin to be able to navigate to a loaded picture; works with Google's Panoramio photo sharing community and Garmin Connect Photos website.
With all of these features, the Garmin Nuvi 265T, and 265WT seem to be a very well appointed and well targeted to the masses. The Nuvi 265T, will have standard screen, Bluetooth and Traffic, Nuvi 265WT will expand to a 4.3-inch screen, while the Nuvi 275T will come with North American and Euro maps, plus traffic. They all have text to speech turn directions; "Turn left on Main Street."
Full press release after the jump....
SiRF, the makers of the revolutionary SiRFstar III chipset, recently lost a ruling in a patent infringement against its rival Global Locate (a subsidiary of Broadcom). It could spell bad news for the GPS chip giant, because the case isn't over, and it appears that customers have concerns over the strategic choice of sticking with SiRF through this crisis.
SiRF just issued a press release saying, "There is no ban on shipment of SiRF's or our customers' products. In fact, the ITC will not even make any final determination until December after they have finished their investigation including reviewing the ITC Staff's appeal and our appeal."
My thoughts are if SiRF is issuing a press release on this, then they seem to need to convince someone that their future shipments aren't in jeopardy; like the engineers who will design the chips out of new units, or business unit owners who might get pinched if a ruling does in fact come down with some kind of punitive move to limit importation of chips that infringe.
In the end, these things often come right up to the last minute and then get settled for an undisclosed amount and a bunch of patent licensing agreements. Business continues and life goes on. We'll see.
Navigon has announced the new Navigon 7200T, a more advanced widescreen unit that has lifetime traffic subscription. The Navigon 7200T includes voice command for address entry and the start of 3-D buildings with a 3-D landmark view. The voice navigation capabilities are quickly becoming a high end feature that may be a must have; and the 3-D landmark view will be something we are seeing more and more as the data and views come available from map suppliers. Garmin has topographic shading in certain situations, and may bring to show a version in a 3-D point of view also. The drive here is to better represent on the GPS what you are seeing in the real world as it lays out in front of you. The concern of course is that when your right turn is behind that hill, you may not be able to see it.
The Navigon 7200T has a whole host of features that continue to build on their offerings in the market. The full press release below walks through them.
TomTom looks like they are about to release the TomTom GO 940 LIVE; an up-versioned model of the TomTom 930 that adds their HD traffic module. A page has just appeared on a retailer's site, offering it for pre-sale. The GO 940 would have all the features of the GO 930, including IQ routes, Lane Assist, and Enhanced Positioning Technology. TomTom LIVE Pack
The TomTom GO 940 LIVE will also include the "Live" package, that for the UK at least will have a subscription to HD Traffic, Safety database (think speed cameras?), and fuel prices. Oh yea, and Google Search!
Google Search - Rumored a few days ago, and now (semi-) confirmed it looks like TomTom and Google are in a nice tie up on mobile search. With the HD mobile GSM band connection and the proper work to streamline results, the combination could be pretty powerful.
The TomTom GO 940 LIVE is priced at 399 pounds plus VAT, and will require a subscription after the free three month trial is up for the LIVE connection via the TomTom HD module. Think in the price range of $10 - $15 per month....
Traffic.com has a lot of traffic capabilities to offer, and now you can go get your own traffic magnet for your site. The Magnet below is something that I can check before heading into work and see how bad the Jams are heading up into Boston. Traffic.com is a part of NAVTEQ, and they are making investments in traffic capabilities, and have expended their traffic collection streams and their fusion engine to blend and refine for better more accurate data.
Go ahead, check out their Traffic Magnet tool and create your own magnet with a custom size, look and content to suit your needs.
TomTom announced the TomTom PRO 4000 & 8000 today, a couple of re-purposed models that are targeted at the business consumer who may need a little more control over the fleet and a little more capability that a normal GPS might not have. This includes a 2-year warranty, a free map update in the first year, dedicated customer service, a ruggedized sleeve, and a PIN lock to keep sensitive information private.
"We are pleased to offer a product which speaks directly to the needs of our business and enterprise partners" said Tom Murray, vice president of market development, "with the unique features the PRO Series offers, TomTom is helping today's mobile workforces to travel more efficiently and more safely than ever before."
TomTom has launched their HD Traffic module in the Netherlands where they have users sharing their location in a network of GPS units acting as traffic probes; you help me and I help you. The FCC Site is showing the test results for the TomTom HD unit clearing the way for the module to be launched here. Usually by the time these are posted and publicly available, a launch is imminent. My hunch is an announcement soon with shipping for the holidays.
The TomTom HD Traffic Module is a cellular tranceiver that sends and receives traffic information so that you have the most up to date data available. Not only will it get information that is readily available to units with a TMC receiver, but it will also share the peer based information that other users of the TomTom HD system generate. So, if another user is stuck in a traffic jam up ahead, your unit will be aware of the jam and give you better route timing or routing options. This is similar to the Dash Express offering and how it works. Dash indicated that they needed about 2,000 units per metro area to get high quality coverage; I would imagine a similar number would be needed for TomTom also.
The TomTom HD module will be working on the GSM 850 and PCS 1900 bands and will most likely carry a monthly fee.
Garmin is teaming up with uLocate to roll out Peer to Peer tracking with the ability to share your location with friends and see where they are on your GPS. Sounds like a great application for the Nuvifone. The deal here with uLocate is that it will interface with social networking sites like Facebook. Not a new idea, as Garmin has rolled this type of business based service out for tracking your own fleet, and TomTom has had the TomTom Work capability for fleet tracking too. The Buddy Beacon is a nice reapplication of a good idea. Now you just have to get past the privacy concerns.
The Garmin Oregon family of Touchscreen handlheld GPS devices were announced just a few weeks ago, and I have been fortunate enough to be playing before they were available to the public (The Oregon line is expected to ship in the 3rd quarter of 2008). The unit offers the breakthrough of a touchscreen interface on a rugged handheld that can be taken into the woods, rained on and still give you directions to the cabin, the geocache or just back to the car. The Oregon line sits firmly at the top of the Garmin handheld series with a set of features that are pretty strong, and for some units, wireless capabilities to make it possible to communicate between units and accessories (Heart rate monitor for instance). The base model, the Garmin Oregon 200 offers the same touchscreen interface, a smaller amount of memory, and no preloaded maps. The Garmin Oregon 300 adds the wireless features, and electronic compass, a barometric altimeter as well as some more memory onboard. Finally when you get into the Garmin Oregon 400t, 400i, and 400c, you keep the wireless capabilities, but also add either Topo, Inland water ways, or Coastal waterway maps respectively; hence the t/i/c designator.
The Oregon line uses a high sensitivity GPS chipset, has a 3-inch touchscreen and is HotFix capable, which is to say that it can remember where satellites SHOULD be in the future, so start up time (the time it usually spends looking for those same satellites) is minimized. The interface, while touchscreen enabled, is very much a carry-over from the recently released Colorado series (See my review: Garmin Colorado 400t Full Review). I already have a pretty good idea of the functionality from using my Colorado 400t. The Oregon is also an inch shorter than the Colorado due to the antenna sticking out the top of the Colorado.
The big questions in my mind were going to be around visibility of the touchscreen, and the overall usability of the touchscreen interface.
Shipments of Personal Navigation Devices (PND) doubled in the second quarter of the year versus year ago, according to Canalys, an independent research firm. This growth comes despite the tough economy, but probably because prices continue to fall on GPS units at the stores. With the advent of the $150 entry level unit from a top brand name, you can pretty much assume most people interested in a unit will be able to go out and get one.
In the US market for the second quarter, Garmin maintained a 47% market share, while TomTom came in second at 25%, Magellan at 11%, Mio at 4.5% and Navigon at 3.6%. In the remaining "Other" category, Nextar was mentioned as an up and comer. I have hands on reviews on a lot of models from these brands check out the Reviews page.
I know that a lot of people are heading to Europe for the end of the summer and beginning of the Fall; have you heard of Octoberfest? Yea, I thought so.
So, if you are looking to get a GPS with pre-loaded maps of both the US and Europe, one of the ones that is inexpensive right now is the Garmin Nuvi 370. At about $280, it's a pretty good deal for a unit pre-loaded with both sets of maps. The big deal is that the Nuvi 370 has Text to Speech; it says street names, which may be GREAT when you are driving in a strange place.
Don't need text to speech? Try the Nuvi 270 - a very affordable unit that at $219, is a great buy.
The new TomTom ONE 130 and ONE 130S come to the market at a time of intense competition and high expectations for the major GPS makers as they vie to marketshare and the attention of the millions of shoppers who are discovering the wonders of not getting lost and actually getting to where you want to go without stopping, backtracking or imagine that, asking for directions at a gas station. The TomTom ONE 130/130S are the refreshed face of the TomTom ONE line that continues to bring big player GPS features and quality to the market at entry level prices. The units slim down in 2008 with an ultra thin look, and an innovative mount, dubbed the EasyPort. Fold flat profile and a twist to adhere suction mount make the EasyPort different in the GPS world. With the addition of the "S" designator, you get a nice bump with Text to Speech on this unit, something that I continue to advocate for if you can afford it.
The new TomTom ONE XL 330 and ONE XL 330S come to the market at a time of intense competition and high expectations for the major GPS makers as they vie to market share and the attention of the millions of shoppers who are discovering the wonders of not getting lost. When you can afford it, there are some nice bonuses to having a widescreen GPS which include a better overall view of where you are going, easier input of data (i.e. your destination's address), and just pure readability of the whole interface. I'll explore the advantages below. I recommend widescreen GPS units if you can afford it.
The TomTom ONE XL 330/330S are the refreshed face of the TomTom ONE line that continues to bring big player GPS features and quality to the market at entry level prices. The units slim down in 2008 with an ultra thin look, and an innovative mount, dubbed the EasyPort. Fold flat profile and a twist to adhere suction mount make the EasyPort different in the GPS world. So, while a widescreen GPS may take up some more room, you won't be penalized too much considering the thin profile of the unit.
With the addition of the "S" designator, you get a nice bump with Text to Speech on this unit, something that I continue to advocate for if you can afford it.
SiRF may be in hot water as an International Trade Commission judge just ruled that they infringe on patents held by Global Locate, a wholly owned subsidiary of Broadcom. The final ruling is not knwn, and the outcome and remedies, if needed, are not set, but if this goes against SiRF it could mean trouble in the end for them. The products that are apparently infringing on the Global Locate patents include the now very popular SirfStarIII and SiRFInstant GPS chipsets.
According to MarketWatch, "The six patents that SiRF was found to infringe are United States patents 6,417,801; 6,937,187; 6,606,346; 7,158,080; 6,704,651; 6,651,000 -- relating to extended ephemeris assistance (Long Term Orbits), calculating time in GPS receivers, enhancing sensitivity in assisted GPS systems, and implementing hardware structures for parallel correlation. "
Garmin may have hit upon something here with some special colored editions of Nuvi navigators. Sure they can cost more, but after seeing a few of these in person, the colored units are cool, and hey just different enough to stand out in a crowd.
Pink Nuvi 200 - The basic Garmin Nuvi that has Maps of the 48 states, and a dead simple interface.
Red Nuvi 205W & Blue Nuvi 205W - Widescreen upgrades that have an updated interface and maps of the 48 states. The units also boast a faster satellite acquisition time and the ability to navigate to geotagged photos that you have loaded up.
TomTom is continuing their Map Upgrade sale to encourage folks to get on the right pathway to enlightenment, or something like that. THe Maps are updated both through TomTom Mapshare changes and organic changes that TeleAtlas adds; millions monthly.
Maps of the US are only $59, Maps of US+Canada, $79.
Navigon announced today that they are launching the Navigon Fresh, a desktop software that offers a map subscription. Over the course of three years, you can download up to 12 updates to keep your device full of current maps that have been verified by NAVTEQ with millions of updates each month. At $79, the Navigon Fresh Maps service is pretty fair considering each one-time map update from other GPS makers costs about $60 with discounts. Also available in the desktop software, your Navigon can be kept up to date with the latest software version. The company also talk about exclusive content available to Navigon users through the Navigon Fresh software - who knows what that will bring, but we've seen custom POI sets from other makers; maybe an easy and cheap offering here too. One can only imagine.
Garmin is launching a specialized version of the Garmin Zumo - the Road Tech Zumo, a Garmin that is Harley customized; no not with chrome pipes, but with all the Harley Davidson dealerships pre-loaded and a special program to share rides at Harley-Davidson website. The Zumo of course allows riders to not only get from here to there, but also plan, swap and share rides online where the idea isn't to get from point A to B on the fastest route, but maybe the one with the most sweeping curves and vistas available.
Garmin has started several communities centered around their units, and this is a nice outgrowth of the Zumo Connect site where ride sharing is taking off with 1000's of rides uploaded.
It's the middle of the driving season with people driving to save money instead of flying, or even taking the "Stay-cation" to hang close to home. Either way, a GPS can help keep things on track. Here are a few of the stories we hit this month.
It's looking like Back to School time, and some deals are hitting the stores and online.
"New College; New Town - Need a GPS?" is the cry of the marketers; I just see some good deals. Pretty much everywhere has the new line of TomTom's on sale.
Circuit City is our Price Pig this week offering big deals on some GPS units at prices that are a lot higher than online. To be fair, their prices are about the same on TomTom's this week versus online.
Garmin Nuvi 350 - Still $199 this week; very hot prices point for this unit. North American Maps, Text to Speech, and 5+ Million Points of Interest. Want Bluetooth? Get the Nuvi 360 that adds Bluetooth Handsfree, for a few bucks more at - $224
TomTom ONE 3rd ed. - $142 and Free Shipping at Amazon; Entry Level TomTom with Maps of North America, no Text to Speech.
Garmin Nuvi 260 at Amazon - $208 ($249 at Best Buy) Text to Speech, Maps of North America, solid interface. Same quality routing as Nuvi 200, just adds more maps and text to speech.
Nuvi 760 - $370 - New thin design with Text to Speech and Maps of North America. Route Optimization - plug in multiple stops and let the unit optimize the route for fastest planning, adds Bluetooth handsfree and built-in TMC traffic. See My Full Review of the Nuvi 760.
Nuvi 750 - $329, down $25 in the last 3 weeks - New thin design with Text to Speech and Maps of North America. Route Optimization - plug in multiple stops and let the unit optimize the route for fastest planning. Doesn't have the Bluetooth, or the Traffic capability that the 760 has. (Also available at Circuit City for $399 this week!)
Garmin Nuvi 780 - from $449- Down $50 since last week. Has MSN Direct 2, with traffic and gas prices sent to your GPS. See My Full Review of the Nuvi 780 for more information. (Also available at Circuit City for $699 this week!)
Nuvi 650 at Amazon $256. Text to Speech, North American Maps, See My Full Review - Nuvi 660, which is the same model with the addition of the TMC Traffic, which is the main feature not included on the Nuvi 650.
Nuvi 660 at Amazon $299; still best seller at Amazon - Down $30 in recent weeks - Text to Speech, North American Maps, TMC Traffic Capability included. See My Full Review - Nuvi 660
TomTom ONE XL 330 - $202 - Is the new Basic Widescreen for the TomTom line, Maps of North America, new Easy Port fold flat mount, and no text to speech - Move up to the TomTom ONE XL 330S for Text to Speech at $299
TomTom GO 730 - $399 -New IQ Routes, Text to Speech, and more. Maps of North America.
Garmin dropped some good news and some not so good news this week. The Good news was that their earnings are still up despite the poor economy, and lackluster sales on a whole range of things at the stores these days. The bad news is that lowered expectations for the year citing macroeconomic issues.
The big winners were in a few segments:
Auto Revenue - up 24%
Outdoor/Fitness Revenue up 54% on the back of a successful Forerunner 405 and Edge 605/705 launch
North American Revenue up 27%
European Revenue up 19%
From CEO Min Kao:
"Despite the challenging macro economic conditions, Garmin experienced another quarter of growth in 2008 and continues to demonstrate our solid leadership position in the industry. Our strength in the automotive/mobile segment in the face of a slowing economy demonstrated that our products continue to be well-positioned to take advantage of the ongoing demand for portable navigation devices. The latest nüvi 2x5 products delivered during the second quarter provide yet more features for cost-conscious consumers including picture navigation and compatibility with MSN Direct's real time content service. We also delivered the high-end nüvi 800 series in the second quarter which offers industry-leading speech recognition in the personal navigation sector. Our nüvi product offerings continue to support our strategy of extensive market segmentation, drawing in customers with compelling, competitive features, and useful content integrated into easy-to-use products at many attractive price points. We believe this approach will continue to garner growing market share and drive strong results throughout the remainder of 2008. Although we continue to earn industry-leading market share, the sector is not growing as rapidly as earlier anticipated and consumers appear to be more cost-conscious than ever; therefore, we will be lowering our full year revenue growth expectations."
Full Press Release can be found here at the Garmin Site