December 30, 2008
Mio has launched the Miobuzz right ahead of CES 2009, the GPS blog that will enlighten us to the ways of the Mio. It promises to be another outlet for all things Mio, giving us inside information along with a little marketing mixed in. Garmin and TomTom have these and they seem to be good sources of information about map sales, tips on GPS use, and information on little-known features or capabilities. The Miobuzz blog appears to be a little irreverent with its design and avatar look and feel. Should be fun to see it develop.
December 29, 2008
Jake from Garmin has the bead on getting your new Forerunner 405 to help you with your new year resolutions and goals. Goals are an apparently easy way to lay out some milestones and measure your way to getting there.
Don't have a Forerunner 405? Check the GARMIN Forerunner 405 GPS Sports Watch at Amazon
or at Garmin's website.
December 27, 2008
A lot of readers are writing in about the deals on the Insignia Connected GPS units at Best Buy - the Insignia CNV-10 a standard screen for $99, and the Insignia CNV-20 widescreen for $149. They come with a year's mobile connected subscription which will cost $99 a year after that.
Why all the hype? These units are internet connected GPS units that offer the promise of interesting capabilities: google search for businesses, traffic, and gas prices. When I reviewed the unit in November, the CNV-10 was $399, and for that money, it was an easy call: stay away, buy something else. Read My Full Review for more information.
A few of my findings:
- Routing was decent, the unit uses NAVTEQ Maps
- Google Search missed some basic businesses in my town
- Traffic capabilities were a bust; I sat in bumper to bumper traffic and the Insignia thought I was on clear roads.
- Traffic results - if it did see problems didn't seem to influence the estimated time of arrival.
- The interface was clunky - very much second rate to TomTom and Garmin
At $99 or $149, are they a better buy? - Maybe.
High Expectations - Walk Away
If your expectations are that you get a connected GPS that works flawlessly and you require accurate traffic for a daily commute - still not a good choice. The traffic capability is not good enough.
Lower Expectations - Might be a great deal
If you are OK with a second rate interface and want occasional connected benefits, you may choose to grab this - I think it will work for you. You need to be aware of the shortcomings, and the potential for BestBuy to discontinue selling and ultimately supporting the unit.
I do have faith that some of the issues I saw can be remedied with a software upgrade, which makes me hopeful that the unit can be salvaged.
If you are interested in a capable connected GPS, consider the TeleNav Shotgun. I have been using it and will post a review in January.
Interested in "regular" GPS units - Check out the reviews of units I have used, or my Holiday Buying Guide for a good place to start.
December 19, 2008
There are a few days left to buy that GPS that you wanted to get. There are deals all over the place on inventory that people hadn't planned to have this late in the game.
Amazon ran the TomTom ONE 125 at $89 the other day - a total blow out deal; now the TomTom ONE 125 is running at about $99.
We expect to see more, but the days are numbered. Only three days left to order at Amazon if you select 2 day shipping.
If you are unsure of what to look for start at my Holiday Buying Guide for 2008 - recommendations, GPS reviews and information on a wide range of products.
December 19, 2008
Altel wireless is releasing a new application that allows you to download maps of areas, and utilize your GPS enabled cell phone to plan hikes, plan waypoints, and routes through the outdoors. Pitched as a way to skip the handheld GPS purchase and head straight outdoors it will allow you to do all that you want without issue. The cost is $1.99 a day, $5.99 a month or $39 a year. Not bad compared to your average $150 handheld, but we're skeptical about performance. One thing I do know is that I am pretty grateful for the waterproof nature of my handheld when I get caught in the rain, something my mobile won't do for me. On balance though, I think that the Alltel system will do well with the folks who rely on their mobile for everything; I certainly don't, well at least yet.
Full Press Release Below......
Continue reading: "Alltel - New Application makes Mobile Phones into Handheld GPS"
December 18, 2008
With the FireEagle add-on, you can now share your location with others while you navigate around with your TomTom GPS. To really have the cool "I see you" effect, you need to have your TomTom connected via a data plan'd phone. not many folks in the US have that, but it's an encouraging little add-on to play with. Easy to see that you might want to share with family or friends. The real magic is had when you can operate with a connected TomTom, but there is an offline mode too if you want to collect data and then "sync" with the web.
You can display your location on iGoogle pages, and yes, you can start and stop the data collection so no one will see you stopping by that donut shop for a coffee and donut in the middle of the morning.
More at FireEagle
Thanks Jim for sending this in
December 17, 2008
After Black Friday, the price on the TomTom ONE 125 has steadily climbed above the $99 price that we saw just after Thanksgiving..... until today. Amazon's Deal of the Day is the TomTom ONE 125 for $89.
You can see my Full Review of the TomTom ONE 125 for more information, but quickly, it is a standard 3.5-inch screen GPS with maps of the US, has verbal turn cues (Turn Right in 400 Yards), but not text to speech.
These deals can sell out at Amazon; the last one featuring a GPS did.
At Amazon's Deal of the Day - The TomTom ONE 125
TomTom announced that their MapShare program has grown to 5 million users which is a huge growth in a short amount of time. The system allows users to update their maps on their units and share those changes out to others in the system, networking to fix mapping mistakes. Once checked by experts back at the TomTom headquarters, the changes are pumped out so that they FIX mistakes and not propagate others!
Full Press Release Below......
Continue reading: "TomTom MapShare Hits 5Mil Users"
December 16, 2008
Navigon is running a sale at their website - 25% off everything there. Use the NAVIGON9 code at checkout.
Check out the Full Review of the Navigon 2100T
Come on who doesn't like to trick out their GPS Ride a bit? Custom voices, new icons for your gps, why not? Well Garmin is running out a bunch of icons for your Garmin units, including the one above in a 12 day straight onslaught of fun creative holiday icons. They have a lot of key holidays covered, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and who knows, maybe they'll get around to Arbor day too, but I am not holding my breath.
The first day of their icon-palooza they released the Tiny Van from their fun Christmas TV ads. Love those.
Downloading and installing the icons are easy.
ReadMore on the 12 Days of Christmas at Garmin Blog, or go straight to the Garmin Garage to get your icons now.
December 15, 2008
Mio's parent company is collecting brands like skipping trading cards, and added the Magellan brand of GPS receivers to its pack of brands today. They already have the Mio brand, and the Navman brand, both a bit tarnished in the US market, but firmly a top player globally. This adds yet another chapter to the Magellan brand that once stood at nearly half the US market, an innovator that lost its way somewhere. Owned by Thales, and sold to Shah Capital group in 2006 for $170Mil. They have fought hard to maintain their #3 spot in the US, after the onslaught of Mitac's own brand Mio a few years ago when Mio exploded onto the US market only to lose their way too.
Mitac bought Navman almost two years ago, where they subsequently brought over the user interface and for their newest generation of Moov units.
So, what's next? Magellan has a relatively well known brand name in the US, but their units have been wanting for high quality execution lately - great features, troubling implementation. If nothing else, Mitac just bought extra sales and extra cash flow, bringing the volume and profit margins onto one balance sheet. My sense is that they will need to update the interface, and build unique looking Magellan units built around a core platform across all brands. Also, with Mio's expertise in mobile handsets, expect some connected Magella-Mio connected unit out as soon as they can lock down an interface.
Navigon just recently launched the Navigon 2200T, an entry level unit with some pretty un-entry level set of features, like lifetime traffic, text to speech and lane assist, a way to see which lane to be in as you navigate through those complex intersections. Navigon has been on the market elsewhere for a while, but really made their mark about a year ago in the US, where they rocketed onto the market with their Navigon 2100, an earlier entry level model.
The 2200T at its base is a standard screen 3.5-inch unit that offers real time traffic through a TMC traffic receiver that has its antenna built right into unit - something that makes the unit a lot easier to deal with instead of an extra cord dangling from the unit. The unit offers some advanced guidance capabilities like Lane Assist that shows you where to go in a small schematic on what lane you need to be in coming up to an intersection. If that's not enough, you get reality view, a 3-D view, a way to see how you should drive; just like you were flying through the intersection before you drive it. Text to Speech rounds out this list of features before we go and try this unit out.
Continue reading: "Navigon 2200T Full Review"
December 14, 2008
With the Nuvifone showing up on the FCC Website, the launch can't be far behind. Can you say "CES Announcement"? Maybe, Maybe not, but it seems like a great place to announce it. the Nuvifone will be Garmin's connected GPS launch, going for a piece of the web connected PDA phone market.
AUSTek appears to be making the phone, and Garmin the brand from the FCC Docs.
One has to imagine that while Garmin is launching this newly connected platform on the Nuvifone, with its integration of advanced connected traffic capabilities, and new search functionality, that the connected platform isn't going to end there. My hope would be that they also launch the non-phone Nuvi version too. We'll see.
December 12, 2008
In a quick Q&A, GPS Business News had Tom Murray, VP Marketing USA for TomTom, review the GPS performance on Black Friday where he indicated that TomTom's results were a little softer than hoped for, with shares in the mid-30% range. They must have had high expectations as the TomTom ONE 125 was everywhere that I looked, and at $99, there was a lot of buzz.
They also talked about the fact that the Big Three, no not the auto makers, TomTom, Garmin and Magellan, made up 95% of the Black Friday sales. Not surprising considering the brand recognition and the deals that were in every major store.
A couple of years ago, Mio made a splash with a low priced, high value unit, and woke the big guys up with it. I think that the Big Three realized the opportunity and have since made a more concerted effort to grab the entry level consumer.
December 11, 2008
I am sure you've heard of the Baby Jesus that gets stolen out of nativity scenes at Christmas time. It's a fairly common prank, and according to this AP article, there can be Italian made figurines that cost in the thousands of dollars,so it's grand larceny and a pretty big deal if you get caught.
A company in NY figured out that their GPS tracking solution can help, and are offering it to churches and synagogues for their holiday display tracking too. Not bad, if you can track a car, you should be able to track a figurine too.
December 6, 2008
The more the GPS market matures, the bigger the market gets and the more deals become an everyday part of life; I love it. I was sitting back looking at the list of hot selling units on Amazon's Top 25 list, and was amazed at the opportunities out there.
OK With Refurbished Units?
Some people aren't OK with refurbished units, others think "Sweet Deal". If you are the latter, the big huge GPS market is generating more and more refubs for sale, and the prices are insane.
- TomTom ONE 3rd Ed - $89 - Entry level device with Maps of North America. Solid Navigation for under $90 with Free Shipping.
- TomTom GO 720 - $159 - Widescreen, Text to Speech, Maps of North America, and Bluetooth handsfree capabilities. Plus has the fun record your own voice for turn prompts feature. Loads of capability priced at cheap entry level pricing.
- Magellan Maestro 4250 - $119 - Widescreen, Text to Speech, AAA database - lots of features at an unbelievable price. I rate the Magellans down a bit on their interface vs. the TomTom and Garmins, but if you can deal with it; that's a great price.
Other Great Deals
Don't Want a Refurb, but still want a great deal? Here are a few.
- Garmin Nuvi 760 - $249 - Widescreen, advanced routing, Bluetooth Handsfree, and recently dropped from over $300, this is the best deal going these days on a major maker GPS. Sure it's a generation older than the latest units, but there's a lot of capability there, and they still ship with the latest maps.
- Garmin Nuvi 270 - $129 - Standard screen, no text to speech would say it's an entry level device, but it comes with Maps of North America and Western Europe. If you are heading to europe and wanted to add those maps to another unit, they would cost $149!!!!!.... amazing deal here.
- Mio C320 - $99 - Widescreen navigator with text to speech, it's another amazing deal. The interface is a bit harder to master than the tomTom or Garmin; includes a lot of features. Check out my review before buying.
Check out my Holiday Buying Guide for more GPS Ideas
December 5, 2008
Wired Magazine has piked their Top 10 Gadgets for 2008 and coming in at #8 is the Garmin Edge 705 bike computer/GPS/magical data thingie.
When I reviewed the Edge 705 I had to agree with them that it can crank out data like a banshie and armed with that a data-junkie's bike riding life could get a whole lot better. On top of the obvious bike stuff (speed, distance, etc), it can also be paired with a wireless power meter to pull in that data and allow you to chart it up versus your heart rate, the elevation of a hill, your cadence, speed, and on and on.
Since it's a GPS, it can also help you get "lost" in your ride while always knowing where you are and how to get home. I recommend getting the additional map card so that you have detailed back road maps for those long rolling bike rides through low-trafficked streets.
At Amazon - the Garmin Edge 705 with Cadence and Heart Rate Monitor or Garmin Edge 705 with Cadence and Heart Rate Monitor with Map Card
So Wired Magazine has a bag of schwag available to win this year, and they claim that the contents are their must have items for hitting the road. One of those must have items is a TomTom GO 930 GPS, a pretty smart little GPS that has maps of North America and Europe, while offering Bluetooth Handsfree technology along the way.
The cool thing is that you can win the Bag of Gear from Wired if you qualify and sign up. Give away is open now for registration, closes 2/2/09 and has a retail value of about $8500. Not bad.
More at Wired on the gadgets, or simply sign up to win.
December 4, 2008
We rely on TomTom to get us around while driving around on the road, why not while we are planning routes while sitting at the computer? Millions of people a day check how to go from here to there, so why not "TomTom" it instead of "MapQuest" it? TomTom hopes that you'll think this way as they are in a beta test of an online route planner.
The online route planner is going to include traffic feeds and take that into account when planning out routes, which will already put it ahead of some other online route planning services. The other play here has to be that this would be a complementary service to their HD connected service, allowing you to send route and location results to your connected GPS.
Go check it out and see if you are cleared for the Beta test group - it may be closed to certain geographies, etc.
At TomTom Route Planner
December 3, 2008
I recently got a chance to check out some ToughSkin cases, by Speck, for the Nuvi 200 series and 200W series units. The cases are made out of silicone and have a ruggedized look and feel to help smooth out the bumps of traveling along with your Nuvi. While this is a case that wraps the Nuvi, it allows you to access all of the key controls, ports and speaker while still allowing you to utilize the Garmin mount that is supplied with the unit. That's big, because I have seen my fair share of skins for iPods that rely on crappy belt holder of connectors - not this case.
The black case for the Nuvi 200W series (Widescreen) was great (used here on the Nuvi 255W)- and added a degree of security for the unit that I was happy with. The Toughskin clip that snaps into the garmin factory mount was secure and sound. All of the ports were visible and offered easy access to the critical power supply. The ToughSkin comes with a hard plastic backer that has a hole for the power and speaker. It's main function is to grab onto the Nuvi, while offering a place for the factory mount to grab onto your newly protected Nuvi.
The case is not a sticky silicone, but more slick allowing it to easily slid into a briefcase, luggage or glove purse. The ToughSkin comes with a screen protector also that you adhere to the screen offering an extra degree of scratch protection.
I can very much recommend the ToughSkin for the Nuvi 200W series. I thought it was great. This ToughSkin Case will fit the Nuvi 200W, 205W, 250W, 255W, 260W.
I will say that I also tried out the ToughSkin for the Nuvi 200 series on the Nuvi 205, and found that the hole for the power port didn't line up properly, so that you can't get the mini-USB to fully plug into the unit, keeping you on battery power while the unit is in the hard plastic mount adapter that comes with the ToughSkin.
Available at Amazon - ToughSkin Case for Nuvi 200 Series
or directly from the Speck website
Looks like Radio Shack needs to move some inventory. These Mio units were part of the Black Friday race for GPS sales, and are again in the news. The deals are only good today.
Save $110 on The Mio Moov 500 PLUS Get a $29.99 Case for $9.99 and Get Free Shipping - 12.3.08 ONLY! - The Mio Moov 500 is a very widescreen (4.7-inch) unit with an extra large real estate for easier viewing. Mio price of $139.
Save $80 on The Mio Moov 300 PLUS Get a $19.99 Case for $9.99 and Get Free Shipping - 12.3.08 ONLY! - The Mio Moov 300 is a standard widescreen with text to speech capabilities. Mio Price of $119
For more information on the new Mio's see my Full Review of the Mio 300.
December 2, 2008
Inrix is stepping up their game and partnering with Networks in Motion the white label provider of navigation and now traffic by Inrix to millions of subscribers to mobile phone users. The service is well known as VZ Navigator from Verizon, as well as others in a long client list, including, AAA Mobile® on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint,
Networks in Motion cites traffic as the most asked for feature, and Inrix is now providing that to these users who can check the routes and traffic impacts from just about anywhere.
Inrix has hundreds of thousands of GPS probes out there giving them a read on traffic conditions on nearly a million miles of roads. One has to wonder if in providing the traffic service to NIM, Inrix might have reciprocal access to the millions of users of the service giving Inrix a more powerful service. I don't have any confirmation; just wondering.
Full Press Release after the jump.....
Continue reading: "Inrix Steps Up Their Game - Partners with Networks in Motion"
Amazon's Gold Box deal of the day today is the TomTom ONE XL for $99. This is from the last generation of TomTom navigators, but comes with fresh maps and is a trustworthy navigation system. The TomTom ONE XL has maps of North America, and is a widescreen unit, but does not have text to speech. Recently selling for about $140+, is $99 today.
At Amazon - TomTom ONE XL - $99 Gold Box Deal