January 30, 2009

Garmin FR60 Sportwatch with Heart Rate Monitor


Garmin is continuing to invest in the sports and fitness segment with the launch of the Garmin FR60 sportwatch (read: No GPS in there) that ups the ante from the Garmin Forerunner 50 watch that first brought the Garmin name to an entry level sports watch product. Fashioned after the Garmin Forerunner 405, the new FR60 has a sleek body, and is packed with some features that will allow it to compete well in the sports watch category.

Two versions will be offered: The Black FR60 sportwatch will come with a heart rate monitor (HRM), and footpod (The men's version in red and the woman's version in lilac include just the HRM), which offers a wireless connection to monitor the number of paces you have taken in your workout. The HRM is of course wireless too. The beauty of the unit is that the wireless capabilities run over Garmin's proprietary ANT+ system that offers short range low power consumption communication. They are including the ANT+ Stick that is a USB dongle/stick thing that you plug into your computer and when you want, you can wirelessly sync the Garmin FR60.

The Garmin FR60 in Black - with footpod and Heart rate Monitor will list for $199, while the Red or Lilac versions - with the heart rate monitor only will retail for $129. The Garmin FR60 will be available this spring.

Full press release below....

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January 28, 2009

Lowrance Endura Line: Sierra, Safari, and Outback - Touchscreen GPS

Lowrance has officially launched three new handheld GPS units in the Endura Line, the Sierra ($549), Safari ($389), and Outback ($229), that include some hefty features in a handheld unit. The pre-loaded maps come with 48-state road data from NAVTEQ and outdoor trail network mapping from Intermap Accuterra data. The Sierra and Safari can be upgraded for turn by turn road navigation if needed. With their marine background, of course they have Fishing Hot Spots (optional content) and are capable of getting you to the best spots that anyone is talking about.....

The units are IPX7 water resistant and offer the nice combination of a touchscreen and buttons to help get you through the most basic navigation routines. The 2.7-inch screen is a bit under the size of the Garmin Colorado (3-inches), and is said to be high resolution. Runs on 2 AA batteries, and is expected to be available this spring.

Full press release below....

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January 27, 2009

TeleNav Shotgun GPS Gets a Business Focused Upgrade

TeleNav has refined their aim with the TeleNav Shotgun GPS as they continue to focus features on teh business traveler. The latest feature that they have rolled out is automatic mileage capture for expense tracking. It doesn't matter if you are in map mode, or routing to a destination, you can capture the mileage, add notations and import the data to Excel or simply output the data as a PDF.

The other upgrade is the inclusion of business ratings data, which can give you reviews on restaurants, etc. helping to make those decisions of where to eat while on the road, a little bit easier.

Full Press Release below...

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January 20, 2009

TomTom Warns of Lower Earnings


TomTom announced that they are going to come up short on their earnings for the last quarter of 2008, warning that sales were off from expectations, indicating that they are up to a million units short across Europe and North America. If things aren't bad enough, they need to re-assess their TeleAtlas acquisition valuation and potentially write the value of that down too.

All of this unfortunate news comes on the heels of them announcing their TomTom GO 740 LIVE unit at the CES 2009 show, whih hopefully can re-excite the market in the spring when it is launched.

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January 16, 2009

SiRF Found to Infringe on Global Locate Patents - Order Issued to Stop Imports

SiRFhomelogo2.gif SiRF is running into more trouble with the courts over the long running patent infringement battles with Broadcom, the parent of Global Locate. The court upheld a previous ruling that SiRF infringed on Global Locate patents - six in all, and is not barring the importation of products with infringing SiRF products in them. Apparently these orders go into effect 60 days after an administrative review period. That should also be enough time to get SiRF to capitulate and cut a deal with Broadcom to license the patents. GPS Makers have moved away from SiRF, a pioneer in super sensitive chipsets, in recent years as they sought cheaper, more diversified supply opportunities.

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; and 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.

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January 15, 2009

Garmin Legend H and Vista H Handheld GPS

eTrexlegendH.jpgGarmin has announced an upgrade to the monochrome handheld line with the eTrex Legend H and eTrex Vista H. The new units will sport high sensitivity chipsets, which is an absolute must in a GPS these days. No doubt these will take their place as strong contenders in the value end of the Garmin Handheld line. Internal memory only on these; both the Legend H and Vista H at 24MB. Not a lot, but enough for more territory than I can hike or bike in a week.

My experience has shown that high sensitivity receivers offer you the ability to grab a signal and hold it under tree cover, and in tight limited view of the sky situations that you always find yourself in when you need a satellite fix most.

The Legend H will retail for $149 list, while the Vista H adds a barometric altimeter and retails for $199.

Garmin Product Page - eTrex Legend H and eTrex Vista H

Full Press Release After the jump....

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Garmin BaseCamp - Manage your trips, waypoints and more

Garmin announced that they are going to release BaseCamp - a new offering that will allow you to manage your outdoor pursuits on your computer - waypoints, tracks, geo-tagged photos, and more. It's a much needed upgrade and one that was long overdue. MapSource has been a bit of a sore spot for me for almost a decade, and I am excited to see more out of Garmin.

The software will interact well with TOPO maps by offering 24K and 100K maps in 2D and 3D perspectives. BaseCamp is compatible on both PC and Mac computers. Beginning in the first quarter of 2009, the utility will ship with all new TOPO U.S. 24K DVD and TOPO U.S. 100K DVD products. For those who currently own TOPO U.S. 2008, BaseCamp will be available for a free download at www.garmin.com at the end of the first quarter 2009.

"BaseCamp brings a whole new set of features to hikers, hunters, geocachers, and anyone else who wants to maximize their experience with their Garmin GPS," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "This new utility lets users view, organize, and transfer their data more quickly and efficiently - allowing them to make the most of their time exploring the great outdoors."

Full Press Release After the jump.......

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Magellan Updates Triton Software

Just days after the acquisition closed for Mitac to buy Magellan, they have announced an upgrade to the Triton Software to improve accuracy, battery life and usability. Magellan has come under fire by users who were disappointed by their overall Triton experience and maybe this is a way to upgrade and eliminate those shortcomings as they strive to overcome a few sins of the past.

Full Press Release Follows.....

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January 14, 2009

Mitac and Magellan Brands to Co-Exist in US After Takeover

Mitac owns Magellan - it's official, and they have announced that they will keep the Magellan and Mio brands separate in the US market. Clearly with the announcement of the new Mio S platform, Mio isn't messing around with low end stuff only anymore. The statement out of the press release (below) is intriguing:

"Following MiTAC International Corporation's now-final purchase of Magellan Navigation's Consumer Products Division, Mio Technology has announced a shift in strategy. The company will continue to deliver sleek, easy-to-use portable navigation devices, but also accelerate development of a variety of innovative GPS-based lifestyle products that extend the user experience well beyond traditional PNDs."

So, will both brands concentrate on similar automotive GPS units with distinct feature sets? Or will one brand be set-up as the automotive brand while the other will take on this GPS-based lifestyle product owner? It will be hard to offer the same hardware base with the same features and software under two brands - retailers don't want it and consumers will see through it.

Many of these acquisitions set the company up to have one brand a higher tier and one a lower tier. The one segmentation that I could see making sense is to start with a style based segmentation - Magellan - Bold, blocky and rugged, with traditional features, while the Mio is a sleek stylish and slightly upscale model with refined features. We'll see.

Press Releases Follow.....

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GPS Sales Down in Holiday Period

Just a quick one to put some numbers on a page for you. GPS Sales over the holiday period were down 24% in terms of dollar sales, but up 5% on unit sales, according to NPD. Looks like all of those great deals moved the boxes, but failed to move enough to generate the extra cash. For comparison, digital cameras fell 21% in dollar sales, while falling 9% in unit sales as average selling price dropped in that category too. (All sales based on brick and mortar sales figures). Unclear what happened online by category from this report, but overall onlines CE sales went up - my hunch is bargain hunters found great deals there and a similar pattern of stronger unit sales, but much lower growth in dollar sales occurred.


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January 13, 2009

Insight from TomTom US President J. Vigreaux


Jocelyn Vigreaux, the US President of TomTom offered a few interesting positions on TomTom, their new connected device for the US and the general outlook for the GPS market. In a Barron's posting, Vigreax cites the falling prices for raw materials as a key enabler of low prices in the holiday season. We saw the TomTom ONE 125 hit (and stay at) $99 for a long time, offering a great value in a top name brand.

In launching their new TomTom GO 740 LIVE, the company expects to attract high end users while capturing some monthly revenue. The units come with a year's subscription to the cellular connection service, and will cost about $10 a month after that.

In looking ahead, Vigreaux talked about the surge of cellphone navigation and cited that they appear to address different use cases or needs. He and I are aligned on this; phones inherently have or need small screens, while navigators are better suited for larger screens. It may just come down to sacrifices; those with top of the line smart phones want navigation built in and will sacrifices screen size for the rest of the bundled features, while others will take the small phone footprint and adopt a larger navigation unit. Should be interesting to see where this all lands us in the coming years....

Thanks Jim for sending this in.

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January 12, 2009

TomTom GO 740 LIVE - Best of CES

CNet has awarded the Best of CES awards and the TomTom GO 740 LIVE has taken home the honors this year as the best GPS unit in the show. The promise of connected GPS units - allowing much bigger bandwidth and two way communication functionality will let you Google search fo Points of Interest, get better traffic updates, and bring the power of relevant information to your driving; all in the TomTom interface.

More on the TomTom GO 740 LIVE

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January 8, 2009

CES Update - So Far


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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Garmin Approach G5 Golf GPS Video

Garmin has a quick look at the Approach G5 golf GPS, with its touchscreen interface and a few teaser capabilities. The interface looks pretty sharp with the ability to figure out distances to the green and distances to carry the hazards on the hole.

UPDATED: Garmin has introduced "Caddy Confidential" posts to its blog to introduce people to their Approach G5 Golf GPS. The posts will get a lot better as the weather gets better - I am thinking that maybe the caddie needs a little trip to warmer weather to build out those how-to video's and enjoy a little sun.

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TeleNav and Inrix to power Ford Sync In-Dash Systems

Telenav is going to be powering Ford's Sync system with voice activated navigation, traffic feeds from Inrix, hands free calling and music access, audible text messages, and 911 assist. This is interesting as Ford has had a long standing relationship with Garmin for featuring GPS units with vehicles.

Inrix is bringing their "A" game to the party packing a new "alerting Service" allowing you to get personalized traffic alerts delivered to your car - pretty interesting to see how this might interface with the navigation system. I mean really - does Spock and Scottie come bundled in the Sync system too? "But Captain, there's a traffic jam ahead. Use the next exit and hit warp speed."

Telenav & Inrix Press Release Below......

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Mio Announced Mio Moov S300, S500, S556, S700 and a New Interface for US


Mio is re-doing the line of GPS navigators and it sounds like they have a pretty intriguing line-up, definitely upping the ante on the GPS game, as they are running a new interface too, dubbed the "Mio Spirit". The operating system and new interface has been in development for over 2 years, and includes a lot of shortcuts and capabilities to make navigating the device a lot easier. The new Mio units will be powered by TeleAtlas maps. Of note, the Moov S300 starts with 12 Million POI!; and the Moov S700 is a 7-inch display. The four new units are:

  • Mio Moov S300 - features a 3.5 inch display, preloaded with maps of the U.S. and Canada. It has Text-to-Speech voice direction in English, Spanish and French and more than 12 million points of interest.

  • Mio Moov S500 - a 4.7-inch model with all the functionality of the S300.

  • Mio Moov S556 (shown above) - a premium model with a stylish, ultra-flat 4.7-inch display. It includes the aforementioned functionality with the addition of Bluetooth® for hands-free calling and "Junction View," a feature that aids motorists in complex traffic intersections.

  • Mio Moov S700 - has a mammoth 7-inch display and is perfect for RV's and campers. It also includes MAD Maps content for travelers who are looking for preloaded scenic routes and a unique journey. The device includes features such as preloaded maps of the U.S. and Canada, Text-to-Speech in English, Spanish and French, and more than 12 million points of interest.

The line goes along with Mio's strategy of attacking the low and and the high end of the market with a more complete offering. Smart move if they can compete up there with their product line. It will be interesting to see how they handle the Magellan branding on items since their purchase of the company.


Press Releases below......

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Tele Atlas Podcasts on iTunes - Beef up on you Mapping Knowledge

Just in case you didn't think mapping was cool - Tele Atlas has their own Podcast.... They can tell you a little bit more about how data is gathered and how it can be used to get you an optimal route to your destination.

"Tele Atlas, a leading global provider of digital maps and dynamic content for navigation and location based solutions, today added a new episode to the Tele Atlas Digital Mapping Podcast Series, which provides insight into industry trends, discussion of various topics related to digital maps and location based solutions, and timely details about Tele Atlas news.

The newest episode of the podcast of the series titled, "An Expert's Perspective on Digital Mapping Trends," will feature Dominique Bonte, Research Director at ABI Research, to discuss current digital mapping trends and offers an outlook for 2009. Margot Delogne, vice president of global communications with Tele Atlas, hosts this exclusive podcast, as well as the regularly scheduled discussions with various Tele Atlas executives and industry experts.

"Digital mapping now encompasses more than roads and road attributes to support applications for navigation and pedestrian location services, including more geographical content, visual enhancements and photographic content and most notably, dynamic content, which is becoming a major and vital enhancement," said Bonte. "The digital mapping industry has also evolved to engage the community of users, and this will be a key component to maintaining up-to-date maps with increasing richness and freshness.""

at iTunes

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Sony to Launch Camcorders with Built In GPS/Maps

Sony is launching what I think is the first camcorder with a built in GPS chip and mapset (NAVTEQ) - no it isn't supposed to navigate you to the photoshoot! The full line of camcorders (Sony HDR-XR520V, HDR-XR500V, HDR-XR200V) offer full HD vieo and a 12-megapixel still shot capability for the HDR-XR520V and XR550V, with a 4 MP capability on the XR200V.

Major differences:

  • HDR-XR520V - 12 MP still shot, with a 240 GB hard drive; list $1,500
  • HDR-XR500V - 12 MP Still shot with a 120 GB hard drive; list $1,300
  • HDR-XR200V - 4 MP Still shot with a 120GB hard drive; list $1,000

Photos can obviously be geotagged, and you can browse through the map for finding locaitons of those shots. Expect these to hit the market in late Q1 2009.

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Navigon Software and Mapping Content Upgrades


Navigon is going to let you pimp out your existing Navigon ride with some software extras that are designed to extend your current units so that they grow with you and help you out when you get in a pinch. The new software (which you need to pay for) includes:

  • Red Light Camera Locations - yes they are in the US, and you may just get a picture in the mail wit your car going through a red light and a nice citation. This comes as a subscription.

  • Euro Maps - expand your US Navigon to handle Europe for that big trip you have planned.

  • North American Expansion Pack - Only have the US Maps? Get Canada too.

  • 3-D Buildings - cool to drive by and now your GPS can feature over 600 rendered buildings (seems kindof low, eh?)

  • Expanded POI - Missing businesses, or whole strip malls; the expanded POI set should help to get more detail and fresher content on your unit.

It seems like Navigon is taking the approach that they realize that people are hurting and don't want to go and buy a whole new GPS; thus the minor software upgrade. Yea, the things cost money, but I guess they need to make a buck too.

All available for various prices; timing this spring.

Full Press Release after the jump.......

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TomTom GO 740 Live Connected GPS Headed for US in Q2


The TomTom GO 740 Live connected GPS is headed for the US. Gizmodo has some pics of it up from CES, as it is already launched in the UK, with some favorable first impressions from over there. The unit has cellular connections that feed data (traffic, search, weather, etc) to the unit in a high bandwidth way, giving much more resolution on what's happening. The unit can also search, Google style, for local businesses.

Should be a good look at what connected GPS can do. Can't wait.

Press Release after the jump....

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January 7, 2009

TomTom In Dash Navigation - Eclipse AVN4430

TomTom's technology is looking pretty sweet in the new Eclipse AVN4430 in-dash multimedia playback and navigation center. The unit features all kinds of media playback,
as a CD/DVD player, iPod Audio, iPod Video, and on and on.... Oh, yea and of course the 4.3-inch touchscreen is great for navigation too. Features the latest TomTom interface, and of course Text to Speech.

Full Press Release Below....

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Navigon teams with Rand McNally for City Guide and Trip Content

Navigon announced that they are teaming up with Rand McNally to deliver City Guide content and scenic route content to their GPS units. With over 1500 landmarks and 250 routes the content is pretty vast, coming from a pretty respected name in map making. The Rand McNally Scenic Routes and Rand McNally City Guides will be available in select NAVIGON devices and online at navigon.com in spring 2009 and retail for $19.99 each.

Full Press Release after the jump...

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Dual XNAV43HD - with HD Radio Traffic Receiver

Dual announced a new GPS Navigation unit that is a first of its kind - the first GPS in the US to offer Traffic by HD radio signal. This was demoed at CES two years ago and is now making its debut on US soil - excellent. "So what?" you ask? Yea, the higher bandwidth of HD can deliver a lot more information through to the unit, so you should get faster updates, and hopefully more detailed information. The old TMC channel can only handle so much, so updates are as frequent and the detail and resolution on the roads just isn't there.

THe Dual XNAV43HD is planned to be around $279 and available this spring. It ships with a 4.3-inch screen, text to speech and let's hope it delivers what is possible out there. The data of course will come from Inrix, and covers hundreds of thousands of miles of roads out there.

Good stuff; who's next with the HD capability?

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Garmin Nuvi 885 and 885T - Enhanced MSN Features - Flight Status and Doppler Radar

Garmin announced the Garmin Nuvi 885/885T today, a top of the line voice recognition capable, MSN driven unit that now includes Flight Status updates from the MSN expanded capability. On top of that, you will now see Doppler radar weather on the unit which can give you a nice complement to the weather feature. Yes, lane assist and junction view are there for help through tough intersections and it's loaded with all kinds of POI and more. This is a good line expansion for the already successful Nuvi 850. Can't wait to try it out.

The nüvi 855 has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $699.99 and the nüvi 885T has an MSRP of $799.99. Both are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2009.

Also - See the garmin Product Page for the Nuvi 885T for specs and more.

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Garmin Zumo 660 Motorcycle GPS

Garmin announced a new Zumo today, the Zumo 660, a widescreen water resistant unit that can be operated with gloves on. Not only can it give you the fastest route, but you can pre-plan your rides offline and then take the scenic route to enjoy the ride instead of rushing to get there. The unit will have Lane Assist and Junction View which gives you a better understanding of what upcoming turns look like. The Bluetooth capability will mean that you can run Bluetooth headsets to hear your turn by turn directions and run it as a handsfree set for phone calls too. Not bad.

Full Press Release After the jump....

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Garmin Approach GPS Golf Companion


Garmin is announcing the Approach G5 - a Golf handheld companion that should give you an edge on folks who are still guessing on the distance to the pin. The Approach is based on the Garmin Oregon line - the touchscreen handhelds, and packs a customized interface giving you access to pre-loaded configurations. The Approach will recommend clubs to carry hazards and hit the fairway or green. Not bad; can't tell you how many times I have been a club short and dropped the ball right in the drink or sand. Skip the scorecard too, unless you have to sign it, because the Approach G5 GPS will keep score for your foursome.

Full Press Release after the jump......

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Garmin Announces ecoRoute - More Efficient Driving with a GPS

Garmin is extending the helping hand with a little technology teaser by using GPS capabilities to help you drive the most economical route using your vehicle type to minimize stop and go driving so you get there using the least amount of gas. The deal is that you get to download this technology and your GPS now offers you not only Fastest, Shortest, but a new route option to get the most economical route. The GPS also takes your vehicle type and figures out the best route.

Hey even if gas is back under $2 a gallon, it's a great way to go. Should be available for download later this month.


Update: The Nuvi 2x5 series has the ability to use the Garmin ecoRoute program that helps you drive more efficiently. It's not nirvana, but it can help those interested in being a little more gas conscious. See my post "Got ecoRoute? Playing with ecoRoute on the Nuvi 255W."

Full Press Release after the jump....

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Garmin NuMaps - Lifetime Map Updates for GPS

Garmin announced that they are launching a lifetime map subscription program for their GPS units, offering an update quarterly. Updates will be available via download. They aren't the first to jump on this type of an offering, but it's a welcome launch. I know that a lot of people who live in areas with a lot of change, need frequent updates to keep up with the changing landscape or roads, developments and businesses. Map makers like NAVTEQ get millions of changes a month, so the quarterly updates will certainly make for meaningful changes in whole.

"Having the most current and up-to-date maps help our customers get the most out of their satellite navigation device. With nüMaps Lifetime, access to the latest maps is just a few mouse clicks away," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "For just one single fee, our customers can be certain they're be traveling with the most current maps."

NüMaps Lifetime is available in three different versions:

  • City Navigator® North America NT ($119.99)
  • City Navigator Europe NT ($139.99)
  • City Navigator Transatlantic ($149.99)

NuMaps Lifetime will be available later this month. If you only want a one-time upgrade, you can still do that with prices starting at $69.

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Goodyear Shows off their new GPS for Trucks - GY500X

Goodyear, yes, Goodyear is showing off a model of GPS that is targeted at the transportation industry, namely trucks, with features and most importantly maps that detail for trucks. The unit software, "ProNav" featuring NAVTEQ Transport, was designed specifically with the trucking industry in mind. It provides dynamic routing and navigation capabilities, using driver-set parameters such as:

  • Vehicle dimensions (e.g. height, weight, length, width)

  • Legal restrictions (e.g. no commercial vehicles allowed, multiple HazMat restriction levels)

  • Other warning data (e.g. cross winds, steep incline, etc.)

    The unit's software if built by NCC a UK based software company, and from the press release, it sounds like they did their homework, allowing one unit to be used in multiple trucks, with the ability to use external antennas for a wide array of mounting options and settings that allow easy changes to the truck's dimensions which help determine its routing.

    I have had a lot of people ask about GPS units for CDL truck drivers, and this seems to fit the need.

    Full Press Release after the jump.....

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  • January 6, 2009

    Nextar Q4-LT - New GPS from the newest Major on the Block

    Nextar announced the Q4-LT a widescreen unit that offers free lifetime traffic from NAVTEQ. The free traffic will be supported by small ads that will display on the screen - when? not sure. Garmin does it with small ads that are displayed only after you are stopped for more than 10 seconds. I think that it's a great deal, but others think that it's just wrong. You'll have to decide for yourself.

    At the same time they announced that for the month of November, Nextar was the #3 brand in the US. "Nextar's units sold in the U.S. rose an astonishing 473% during the month of November compared to October according to The NPD Group's retail tracking service. Nextar's sales have been steadily increasing, taking them from sixth in September 2008 to fourth in October 2008 (63% increase in units sold over September) and now third in November 2008 (473% increase in units sold over October) in the mobile navigation category."

    Full press release on the Nextar Q4-LT after the jump....

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    Garmin on New "24" Season - Win a Garmin Nuvi 850


    Hurry up and cruise over to Garmin to sign up to win a Garmin Nuvi 850
    , the voice activated Nuvi that will probably help save the free world in the new season of 24 on Fox Network. Series starts this Sunday.

    If you are a fan of the show - download an Icon to your Garmin at the Garmin Garage.

    Sign up for your chance to win a Nuvi 850 at Garmin

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    Cobra New Line of GPS Enhanced AURA Radar Detectors

    Cobra announced a new line of 12 radar detectors, 6 of which include AURA (Advanced Universal Road Alert) database data that when combined with the GPS capabilities of the unit, can warn you when approaching a known issue - think speed trap or red light camera. The USB insert allows you to download known locations of trouble and plug those into the receiver. The units come with a lifetime subscription and entire line ranges in price from $69 to $470. Available this spring.

    Full Press Release after the jump.....

    ArrowContinue reading: "Cobra New Line of GPS Enhanced AURA Radar Detectors"

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    GPS Industry - What's Next?

    On the eve of CES 2009, I can't help but ponder what's next for the GPS industry given the dire situation in the economy and the confluence of technologies and products that are running smack into the tightly closed wallets in American's pockets.

    Where are we at?

    • Dominant Players Keep Challengers at Bay - Over the last year, TomTom and Garmin drained the pond and ran for the low end launching and maintaining their presence with value models, all but removing the need for second and third tier brands whose sole offering was price beater. When you could save $80 on a unit by switching brands to "Fly by Night GPS Model A", it's meaningful, but when it's $20, why not go with the trusted name. It will be interesting to see if TeleNav can launch into a targeted market with a higher end innovation of the connected GPS in all of this. It goes against the grain of cheapie units entering from the bottom of the market; they are also experienced in software design from their mobile phone based navigation capabilities. Their interface needs to be good, and the market willing, in order to make any money.
    • People are thinking about skipping that GPS purchase - in a Wall St Journal article yesterday (p.B3) they reported that 62% of participants in a survey were less likely to buy a GPS given the state of the economy. The survey was conducted in November, potentially spelling out the poor holiday season that we just went through.
    • Black Friday Every Day - TomTom planned to bring the price of their ONE 125 unit back up to $129 after Black Friday, but it's now $99 almost everyday online. Either they are doing really well and not moving much else, or there's a lot of inventory to move. TWICE indicates that in their conversations, inventories at key retailers are high. Black Friday quality deals are all over the place as retailers are trimming inventories and the buyers are the victors. Go with quality, and you'll make out.

    Where is this all going?

    • Consolidation - we have already seen Magellan get bought up by Mitac, Mio's parent company, and I would expect that only the strong will survive this recession and technology shake-out. While the in-category consolidation takes place, don't rule out a broader consolidation; think mobile phones, maps, location based services, and GPS units all being run out of the same shop.
    • Streamline the Line - As we eek towards decent connected offerings, we will see the GPS category morph into a few general offerings. If you don't have these you're not a complete player.
      1. Low End Value - grab the Point of Market Entry consumers, keep the cheapie rivals out of the cookie jar.
      2. Mid-Point with move-up features - nicer benefits, higher quality user experience, and more profits available per model.
      3. High End Connected Wannabe - Should be fully connected, but isn't and should have a limited appeal. Offers services that are better when there's more bandwidth; think traffic here.
      4. Over the Top Connected Lifestyle - Gooped up with loads of features, and really where the fun is at. Takes effort and skill to make this work.... oh yea, and willing buyers that we haven't seen enough of yet.
    • Connected GPS Services - yes, they will come, the consumer need is there and the benefits can be great. Dash flew a little too close to the sun and it didn't work out in the first iteration for them, but they had a grand vision of networked traffic, customized search capabilities, and local content. The issue here is in solving the monthly fee concern, and the visualization of the benefits, and the interface that can support the benefits clearly, etc. Can consumers swallow another monthly fee for their device, especially in a recession? The answer might be in taking an "add-on" like a personal navigation device, and turn it into a "must-have", like a mobile phone - something like the Nuvifone. An issue to solve here is that phones need to be relatively small, but we want large GPS screens....
    • GPS/LBS Everywhere - There's a benefit to having location awareness, and it's coming to a device near you. We are already jogging with you, biking with you, in cameras, in Radar Detectors, phones, in computers, in cars, in nativity scenes, and just about anything you can hook a data logger to. When things are location aware, ads can be sold for location sensitive businesses; think the coffee shop, or the local restaurant, and this money can help drive the whole business cycle, and potentially subsidize you costs.

    For now, we'll see what turns up at CES, and monitor the deals and bargains for you. Stay tuned, it's always an interesting ride.

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    January 5, 2009

    Nextar M3-MX1 GPS for Select Latin American Markets


    Nextar is launching a new model (M3-MX1) directed at the Latin American market. They will be taking a standard screen (3.5-inch) model with what appears to be an iGo interface from NavNGo. The units will be available in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil this Spring. Pricing is $249 street price, but I would expect a lower effective price when it hits the market.

    Clearly as several factors come together, GPS in developing countries will become attractive; lower overall prices become more affordable, saturation in major N. American and Euro markets, and declining revenue pushing makers to look elsewhere for sales.

    Full press release after the jump.....

    ArrowContinue reading: "Nextar M3-MX1 GPS for Select Latin American Markets"

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    January 4, 2009

    Garmin Nuvifone - More Details


    Garmin's media mini-site for the Garmin Nuvifone continues to surface some details about the forthcoming phone that will give the world Garmin's spin on mobile phone all-in oneness with a proper navigation system built-in. no connected unit worth it's weight in dirt can function without a solid POI search capability, and Google is looking like the way to go for Garmin from the picture above. The unit will of course come with navigation but also bluetooth, a camera, functionality for geotagging those pictures, a web browser, and those items that make it a smart phone - email and address book.

    Scheduled to release later this year, we are hoping for some good things out of Garmin's connected GPS release.


    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

    January 3, 2009

    GPS Lodge: Monthly Round Up for December 2008

    Happy New Year from GPS Lodge - just reviewing the last month of the year, where we saw a lot of crazy (great) prices for GPS units in the holiday shopping season, and hopefully they will continue. Of course if you are looking for a GPS still a good place to start is either in my Holiday shopping Guide, or my GPS Review section - plenty of reviews of leading devices there.

    GPS Reviews

    Garmin GPS News

    TomTom GPS News

    Magellan/Mio GPS News

    GPS News

    Fitness GPS

    Mobile Phone GPS

    Traffic News

    Scott Martin Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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