June 29, 2009
The next time there's a Homeland Security drill, they will be avoiding heavy traffic and traffic incidents using the Inrix data and capabilities to help speed the response. The data will be used by GeoDecisions' IRRIS portal to help the military and Homeland security with accurate traffic flow and incident reporting.
"With the ability to access INRIX's comprehensive yet precise traffic information, customers using GeoDecisions' IRRIS portal will be better able to anticipate traffic congestion and hazardous road conditions and plan or adapt their routes accordingly," said Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO. "Together with GeoDecisions we are helping the U.S. military and Homeland Security optimize their logistical operations to ensure they have the safest and most efficient means available for transportation routing."
This comes on the heels of Inrix being selected to provide data to TomTom as part of their LIVE capabilities in the US.
Full Press Release below.....
Continue reading: "Inrix to Report Traffic for Homeland Security"
June 28, 2009
Add another contender to the ring on the iPhone navigation battle - iGo form Nav N Go is going to be hitting the iPhone soon with an adaptation of their familiar operating system. No news on availability and price, but I would expect a Euro release and then a US release later this year.
June 26, 2009
Garmin has introduced the Garmin Dakota 10 and Dakota 20 handheld GPS units that are going to take up the place in the line as the smaller siblings to the Garmin Oregon. The smaller, touchscreen units still boast a well appointed feature list. While the unit is smaller that the eTrex, with the screen size stretching across almost the entire front of the unit, the screen is actually a bit larger than the Garmin eTrex series, coming in at 2.6" diagonally. The new operating system offers paperless geocaching, and comes pre-loaded with a world basemap, offering the easy ability to add Garmin City Navigator NT street maps, Blue Chart g2 marine charts, and TOPO U.S. 24K and 100K that will load into the 850 MB of onboard memory.
- Dakota 10 - Offers 850 MB of memory, world base map, touchscreen interface, 20 hour battery life on two "AA" batteries, and has the same spine format to accept all of the Oregon and Colorado mounts and accessories. It will connect to your PC or Mac via USB. List Price $299.
- Dakota 20 - Adds a 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, a microSD card slot, and wireless connectivity to other Garmin handhelds like the Oregon, Colorado, and Foretrex units (Other Dakotas as well). List Price $349.
These should be available in July.
Full Press Release Below......
Continue reading: "Garmin Dakota 10 and Dakota 20 Handheld Touchscreen GPS"
June 25, 2009
If you recently updated your Garmin Firmware and i essentially killed your GPS, the fix is here. Garmin has posted fixes and FAQ's all over the place to get you back and running via "Mandatory" updates; shouldn't have let that first one out the door, but hats off to Garmin for getting a fix out quickly. The good news is that for many, it's a simple update, the bad news for some is that you need to send the unit back in for repair. From Garmin's Blog:
"Garmin nüvi 7x5 series products that are no longer able to acquire a GPS satellite signal may download a firmware update immediately that will correct the software issue. This firmware update may be downloaded using Garmin's WebUpdater.
Garmin nüvi 7x5 customers who are no longer able to power on their GPS device will need to visit www.garmin.com/support, and select the first FAQ titled "My nüvi 755T, 765T, 775T or 785T is giving me the message 'Updating GPS Firmware' or will no longer power on..." Customers will then need to follow the instructions to request a return authorization so that the device may be repaired under warranty. "
If you are having trouble, start a the Garmin Blog, then move to the proper download or FAQ page.
June 24, 2009
DeLorme announced their new PN-30 handheld today packing it with enough goodies and pricing it well at $299. The little green handheld comes with the ability to load it up with aerial photography, topographic maps, and NOAA nautical charts. The included PN-Series Map DVDs will transfer maps to the PN-30 or an SD card, from either PCs or Macs. The up-to-date detail includes U.S. topography, U.S. and Canada streets, roads, and places of interest, and Mexico main roads. The other maps area available as downloads that cost extra.
The waterproof (IPX7) color handheld is also available in Realtree camo too. Expect it to hit the stores in July.
Full Press Release below.....
Continue reading: "DeLorme PN-30 Handheld GPS"
June 23, 2009
TeleNav launched an iPhone App at the App store today, offering yet another option for navigating with the iPhone. TeleNav is no stranger to mobile phone navigation, and are offering it as the AT&T Navigator with numerous features, including Text to Speech (Says street names), traffic alerts, gas prices, and Business Listings (10 million), Mid-Route Points of Interest like gas, food and more. Some people may be turned off by the $100+ fee for a similar application, and the TeleNav may just be a decent alternative for you at $10 a month.
The iPhone needs to have the 3.0 Operating system to work. Full Press Release after the jump.....
At the iTunes App Store (iTunes Link), more at TeleNav
Continue reading: "AT&T Navigator (TeleNav) for the iPhone"
Wow, that was fast; about a two weeks ago, Navigon announced that they would launch an iPhone App, and now, they just launched a Euro version in the App store. According to the feature set, the capabilities are fairly robust, with the key ability to use if in the portrait and landscape modes, as well as reality view (shown above) where you get to see what exit/turn you should make on major intersections. The application also taps into your contact list to get to saved destinations; no need to re-input "favorites". The Navigon Navigator will pause for an incoming phone call, and you can listen to music while navigating, but according to a couple of users who posted reviews, the application does not pause the music while giving the turn directions which could prove to be a problem.
Available in several languages and dozens of countries - none of which are the US. The Navigon iPhone App uses NAVTEQ maps, but sadly, not traffic. One would hope that Navigon would use the phone's bandwidth to introduce traffic capabilities later on, and potentially a two way reporting as iPhones turn into GPS probes like the Dash Express did. The file size is large at about 1.6GB, with a couple of users reporting that it took over an hour.
With over a million iPhone 3G-S phones sold in the first day of its launch, one can imagine how the phone and its platform will continue to become a very large handset base on which the navigation makers can build. Should be an interesting future with these applications.
The Price is $94, not bad, but it appears to be headed up. On the price, they note that this is "a special introduction price is valid only until June 30th." One can definitely see the capabilities getting more robust and more expensive as time goes on, paralleling the standalone model capabilities.
More at iTunes (iTunes link)
June 21, 2009
Still looking for that GPS Deal after you woke up and didn't find that Father's Day magic GPS on the kitchen table? The prices have drifted down about $5 - $10 in general over the last few weeks making for a good bargain now at the beginning of the summer.
As your budget allows, I recommend features that make a GPS much easier to use: Text to Speech, and a widescreen in that order. Other additions such as Traffic, Bluetooth Handsfree, etc. are definitely nice to have.
Standard Screen Units
- Garmin Nuvi 270 - $144 (Up a few bucks in recent weeks actually) - Has US and Western Euro Maps pre-loaded. No Text to Speech, but if you are heading to Europe and need a unit, this is a great deal.
- Garmin Nuvi 250 - $99 - Has North American Maps pre-loaded. No Text to Speech, but is great deal for Garmin quality.
- Garmin Nuvi 260 - $129 (Down $5 in recent weeks) - Has North American Maps pre-loaded. Adds Text to Speech.
- Garmin Nuvi 255 - $159 - Has North American Maps pre-loaded. Has Text to Speech. Adds new interface that updates the look and feel; significant usability upgrade in my mind. Supports ecoRoute gas saving driving routes.
- TomTom ONE 130 - $99 this week, North American Maps, and a high quality TomTom Interface. Very easy to use at a low price. Does not have Text to Speech. Upgrade to the TomTom ONE 130-S for Text to speech at $119 - very cheap upgrade for text to speech. Possibly the best value out there for cheap Text to Speech.
Widescreen Units - 4.3-inch or larger
- Garmin Nuvi 255W - $174 - Text to speech, improved interface, maps of North America. Supports ecoRoute gas saving driving routes. More Info - See my Full Review on the Nuvi 255W. I also saw this at BJ's club this week for about the same price after a $30 Mail In Rebate - your choice.
- TomTom ONE XL-S - $129 - a "HOT DEAL" at Amazon, this widescreen has Text to Speech, and maps of North America. This older chassis has the latest maps from TomTom, and offers solid navigation for a relatively low price point.
- Garmin Nuvi 265WT - $212 - Text to speech, improved interface, maps of North America. Supports ecoRoute gas saving driving routes. Adds free lifetime TMC traffic to the base 255W model features. Very good buy here.
- Garmin Nuvi 760 - $199 - 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. Slightly older interface (still has updated maps though). See My Full Review of the Nuvi 760.
- Nuvi 205W at Amazon $151 - Entry Level Widescreen - No Text to Speech, Continental US Maps. See My Full Review - Nuvi 205W.
- TomTom ONE XL 330S - $160 - the new Basic Widescreen for the TomTom line, Maps of North America, new Easy Port fold flat mount, and text to speech. See my Full Review for more information.
- Garmin Nuvi 855 - $249 at Costco. This is a widescreen unit with Text to speech but also utilizes Voice Command capabilities that allow you to enter commands without having to tap the screen. Very good price for this highly capable unit.
- TomTom GO 740 LIVE - an amazing $299 - an internet connected GPS that has robust traffic reporting and is Google connected for interest search. Has Gas prices updates and comes with 3 months free connected service; about $10/ mo after that.
- The Garmin Forerunner 405 - $296 after $50 Mail in Rebate - And as I mentioned the other day - Buy the Garmin Forerunner 405, get the $50 rebate AND a Free Garmin Forerunner 50 Sports Watch too.
- The Garmin Forerunner 405CX that adds a calorie burning calculation. It will ship June 8th, and has the same $50 rebate deal and same Free Forerunner 50 deal. $319 after Mail in Rebate.
So if you are into pimping out your Garmin Nuvi, you can now download some classic Father's Day icons for use on the Nuvi from the Garmin Garage. The lawn mower and tie icons are a part of their consistent rollout of new icons for just about every occasion and non-occasion on the calndar, making for a lot of fun.
If you didn't get a Nuvi for Father's Day, and still want one, see our GPS Steals and Deals post today for some ideas.
Wow, this one seems like another step on the slippery slope of over-legislation. From the state that doesn't want you to pump your own gas comes the new idea to protect you; no programming your GPS while driving. While I admit, digging through a Point of Interest menu for something that is buried deep down there is a foolish thing to do, I can't argue that a 100% hands off approach is the right way to go either.
The bill is proposing a $100 fine for anyone caught manually programming a GPS while driving. This follows on the heels of the texting and non-hands free cell phone ban that carries the same fine.
What's next? Anything goes that can slip past the legislature, one can imagine. I would like to see the No Mascara or Eye Shadow application ban go ahead of the GPS programming ban - maybe fewer of those on the road, but have you ever ridden behind someone doing that? Scary.
June 19, 2009
In an about face, TomTom has selected Inrix to power their dynamic feeds for it's Plus and LIVE services going forward. Originally, TomTom did not select Inrix as their provider of traffic for the US, but have decided that the package of quality data from Inrix is worth the switch. This is not the first time Inrix has come in and taken over for what appear to be higher quality, more desirable coverage or feeds - it happened last year in Alabama, where Inrix essentially saved their traffic broadcast program that sounded like it was dead in the water.
Inrix will provide the traffic feed, and gas prices feed to LIVE and Plus services across the country.
Full Press Release below.....
Continue reading: "TomTom Picks Inrix"
June 17, 2009
TomTom may have potentially the best voice ever on their GPS topping Mr. T with their launch of the Homer Simpson voice available for TomTom GPS units in the US and Europe. The easy download, lets you navigate to Homer's voice offering the keen guidance of TomTom combined with the combined fun of 20 years worth of Homer antics. Can't wait.
The download happens through TomTom Home, an easy to use desktop manager that will allow you to download to your computer and then upload the voice to your TomTom device. The Homer Simpson voice costs $12.95, and is available now. Hummm, I wonder if I can navigate to Moe's for a Duff?
Full Press Release Below......
Continue reading: "Homer Simpson Voice for TomTom GPS - Easy Download"
June 16, 2009
Garmin is announcing the Foretrex 301 and 401 today - two new wrist mounted GPS units that have beefed up capabilities including, for the Foretrex 401 wireless communication with other Garmin units for sharing of waypoints, tracks and routes. The waterproof navigation devices are small enough to wear pretty easily, but contain the ability to navigate to waypoints, and track back to your position when you need to get back from your adventure. The Foretrex 401 has an altimeter and an electronic compass built in, along with the wireless capability that also allows you to add a heart rate monitor, or cadence sensor. The downside here is that the units don't track over a map, but more than the basics are covered in a wrist mountable format.
Weighing about 3 ounces and powered by 2 AAA batteries, Foretrex won't weigh you down while enduring a day's adventures with up to 18 hours of battery life in the 301 and up to 17 hours in the 401.
Full Press Release Below.....
Continue reading: "Garmin Foretrex 301 and 401"
June 15, 2009
TomTom is selling more shares to raise about 100 Million Euros to help retire some of its debt which amounts to around 1.4Billion Euros stemming from its takeover of TeleAtlas for 2.9Billion Euros. the purchasers of the debt are Cyrte Investments a technology investment firm and Janvio Holding, an investor in TomTom already. Clearly TomTom needs to restructure it's debt and get more than a toe hold in the emerging markets beyond simple GPS navigation; mobile phone and services after the sale represent new areas for growth (traffic subscriptions, etc).
ReadMore at the WSJ
Thanks Jim for sending this in.
June 12, 2009
NAVTEQ is talking about a future with more pedestrian based navigation, driven by their Discover Cities mapping work. The effort is delivering more data to hardware and service providers that enable the on foot navigation where there is not supposed to be traffic, or where subway or bus travel is involved. The idea that navigation help makes the jump to foot traffic is not a giant leap, but I am not sure how it will make that jump. The question if people actually be more likely to use this capability if it is through an over the air service to their mobile phone or through an add-on to their GPS navigation device like a Nuvi remains to be answered.
"The growing number of commercially available devices and applications reinforces the trend that pedestrian navigation is becoming mainstream," said Jeff Mize, executive vice president, global sales, NAVTEQ. "We are pleased that the high-quality data from NAVTEQ Discover Cities will enable our customers to provide consumers with accurate orientation and guidance to further enhance the pedestrian experience."
Full Press Release below....
Continue reading: "NAVTEQ Sees More Pedestrian Navigation"
June 11, 2009
Cobra is launching a new Red Light Camera locator into the market to pump up their "Aura" database of red light cameras, offering a non-navigation GPS-based solution to being alerted to the threats of red light cameras, speed cameras and enforcement areas. The unit comes equipped with a database of "threat" areas pre-loaded and it simply plugs into your computer to update the database when ever you want. The database is 100% verified for accuracy, and available anytime. No word on the going cost after the 1-year trial subscription runs out.
The toy-like device will light up when you are approaching a danger zone to warn you of your imminent "photo-op". Cost is $99 and comes with a 1-year trial subscription.
ReadMore at Cobra.com
Continue reading: "Cobra SL3 Red Light Camera Locator"
June 10, 2009
Garmin is in on auctioning off what could be a big bicycle racing fan's dream; the chance to hang out in VIP seats for the race's final stage of the race, and get access to restricted areas and a bunch of cool Garmin schwag if you are the winning bidder.
• Experience Paris and the race's final stage for four people. (July 25-26, 2009)
• VIP spectator access to team staging areas and events, refreshments included.
• Seats in exclusive sponsor viewing area near finish line on Champs-Elysees in Paris.
• Shuttle service to/from airport and to official events.
• Two hotel rooms each for 3 nights at sponsor's designated hotel. (July 24-26, 2009)
• VIP access to restricted Team Garmin areas.
• Attend the post race Team Garmin party on July 26th.
• Garmin Edge 705 cycle computer and Team Garmin gear.
The bids are being placed at eBay and are for a good cause. The package is in support of a local school in the Kansas City area.
Check out the bidding at eBay
Thought I would pass this along - American Airlines is testing a new method of flying planes across the Atlantic on a Paris to Miami route. The planes usually fly in set pathways across the Atlantic that were established long before the current capabilities for better navigation with GPS, and they are not very direct or thus fuel efficient. The more direct route governed by GPS direction finding would hopefully save significant fuel. When coupled with other fuel saving tactics, even a small dent in the millions of gallons a year that they burn through would make a significant difference.
The system, dubbed NextGen, is a game changer if it works, but I am sure with the installed base of technology and expertise out there that is invested for current methodology, we're not going to see a big change overnight.
ReadMore - Miami Herald
June 9, 2009
While not making the huge splash that TomTom did, most likely due to the recent retreat from the US market, Navigon jumped on the iPhone bandwagon yesterday with the announcement that they too will have an iPhone navigation application available very soon after the OS 3.0 launches for the iPhone (in about 2 weeks).
"The package includes well-known functions such as Reality View Pro, Real Roadsign Pro, Lane Assistant Pro, Speed Assistant, Day & Night Mode, amongst others, as well as the option of displaying POIs along the route. With this range of functions, Mobile Navigator stands out from its competition on the market - also by the fact that the typical user functions of the iPhone have been implemented seamlessly in order to make navigation using the iPhone and NAVIGON software even more enjoyable. If you turn the iPhone 90 degrees, then the display switches automatically from portrait to landscape view. As well as this automatic display adjustment, and the intelligent address entry, there is also the option of navigating directly to an address from saved contacts. If navigation is interrupted by a telephone call then navigation is resumed automatically after the call has ended."
One option is the LITE Version available for free, with no active route guidance, but with map material and the possibility to display POIs (points of interest) in the vicinity. Another option is the full version, which navigates users quickly and reliably to their destination.
Full press release below....
Continue reading: "Navigon Announces iPhone Application Too"
Yesterday at Apple's developer conference, TomTom offered a glimpse into what is to come this summer for the iPhone; a fully operational iPhone navigation solution; powered mount, speaker, and classic TomTom navigation capabilities. No word if there are any plans to offer more sophisticated HD traffic, and connected services like gas price search capabilities.
The move, mirrored by Navigon, puts TomTom in the driver's seat for connected capabilities with their recent GO 740 LIVE launch, the TomTom XL LIVE launch in Europe and now the iPhone launch. It puts Garmin in a tough place with the now delayed launch of the Nuvifone that has them as a competitor to the iPhone. One has to wonder if they are going to support the iPhone or protect their investment in a competitive product and stay away from the iPhone letting the other big contenders fight for leadership in the iPhone platform.
I would expect that this application and customized mount to come at a steep price; a lot more than the $0.99 - $9.99 that people seem accustomed to for applications on the iPhone. More later this summer. More at TomTom
Had to pass this along - a new book has been released and has an accompanying set of progressive Geocaches that correspond to events in the book. The first Geocache is located in the MD area, and offers the clue to the next Geocache, and so on. The book, "Book of Lies" is a mystery novel that offers a bit of intrigue, using Bible stories as a backdrop for the modern day tale. You can read more about the Geocaching, the plot and read the first chapter for free at the author's website.
Check out Brad Meltzer's website for more information.
June 8, 2009
Interesting article in the Economist about the future of the connected car. The article talks about the stuff we know - GPS navigation, Inrix traffic probe data helping get us around traffic, but then ventures into how Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communication might work as well as Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) communication might work too. Toll transponders are the most obvious use for V2I communication, but you might start getting a network effect of communication between vehicles to share not only traffic, but traffic signal colors, emergency vehicle alerts and sudden braking situations.
At the Economist
Via Inrix Twitter Feed
June 6, 2009
Garmin has a pretty sweet deal on maps - here it is: Pay one price and get four map updates a year for the life of the device. - What's even better is that it's about $97, at this writing, when you order it off of Amazon (when you include shipping) - this same update is $119 on Garmin's website - a $23 savings.
Buying this is easy.
- Go to the Garmin Website to make sure your unit is compatible - Click on View compatible Products.
- Order the "Gift Card" item off Amazon - and get it in a few days; it has codes on it to validate a download.
- Go to MyGarmin to log in or create an account.
- Connect your GPS via USB cord, then go to the website on the back of the card and start the validation process; it takes a little time, but it's easy.
- Download the file - it can be BIG so this will take a while the first time you update.
- Open the downloaded file and it will install and validate on your GPS.
More information on the Download Instructions (PDF Link) from Garmin detail the process a bit more.
Please note that this is a Lifetime subscription that is linked to one and only one GPS through the serial number. Sorry, it's not a household license that gives you the ability to load the maps on your Nuvi 250, then the Nuvi 265W, your Colorado 400t, and your friend's Nuvi too!! (Too bad, I know).
You can update your maps on your GPS up to four times per year for the lifetime of the unit - pretty good deal.
At Amazon - Garmin nüMaps Lifetime North America Map Updates for detailed maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico
TomTom announced this week that they are adding a White Pearl TomTom to the stable of GPS offerings in the TomTom ONE line. The White Pearl edition is a Euro model for now, but includes lane guidance, a nice feature that is found elsewhere on higher end models. They have a Burgundy version out in the US (TomTom One 140 GPS Burgundy), and clearly have realized that the black and gun-metal grey are not the cool wanna be colors of the future. Remember when computers came in three shades of beige? They got with it, and soon you might even be able to get a custom color from their site for a few extra bucks.
Press Release below......
Continue reading: "TomTom ONE Pearl White Edition"
June 5, 2009
RIM bought the pioneering GPS maker Dash Navigation, or what was left of it, which should offer a significant capability if it can be well adapted for the BlackBerry format. The Dash Navigation GPS went public with their groundbreaking idea back in 2006, received awards at it's CES announcement, went on sale in March 2008, and then after a slow launch, pulled the hardware hoping to launch the great traffic capabilities through a different platform. Well that strategy may have come true in a different way - not selling the capability to numerous hardware makers, but getting bought by that hardware maker.
The traffic capabilities are still well loved by the remaining Dash users, who may get their wish to see the capabilities grow instead of die on the vine.
June 4, 2009
A refurbished TomTom ONE 130 is available for $49 after a $20 Mail in Rebate over at Amazon. The unit comes ready to roll out of the box, with a standard 3.5-inch screen, maps of US and Canada, and the easy to use TomTom interface. The $20 rebate is good for purchases now through 6/15, and must be postmarked by 7/15. See the webpage and rebate form for more details.
At Amazon - TomTom ONE 130
June 3, 2009
Word has it that the new Safari browser on the next release of the iPhone Software is going to be GPS aware; not a big surprise but it opens up a world of possibilities for websites to generate Location Based Services for mobile phone use. A lot of applications are location aware, asking already if you want to allow that program to use your location, well this will open up websites to the possibility of gathering your location and showing you information for you, now, where ever you are standing.... restaurants, stores, directions, and maybe even ads. We'll see.
ReadMore at Tuaw
June 2, 2009
A recent article in the Boston Globe detailed a few ways to save money while owning a car, and that includes owning a GPS. The article is a little thin, but certainly offers the idea that driving around lost wastes time and gas, get a GPS and get yourself found. We know from a recent study (Sponsored by NAVTEQ through so some readers have voiced concern over teh validity of the study - I think it's reasonable) showed a reduction in miles and gas consumption for GPS owners.
Now, you can do the math about wasted time and gas vs. the cost of a GPS, but I think the payoff is in the area of freedom and confidence. I can't tell you how many "away" games I have used the GPS to get to and had no problem while others are barely avoiding accidents as they read cryptic directions off of a print out from the coach on how to find a field.
Add to that finding a business, a Real Estate Listing, ANYTHING when you are new to town, and so on.....
How does a GPS save you time and money? Leave a comment to tell us how.
At the Boston Globe
June 1, 2009
May serves as a good transition to the summer driving season as manufacturers ready their new models for the stores and some news trickles out ahead of people buying their navigation system of choice. This spring brought a few curve balls including the news that Navigon was going to leave the US market after a 2+ year run. The new TomTom GO 740 LIVE is on sale, and the new Garmin Nuvi's are due to ship next week. Looks like a good summer for keeping up on GPS News - sign up for our newsletter and get emailed all of our articles every Monday morning.
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