September 30, 2009
Garmin announced that their G60 Nuvifone will be available on October 4 in AT&T stores. The price will be $299 after a $100 rebate. The new phone will come equipped like a high end GPS, with a very full featureset, allowing you to get turn by turn directions from preloaded maps, while searching millions of Points of Interest. The Nuvifone will come with a 30-day trial to Nuvifone Premium Connected Services which includes traffic updates, white pages, weather, movie, local events and fuel price content are available after the trial for $5.99/month.
One beautiful feature that seems enabled only due to the total integration of the GPS is the Location Link feature - "Garmin's location link, which parses addresses on the web with latitude and longitude information, allows customers to easily navigate to addresses they discover on the web by simply touching the address."
Full Press Release Follows....
Continue reading: "Nuvifone - Available October 4 at AT&T"
September 28, 2009
TomTom has announced a new mid-range connected GPS - the TomTom XL 340S LIVE. This thing may sound like a mid-range, but the unit is packed with connected and regular features to keep most users well outfitted.
LIVE features include - high quality traffic updates, gas prices, weather, and google search capabilities. Its connectivity is being provided by AT&T; something that TomTom mentions in the Press Release and something that must play into the strategy somehow. Not sure if it distances itself from the existing models, or tries to position itself versus the Nuvifone that is working with AT&T. Interesting nonetheless.
The TomTom XL 340S LIVE also comes with IQ Routes for better trip duration accuracy, maps of North America, speaks road names, and advanced lane guidance.
The unit is list priced at $299, which is what the TomTom GO 740 LIVE is going for right now at Amazon. I am sure that once the TomTom XL 340S LIVE hits the street its price will come in line under its big brother. The GO 740 adds Bluetooth hands free among other features.
Full Press Release After the Jump......
Continue reading: "TomTom ONE XL 340S LIVE - Connected Midrange GPS"
September 28, 2009
Added Waypoint Averaging application. (For more information visit our new Trail Tech website)
Garmin has a version 3.0 software upgrade out that adds a few nice features to the capabilities of the Colorado series. I have the Colorado 400t, and welcome a couple of the additions:
Added ability to load maps from any img file in the Garmin directory
Added ability to see a list of points from the map when several points are at the same location
Added customizable text to unit power-on screen (see \Garmin\startup.txt)
I particularly like the waypoint averaging, where you are able to let the Colorado sit at a location (i.e. a Geocache that you are placing, or a particular trail waypoint), and let the Colorado average readings over time to get a more accurate assessment of the true location. With the advancement in the sensitivity of chipsets, some argue that this isn't needed, but I will take the capability and the added accuracy anytime, especially in dense tree cover or other challenging locations.
More at Garmin Updates and Downloads
September 25, 2009
We've been seeing quite a few navigation games using your iPhone GPS. Waze Inc. has come out with a totally free GPS game—and it even turns the driving experience into a fun time. In a nutshell, Waze maps are entirely user generated. Users can also relay a heads up to others about accidents and other hazardous driving conditions. It even plays a Pac-Man type of game with drivers who are exploring uncharted territory. Since the content is user generated - it does make the app rely on people actually mapping and using it - however - it's free and expect it to work in larger areas.
Via Gizmodo at Waze
September 18, 2009
Magellan has taken the high ground, launching this huge GPS - offering the folks in the back seat plenty of map details. I am wondering if you need to put sunscreen on to avoid a burn from this thing when it's on full brightness.
The 7-inch wonder offers you just about the whole stable of features that are on the Magellan brand - One Touch favorites menu for easy access to personalized favorite places, lane assist, highway Point of Interest search, spoken street names, as well as information from the AAA and Magellan partnership which offers the AAA TourBook information and special features that help you use your AAA Membership.
More Info at Magellan
Available at Amazon - Magellan RoadMate 1700
List price will be $299. Full Press release below.....
Continue reading: "Magellan RoadMate 1700 - 7-inch Screen on this Biggie GPS"
September 16, 2009
TomTom has announced the extra large screen TomTom XXL 530S and XXL 540S - two 5-inch screened wonders in the TomTom line. The units features a ton of TomTom features including MapsShare, IQ Routes to give you optimal routing on roads, full maps of North America, and an easy folding EasyPort mount that offers quick on, quick off mounting with easy storage. The "S" means that the units both feature Text to Speech - they say road names.
The TomTom XXL-540S adds Advanced Lane Guidance - which is a little graphic that pops up when approaching a complex intersection (mainly on highways) that shows you what lane to be in. The unit adds Mexican maps, and includes a black finish.
UPDATE: The TomTom XXL 530S and the TomTom XXL 540S are available at Amazon
Full press release follows
Continue reading: "TomTom XXL 530S and XXL 540S"
September 9, 2009
This week in his column, Walt takes a look at the GPS applications available for the iPhone. He took a look at Navigon, TomTom, AT&T's from TeleNav and MotionX. The column is worth a read, but his video is not great. See for yourself that the video is relatively low value, but is a decent companion to the column out this week where he offers a lot more details on the products. Classic Walt finds that GPS units are dumber than your average local for finding decent shortcuts.... don't know what to say about that one; is that really the threshold that people measure a GPS by? I will say that I was crawling through Wiscasset Maine the other weekend on RT1 with people backed up at the bridge and due to folks stopping by Red's Eats for a lobsta roll, and tapped the GPS for a detour. Bam, found a new shortcut through the neighborhood (Down Lee St, left on High St) cutting off 5-10 minutes of wait time. Seems like good intel to me for a tourist.
ReadMore from Walt on the four iPhone Navigation APPs at All Things D
: The Boston Globe
also looks at the TomTom iPhone App, its strengths and opportunities comparing it to over the air services too. A decent read if you want a high level point of view on the new TomTom application.
I have to admit that I am a bit o a traffic junkie and am looking forward to the day when I can press a button and have the roads clear ahead of me as I drive to work. That will probably never happen, but short of that, I would settle for being overly informed about the status of the traffic, including accurate predictions of my arrival time, smart alternate routes and automatic re-routes when issues arise.
As connected GPS unit become more mainstream and their connections are made through higher and higher speed technologies, the potential to incorporate traffic cameras, becomes a reality. I am talking about the sometimes streaming camera shots of the traffic on major routes, not the red light cameras that try to catch people as they blow through red lights. The bandwidth needed is real, but the interface issues are easy to overcome. Imagine seeing red on your traffic route, then tap the Cam icon, and a window pops up with either a static image or a streaming image to give you a very good idea of the issue.
Some concerns: Driving off the road or into the back of another car as you look at the streaming traffic, the cost of the service would go up as downloaded content amount goes up, thus driving up the cost of the service beyond what people are interested in paying for, and clunky, unreliable serving of the webcam feeds - they aren't currently known for highly reliable shots of the roadway (glare, rain, mis-directed cameras pointing at the side of a building, etc.)
Despite all of that, I like the potential, and would like to see what a major could do with the idea.
September 8, 2009
Accrossair is an iPhone development firm in the UK that is setting the direction of what may be the future of the GPS. When a connected GPS has broadband connection speeds, and an electronic compass, this type of functionality may just be on the roadmap for development on a GPS coming to you. TomTom already has a patent for showing a realistic representation of the road in front of you right on your GPS, including buildings and turn indications. This would amp up the capabilities and potentially the usefulness at select times when you use the GPS.
The overlay of important destination and location information right on the screen can offer users a better sense of where they are, and where they need to go to get what they want. It's almost like having Superman-esque X-Ray vision as you look around for things that you are looking for.
There are a couple of applications coming out for the iPhone that will launch in the coming days when the iPhone OS 3.1 comes out. Because the program uses the onboard electronic compass, only the iPhone 3GS will be able to run the software. Expect a NYC Subway App, a London Tube App, and the Accrossair Browser that offers a view into all kinds of information.
TomTom has announced a new open source program that shrewdly puts them in the middle of the map and location based universe should the technology be widely adapted. As in all open source moves, you give and you get; enabling a wide array of capabilities based on a technology specification that you control, enable and eventually profit from. No it doesn't mean free maps, but instead the technology platform that they live upon so that location based data uses the same Location Referencing technology.
The technology allows "enables reliable data exchange and cross-referencing using digital maps of different vendors and versions", according to TomTom. Could be a big, bold program if key stakeholders jump on; clearly TomTom and TeleAtlas are there.
More at TomTom's site for OpenLR
September 7, 2009
TomTom announced the launch of the TomTom GO 550, 750 and 950 models that bring connected services to the entire line of GO units, further defining the future of the standalone GPS from TomTom. So, either everyone will want and buy high end devices that have connected services, making a step-change in the product line and future of Personal Navigation Devices, or TomTom just made their GO series structurally more expensive due to the inclusion of the cellular hardware and the associated trial of connected services. The eternal dreamer, I hope that people find the connected services compelling enough to drive adoption of the expanded capabilities.
The units are generally available with all kinds of gadgets and widgets that the top of the line would typically come with including Advanced Lane Guidance (images of which lane you need to be in - shown above), IQ Routes (calibrated expected speeds for better accuracy on arrival times), HD Traffic, Bluetooth Handsfree, and voice commands.
This is a European announcement, and I would expect a follow-up announcement about US pricing and availability. The GO 550 is a regional unit for a single Euro country, the GO 750 has Pan-Euro coverage and the GO 950 has European and North American coverage for maps as well as enhanced positioning technology that includes the ability to detect your location while you are in tunnels through an onboard accelerometer (Originally launched as EPT on the GO 920).
I expect that the US versions would have the appropriate maps - the GO 750 with North American maps and the GO 950 with North American and Euro maps. These should be available in time for the holiday buying season on both sides of the Atlantic.
Full Press Release Follows....
Continue reading: "TomTom GO 550, 750, 950 LIVE Connected GPS"
Last week, Nokia/NAVTEQ took a big step forward on the development of their traffic network globally. The basis is the Traffic.com acquisition by NAVTEQ with road sensors, GPS probes and now the very broad network of the Nokia GPS enabled phones. Last week I joked along with Rich over at GPSTracklog.com on my Twitter feed that this move would expand coverage by dozens of miles in the US, but that if course is a little limited. We may have been a little harsh in that assessment. The reality is that this move should have been well anticipated, and should provide the framework for them to start amping up the coverage and feeds of both North America and Europe.
If the aggregation of the datafeeds and subsequent timely reporting out of that information is done well, you can't underplay the importance of adding millions of smart phones as anonymous GPS probes in the understanding of traffic situations and how you can make better decisions about your drive. They clearly have a scale here to make a difference. Should be interesting to see how this comes to life.
Also, NAVTEQ Traffic delivers a single source solution enabling drivers uninterrupted traffic information when crossing borders in 11 countries including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. NAVTEQ Traffic will also be available in Luxembourg and The Netherlands by the end of 2009. This will certainly help Garmin (NAVTEQ Customer) to combat TomTom (Owns TeleAtlas and utilizes in-house data collection of connected GPS) on the Euro turf, and is also an acknowledgement of the advanced need for traffic reporting on the Euro continent.
"Nokia continues to expand its community and delivers technologies that improve the lives of users," said Michael Halbherr, Director of Social Rental Services division at Nokia. "Part of our commitment is to ensure respect for the privacy of users, while offering the best offer traffic information so drivers have the latest information timely. "
September 3, 2009
-- Google Search, Traffic, Gas Prices, and more; No Monthly Fee for 2 Years --
Garmin is moving into the connected GPS space with a bang, delivering the Nuvi 1690 connected GPS that comes packed with some standard, some pretty innovative. The connected capabilities come free for two years, as the up-front price of the unit appears to be elevated ($499) allowing you to walk away free of a subscription price. Interesting departure form the model that Dash looked at by offering the service with a monthly fee. With the Nuvi 1690, the subscription fee is $5/mo after two years. Pretty manageable.
The Nuvi 1690 (With nuLink connected services) comes with gas prices, traffic from Navteq/Traffic.com, movie times, flight status (would have loved this on my last business trip), Google Search, and Ciao! a social networking feature allowing you to share your whereabouts with other friends on two social networks (for now); uLocate's Beacon Buddy, and GyPSii. More networks are to be added expected later. The capability will also allow you to see other friends' locations and navigate to them too.
White Pages - The search also includes a white pages search, allowing you to look up a person by name, and pull up address and phone number information.
Predefined Searches - Tired of punching through menus for POI information? There are high level searches pre-defined, allowing you to quickly access Food, Lodging and Fuel with the touch of a button. I like the fast search capability, and this ties into the pre-loaded POI set, so you won't wait for a search result to come back from Google.
The maps are pre-loaded North American maps, and the unit comes with Bluetooth handsfree capabilities, and ecoRoute - the onboard application that helps you drive more economically.
Full Press Release Below......
Continue reading: "Garmin Nuvi 1690 Connected GPS Announced - Social Networking"
September 2, 2009
This powerful widescreen unit is a pretty good buy at $149. The model has been out for about two years, but ships with updated maps. The TomTom GO 720 includes text to speech, Bluetooth Handsfree, a high quality user interface, the Help me interface and of course the MapShare capability that allows you to note mapping changes and communicate them to TomTom as well as share them with others in the MapShare community.
I thought that the GO 720 was a very solid feeling GPS that performed well when I first reviewed it.
The TomTom GO 720 is available at Amazon
September 1, 2009
Garmin has announced a new low profile bike GPS that will be targeted at performance minded cyclists, with data galore, and no on screen mapping. The unit tracks speed, distance, time, GPS position, elevation, calories burned, climb and descent; the latter is facilitated by a barometric altimeter in the Edge 500. Like the Edge 705, the Edge 500 will have ANT+ wireless technology which syncs with third party power meters and Garmin's heart rate monitor and cadence meters. In the cool department, the Edge 500 also changes time zones automatically, and shows temperature readings. A quarter turn mounts and dismounts the unit on the handlebars. No doubt this will be on the Team Garmin-Slipstream's handlebars in the coming months.
The Garmin Edge 500 has a suggested retail price of $249.99. When bundled with a heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor, Edge 500 has a suggested retail price of $349.99. It will be out around the ed of the year.
Full press release follows.....
Continue reading: "Garmin Edge 500 - Performance Bike GPS Computer with Altimeter"