February 25, 2010
The TomTom 530S is on sale for $149 which is a pretty good deal on this 5-inch screened unit. When it was announced last September, it listed for $279. Most widescreens are 4.3-inch screens, but the TomTom gives you a bunch more real estate combined with a good set of capabilities, including text to speech - yes it says the street names.
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.
at Amazon - TomTom XXL 530S
February 24, 2010
Inrix has released its annual study on the traffic congestion in America taking a fresh look at what's happening overall and where the worst congestion spots are across the country. The good news is that it appears that the economy is on the mend as traffic bottomed out in March/April of last year, the bad news is that congestion is up overall, especially in the non-rush hours where there was a 25% increase in congestion. The stimulus package and its associated construction efforts are changing patterns; worse congestion where construction projects have kicked off and relieved congestion where they have finished.
Overall, for those who commute, you probably already know that the best day to commute is Monday, and the worst on Thursday with people taking long weekends to relieve a little stress. The trouble is that the worst morning commute is Wednesday, while the worst evening commute is Friday - not too many people are staying late on Friday.
No surprise that Los Angeles tops the list for worst traffic; here's the top 10:
1. Los Angeles, Calif.
2. New York, N.Y.
3. Chicago, Ill.
4. Washington, D.C. (up from 6th in 2008)
5. Dallas, Texas
6. Houston, Texas (down from 4th in 2008)
7. San Francisco, Calif.
8. Boston, Mass.
9. Seattle, Wash.
10. Philadelphia, Pa. (up from 11th in 2008)
Inrix grabs their traffic from about 1.6 million GPS probes out on the roads that take the form of road sensors, GPS probes in fleet vehicles and more frequently users of applications like their Inrix Traffic! App on the iphone where the travel progress along the road is anonymously sent back for reporting on in-the-moment traffic conditions. If you want pure traffic reporting on the web, you can see their data on Mapquest, or on your iPhone with their Inrix Traffic! App (iTunes Link). They also power the traffic functions on most of the iPhone Apps, including Navigon (iTunes Link).
More data and details after the jump.
Continue reading: "Inrix Traffic Scorecard: Congestion up; Economy and Construction Effects"
February 23, 2010
The Garmin Forerunner 305 has been a long standing, well performing GPS trainer for a lot of runners and bikers alike. I continue to find that people enjoy training and keep ing track of that training with a GPS enabled device, which allows them to not only track mileage but also pace, heart rate, and route on the map. With communities like Garmin Connect , you can upload your data to share the route with others, while also finding out about new routes in what ever area you are in or going to.
The Garmin Forerunner 305 comes with a heart rate monitor and a design that allows it to grab and lock onto satellite signals quickly and reliably. I have used it successfully to bike with too. With the optional Garmin Forerunner Bike Mount, you can mount the forerunner on your handlebars.
Spring running and biking is here - get out there and go.
At Amazon - Garmin Forerunner 305
February 23, 2010
Casio has given the green light to move the Casio EX HG10 camera to market sometime late this year, which will include a whole bunch of digital camera features and a GPS chip that not only tags your photos, but also serves as the basis for GPS/PND type point to point navigation. It apparently uses Google Maps, and one might assume Google is providing the Points of Information too. The camera itself has a whopping 12.1 MP sensor for your photo shoots, and the ability to browse where you took those detailed pictures on the map.
Cost is expected to be around $400.
February 19, 2010
Got Maps? Well eventually you need to upgrade your maps and I want to explain a couple of options I like that get you updated maps almost all the time.
Garmin has a lifetime map upgrade for North America at a $95 price point. Sure it's a lot, but at about $50 a year, this is a pretty good deal to keep your GPS updated for the long haul. The $95 gets you updated maps about every quarter for the lifetime of the device that you register it with.
There are no monthly fees or continuing maintenance costs; you pay only once per Garmin GPS. When you want to update your maps, connect your device to your computer and log into your myGarmin account, where the latest map data is ready to load to your individual device. We're constantly gathering new map data, and a new update is available up to four times per year. Sign up for our email notification, and we'll email you when the newest data is available.
Garmin nüMaps Lifetime North America Map Updates
TomTom takes a slightly different approach - they give you quarterly updates for $9.95, or less than $40 annually. This deal is also pretty good, as you start to add it all up. The offer is good on one device. From TomTom:
How does it work?
- Each time you connect your device to your computer, TomTom HOME will let you know if a new map is waiting for you.
- New maps are released each quarter and are added to your account as soon as they are available.
- Warning - Map Update Service starts with the latest map, so you may have to upgrade your map at a discounted price
TomTom Map Update Service
February 17, 2010
The Garmin Oregon series is a touchscreen handheld unit with a lot of capabilities, but one you won't find listed on the box under "Electronic Compass" and "Barometric Altimeter" is "Lifesaver". For one set of boaters coming home from hunting out on the lake, their Garmin Oregon was a lifesaver. Not only did the coordinates of their overturned boat help guie rescuers, but the screen's brightness helped the rescuers find the overturned boat in the darkness as the owner flagged them down with it held high in the air.
Garmin gets a lot of consumer letters, I am sure, but this one is worth a read; it's pretty good.
ReadMore at Garmin Blogs
February 15, 2010
the TomTom Ease for the US market last month at the CES 2010 show; it's a US version of the Euro based TomTom Start
, announced last year. The entry level devices are targeted at ease of use with a simplified menu, and some features that make it very competitive as an entry level device like Text to Speech
spoken street name direction. The standard sized screen (3.5-inch), and simple EasyPort mount offer quick stowage in tight places, while the changeable backplates make for a potentially fun accessory play later to personalize the unit.
Continue reading: "TomTom Ease Full Review"
I picked up a TomTom EASE at Amazon
for around $100 for the purposes of this review, and have been testing it out around town for almost a couple of weeks now. My concerns were around quality of the fit and finish - did TomTom cut too many corners, is the menu system easier to use, and does the performance stack up against other entry level devices.
NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data for in-vehicle, portable, wireless and enterprise solutions, announced the launch of NAVTEQ Traffic™ in the United Kingdom, increasing its real-time traffic European coverage to nearly 400,000 kilometers of total coverage, across nearly 35 major cities in 13 European countries.
NAVTEQ Traffic in the United Kingdom includes data from Trafficmaster's network of 7,500 traffic sensors, covering 8,000 miles of U.K. motorways and 95 percent of its trunk or arterial roads. NAVTEQ is compiling road sensors and GPS vehicle probes, both consumer and commercial; later this year they expect to add mobile phone tracking for GPS Probe sources.
NAVTEQ Traffic enables a single-source, uninterrupted traffic service when crossing borders in Europe and is also available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
Full Press Release is Below......
Continue reading: "NAVTEQ Traffic in UK"
February 12, 2010
At the recent MacWorld Expo, Inrix was named to a list of the best in show for their Inrix Traffic Pro iPhone App. If you've missed it, they are the #1 Navigation based App in iTunes.
The basic (free) program gives you insight into traffic flow around major metro areas with coverage not only on major highways but right down to the street level for many important commuting roadways. I have been really impressed with their coverage around Boston.
The "Pro" version - which is an in App upgrade ($10 a year of $25 lifetime), offers a few extra tools for those who want to check out some more details on their trips - like viewing traffic cameras, saving commuting routes, and a pretty cool feature that looks ahead and predicts when the best time to leave for your commute is.
The latest version (ver 2.3) offers fixes that dogged the last version. I saw the bugs last month, I don't see them anymore in this version.
See more at Inrix Traffic (iTunes Link) or learn more at the Inrix Website
February 11, 2010
Garmin is urging folks to take the training to a new level and join the Garmin Connect fitness service. If you register between now and March 31st, you could with the Garmin FR 60 sport watch with a heart rate monitor. The Garmin connect service allows you to store your runs, hikes, bike rides, etc online and share the routes with others in the community. Need a route? Grab one of the millions of routes that have been uploaded by others worldwide. It's free to sign up; more at Garmin Connect where you can see what devices are compatible with the service.
Don't have a device and want one? Well Garmin is also running a $50 Rebate on a Forerunner 405 model until May 31. Perfect for that summer training. At Amazon - the Garmin Forerunner 405
February 9, 2010
There's a new handheld in town and it looks pretty cool - touchscreen, loaded with capabilities and ready to guide off of any map you want or have. The Holux TwoNav is hitting the market next month with this water resistant (IPX6 std) touchscreen, Sirf'd chipset, 3D electronic compass GPS. The 3-inch transreflective touchscreen offers 240X400 resolution to see the 2D or shaded 3D modes.
Maps - Imported too!
The Sportiva is capable of loading up the company's maps, but also ships with the ability to scan your own maps and with a free software kit convert that map for use in the GPS. The 2GB of internal memory should handle a pretty good load of maps, while the micro SD card slot and additional 32GB could be added to create a map locker that could handle a lot of what you want to go and see. Two Nav seems to have a good part of the world offered in maps for download (at a price) but with the imported map capability it seems that you should be able to have just about any place you want covered if needed.
The unit measures 58 x 105 x 23mm or about 2.3 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches and weighs 128g or about 4.3 ounces with batteries.
OK so it goes on sale in the UK next month for 379 Euros.
Navigon continues to innovate in rapid fire fashion with some big enhancements to their iPhone platforms announced today. Some may shrug off the social networking thing, others will love it if you use Facebook or Twitter. The big innovation here is the move to start customizing routes based on outside factors, like your driving habits, patters and time of day. The MyRoutes feature starts down the pathway of some very sophisticated planning of routes that go way beyond "Fastest", or "Avoid Toll Roads".
Connection to Facebook and Twitter: A simple icon tap posts users current position, destination, and ETA without navigation interruption.
Panorama View 3D: True 3D in-map views obtained from NASA's height and terrain data enable intuitive orientation of surrounding environment, and what lies ahead with digital landscape elevations, shadows, and geographic images. Panorama View 3D is integrated in-map, independent from the phone's data connection. The Panorama View 3D feature will be available via an In App Purchase.
NAVIGON MyRoutes: Analyzes driving habits, patterns, location, time/day and provides up to three routes clearly displayed in-map with ETA, distance and driving times for each.
Full press release below......
More at Navigon for the iPhone
Continue reading: "Navigon iPhone: New Version - Great Updates"
February 8, 2010
NAVTEQ and TeleAtlas are constantly running these searches for LBS applications that rock out world, and for good reason. There's a lot of cool work going on out there. Some not so amazing, and some really amazing.
Here's the current list of finalists:
The winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on Sunday, 14 February in Barcelona, Spain. The finalists for the NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge in the EMEA region are:
* IOTO International Inc. (www.ioto.ca), Canada: WHAXI lets you hail a taxi to your GPS location with a push of a button. Mobilizy GmbH (www.mobilizy.com), Germany: Wikitude Drive is a turn-by-turn navigation system based on NAVTEQ® maps that utilizes an augmented reality camera mode and text-to-speech instructions.
* Livecontacts (www.livecontacts.com), The Netherlands: Livecontacts Mobile offers assurance, safety and security anywhere in the world through a unique set of features, including real-time tracking of mobile phones and GPS trackers.
* M2Mobi (www.m2mobi.com), The Netherlands: Nulaz is a social information source that allows you to see where people, places and events are located around you.
* Mobile Agreements GmbH (www.mogree.com), Austria: With Mogree™, you can interact with people around you who share your interests--talk to existing friends and meet new people.
Mobitee (www.mobitee.com), France: Mobitee is a GPS golf assistant that allows you to find the nearest golf course, follow route guidance via NAVTEQ maps, know the distance to each green and calculate your score.
Telmap™ (www.telmap.com), Israel: Telmap5 is the world's first personalized location companion that allows operators to differentiate their mobile offerings with highly targeted and local content in the framework of search, mapping and navigation.
United Maps (http://unitedmaps.net), Germany: Walk & Ride packs comprehensive map detail and extensive information into an offline application that works any place, any time, with no hassle.
VIOM GmbH (www.viom.de), Germany: VIOS Mobile Leader offers workforce management to go--keep in touch with your business, everywhere.
XiLabs (www.xilabs.fr), France: Alien Attack is an outdoor GPS game in which you must destroy the alien's eggs before the monster catches you--run!
Yoose GmbH (www.yoose.com), Germany: Yoose's coupon widget provides easy access to coupons and discounts close to where you are, directly from your mobile phone's home screen.
ZorroGPS® (www.zorrogps.com), China: ZorroGPS LIVE comes with 16 live navigation services on SIM PNDs and mobile phones, including Europe or North America NAVTEQ maps, all at a low price.
If you only have time to check out two, I like the nulaz/m2Mobi concept and the Yoose idea. WHile both have been talked about, I like the Yoose idea the best. There has to be a better way of managing all of those shopper cards, discounts and coupons that come my way. How about if Grocery store #1 knew that I liked Grocery store #2 also - let the bidding war commence and see what coupons they might throw my way this coming week. Sick of coupons? How about the App knows that I subscribe to the Sunday Newspaper and all of those coupons that come already get loaded automatically in my "account"?
The Garmin Nuvi 285WT is a full featured widescreen GPS that offers text-to-speech, bluetooth hands free, and for a while, access to MSN Direct's load of features including traffic, weather, movie times, local gas prices and more. The downside here is that MSN Direct is stopping in January 2012, making the MSN direct features short-lived. The upside is that the unit itself is a solid unit, offering a lot of capability at this price - widescreen GPS navigation with Bluetooth.
At Amazon - Garmin nüvi 285W/285WT - For $119
February 5, 2010
Came across this; looks like fun. Glu Games has released a new game that is made for the iPod Touch and the iPhone where it uses the GPS to bring you on an adventure game. The game allows you to hunt down collectible things that must somehow appear on the map around your location. Collect them all and win..... a pat on the back, I guess.
So, there is of course a regular walkabout type game play for the folk on an iPod touch, but you have to admit it has got to be a lot more fun grabbing these items as you walk around with the iPhone looking for a special item like the Bogey; part of the Gross collection.
Available at iTunes - 1000: Find em all (itunes link)
More at the Glu Website
February 3, 2010
Garmin is releasing its third smartphone in the line, and from the looks here, a much improved version of the previous ones. It will be loaded with the windows mobile operating system and have a 3.5-inch touchscreen. With 4GB of internal memory and up to 32GB of optional microSD card capacity, the phone will be primed for plenty of photos through its 5 megapixel camera. Of course because it's a Garmin, the photos will be automatically tagged with the location that they were taken through the automatic geoencoding.
February 2, 2010
Good little article in the Boston Globe today highlighting an iPhone App that allows users to take a picture of potholes, and other items that have fallen into disrepair and shoot the geoencoded picture over to City Hall. It's called Citizens Connect (iTunes link).
The idea is not new, and several cities have done one, as well as CitySourced, another App with some similar features that spans several cities. In Boston, after the image and details of the problem is received, the message is automatically routed to the local maintenance facility for dispatch. Unlike a kids video game, the crew doesn't shoot out of the garage immediately, but they do get to most issues in a 5-day turn around time.
More at Boston Globe