August 31, 2010
I wanted to highlight a few GPS units that might help you out this weekend if you are hitting the road. I have been offering advice on some cheaper units that can help out wayward travelers looking for a good deal. You can always venture into Refurbs for the best deal, but some are not interested in the risk.
Garmin Nuvi 255W - widescreen go-to unit that is right-priced at $119 at BestBuy right now as well as Amazon. See my review for more information but the unit covers most needs with a good set of features, namely widescreen, good maps and text to speech. And no, this unit isn't part of the recall.
TomTom Widescreen Best Bets Depending on the outlet:
At Amazon - The TomTom XL 325S
- a widescreen text to speech unit offering maps of the US. On sale for $114.
At BestBuy - TomTom XL 335 LE - Widescreen, Text to Speech unit that should be available for store pick-up (backordered online) - Price is $129
August 27, 2010
Garmin has announced a great looking new Edge 800 GPS based touchscreen bike computer that looks to be a big step up in capabilities, notable adding Birdseye satellite imagery and touchscreen capabilities. The Edge 800 interacts with Garmin Basecamp software where you can plan rides and then download them to the Edge 800. If your ride partners have a wireless capable GPS, you can then beam the route to them via Garmi's wireless sharing feature. Compatible Fitness units include the Edge 705 and 605, along with the Garmin Oregon series, Dakota 20 and the older Colorado series handheld units.
I use a Colorado 400t when biking to which I have added City Navigator NT maps so I can navigate roads. Sure it's big, but it handles on and off road biking nicely. With a heart rate monitor and a handlebar mount I can ride, explore and always navigate home. This summer I have been using the Birdseye satellite imagery when I ride and have found that I have come to depend on it. The experience is much better when I can navigate across roads with the satellite imagery versus the regular City NT street maps. The context gives you a better sense of what's around you and where you are in your ride. I see the addition of the Birdseye imagery as a positive step for the Edge series.
On top of the Birdseye satellite imagery, the Edge 800 will come with a long list of capabilities that people have come to expect on a bike computer. The Edge 800 accurately tracks speed, distance, time, GPS position, elevation, calories burned, climb and descent. The Edge 800 syncs with garmin Heart Rate Monitors, and cadence sensors plus third party power meters all through their ANT+ wireless technology. Further, the Edge 800 has a barometric altimeter for extra sensitive ascent and descent readings.
You Mountain bike? Add TOPO maps for a good offroad look and feel of where you are going. Yea it will work and bring back all the data you'd come to expect.
Available for $449 in a standalone model, and a $649 bundle that adds City Navigator NT street maps, their new Heart Rate Monitor strap and cadence sensors.
Read an early review by BikeRadar and see the Garmin Product Page for the Edge 800
August 26, 2010
I am a pretty avid biker, mostly road biking but a fair amount of mountain biking too. When I reviewed the Edge 705, I thought it was a data hound's dream. Mapping, data capture and the ability to easily see all kinds of information at your fingertips; speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, and climb and descent.
Once you ride, you can come back, download the ride to your computer and participate in the Garmin Connect Community; share rides, track your training and more.
REI has a Labor Day Sale on Starting TOMORROW for a Garmin 705 Deluxe Bundle - Heart Rate Monitor, wireless Cadence monitor, Street Maps for the US, and a pair of mounts (Road and mountain Bike!). The Price is $519, down from $649.
August 26, 2010
Yes, it's true, Garmin has a recall on for some units from the following model numbers: 200W, 250W, 260W and the 7XX series (where the XX are two numbers). The recall stems form a battery issue from one of their suppliers where the battery can overheat. The recall will include up to 1.3 million units.
Garmin has a special recall page set up to check if your model is in the batch of units that are being recalled by looking up the serial number.
If your Nuvi is one that has the problem battery, you can print out a shipping label, ship it back to Garmin where they will insert a new battery, and return the unit to you.
More information at Garmin Nuvi Recall
August 25, 2010
Cobra has been doing their homework and rolled a long list of features into their new GPS for Truckers, the Cobra 7750 Platinum GPS. Not only does it include classic consumer capabilities like junction views, lane assist, and multi-point routing, but it also includes a long list of truck specific capabilities.
Extensive map coverage for truckers offering state milage log, truck Points of Interest (major travel service centers with amenity listings), commercial service information for help with mechanical issues, multiple routing options based on truck type and load including 30 restriction types and more.
The unit has a 7-inch screen and retails for a suggested price of $499. It should be available in travel centers by October 1 according their website.
More at the Cobra 7750 Platinum Product Page on the Cobra Website
August 24, 2010
Garmin is giving away a Garmin Nuvi 3790T beginning this week for the next 5 weeks. We've got the Nuvi 3790T in for review, and from what I can tell, you want to win this GPS. Advanced, sleek, and very capable.
1) Follow @Garmin on Twitter (While you're at it, follow us too. - won't help in the contest, but it's always good to hear from GPSLodge right?)
2) Retweet their weekly message from the Olathe HQ - this week it's #SlimGarmin3790
3) Check their tweets on Friday and Retweet the key phrase to enter for the next week (contest resets every week)
4) Two winners per week.
5) Full Details - Garmin Blogs
Chances look pretty good - by my count there are a little over 600 people entered so far.
August 22, 2010
The Garmin Nuvi 3790T
was part of the 3700 series announcement back in the spring
, and sits prominently at the top of the Garmin Nuvi line. The Nuvi 3790T offers all of the features you'd expect to have at the top of a GPS line including traffic, text to speech, Bluetooth handsfree capability, advanced lane guidance, as well as a new feature that offers to learn your driving habits to locations you frequent.
feature starts to learn your shortcuts and driving routes so that the Nuvi 3790T becomes smarter the more you drive with it. We'll be testing it out over the coming weeks and get a full review up soon.
The multi-touch screen allows you to zoom and pan like you do on an iPhone, you can name your Nuvi so it will recognize when you are talking to it and issuing a few voice commands, and it will auto-switch from portrait to landscape view depending on your preference. The Nuvi Mount also has an internal amplified speaker to give you louder and clearer commands while driving.
In the meantime, check out our unboxing video for a look at the device and some of the features too.
The Garmin 3700 series is now shipping at Amazon:
More Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series Information
For More Information see the Garmin Nuvi 3700 series mini-site or the compare the Garmin Nuvi 3700 Series at the Garmin website.
It's hard to keep in mind that all of these gadgets can get you into trouble as well as getting you out of trouble. Having a GPS in hand while traveling the backcountry isn't so bad, but being able to use it is better. What's even better than that? Having a map and compass as a back-up.
In an article today, the Boston Globe details a few mishaps due to over-use or over-reliance on technology. Some of it is just plain stupidity. while not all of their anecdotes point to a GPS, it is a good reminder to keep a good head on your shoulders, respect nature and use back-up systems when electronics sit between you and difficult consequences.
Ten things to keep in mind when going on a hike with a GPS
- Make sure you know how to use the GPS and how to return to your starting point. Mark your starting point, lodge, ranger station and car with waypoints that are named correctly. It will make navigating back to them easier.
- Make sure everyone knows how to navigate using the GPS. Don't be the only one.
- Bring extra batteries for all of the electronics.
- Bring a map and compass - and better yet, know how to use them. If needed bring a tour book/ trail book - they can summarize the trail system and offer tips on local shelters if needed.
- Plan your hike and hike your plan. (Ripped that off from when I took SCUBA classes) When planning, it's important to know what you are getting into; trail types, weather exposure, vertical ascent, overall distance, water crossings are all things to consider when matching the hike to the group's capabilities.
- Leave that hike plan with someone. If you don't show back up, they will know where to start looking.... because you hiked that plan right? Leave a copy of the plan in your car at the trailhead if not with another person.
- Bring the right clothing, water and food; and then some extra. When we hike the White Mountains, I am reminded to be humble when I recall the book "Not Without Peril " which details how under-prepared, and/or over-egoed trekers got into trouble in the Presidential Range and died. I can't tell you how many people I see walking up Mt Washington in shorts and a T-Shirt swinging a 20 ounce bottle as they hike.... wait a minute, I think that's also a chapter in the book.
- Know when to turn back - just because you planned to summit, doesn't mean that you have to when there are people in your party who clearly can't make it or the weather turns bad.
- Bring a first aid kit; they can be small enough to fit in a Day Pack pocket and still be of good use on a hike.
- Have fun - GPS units can make hiking a lot more reliable and accessible when used smartly. It's made hiking a lot more enjoyable and safe for us. As a result we are out hiking even more.
More on that article at the Boston Globe
Some of my favorite Handheld GPS units are: The Garmin eTrex Legend HCx
, The Garmin Dakota 20
, The Garmin Oregon 400t
, the new Garmin GPSMap 62St
, the Delorme PN-40
and the new Delorme PN-60W
August 18, 2010
Following up on my post yesterday, is some confirmation that there is a large audience of users out there who want and are open to discounts while on the go through their mobile phones. The discounts would be delivered through Location based Services - from Apps to ads on their mobile phones.
JiWire is reporting that 39% of mobile users find discounts as the most appealing ads while on the go are discount coupons. Ads that are location specific, and targeted offer immediate, relevant and actionable opportunities that matter to consumers.
- A majority of users want location specific ads
- 36% of the on-the-go audience are interested in receiving locaiton based ads about stores that are close to them
- 47% of men and 40% of women said that they were more likely to engage in an ad if it was relevant to their location
- While 57% of 25-34 year olds would share their location for more relevant ads, only 24% of 65+ would - not surprising, but dramatically different nonetheless.
"The context of a location, rather than just a point on a map, provides the most relevant understanding of a consumer," said David Staas, senior vice president of marketing at JiWire. "People today are demanding much more localized content as they spend more time on the go, creating a great opportunity for advertisers. Just as brands were challenged with how to 'socialize' themselves in the social media space, today brands need to think about how to 'localize' themselves with their consumers."
As Apps like Fourquare, Facebook (pending), and Gowalla move to offer location specific merchandising and discounts, their market might will continue to rise given the receptivity outlined from the jiWire results. What will be more impressive is when generic ads start becoming more and more obviously location specific in their execution to capitalize on these findings.
Top Location-Based Applications
- GPS/Google Maps
- Around Me
- Wi-Fi Finder
- Restaurant Finder
- Urban Spoon
All data - source - JiWire - Q2 2010
More at JiWire
August 17, 2010
According to a few sources including All things D, Facebook is expected to announce location based services and networking tomorrow. Beyond the "I am here" while posting capability, the idea that you could roll in some Foursquare and Gowalla fun to the launch is interesting. While Facebook is fairly well understood by many to be the social app that kills all other social apps, Foursquare and Gowalla are not as well known.
Foursquare and Gowalla are social "games" that allow you to "Check in" at various locations, businesses, parks, etc using a mobile phone that is GPS enabled. You score points for that check-in and can leave tips, notes or comments about the business, while showing off to your friends your coolness by hitting all the latest locales. Both games have feeds to your Facebook page so you can show off there too. If you are the leader in checking in at a particular location, you can become the "Mayor" of that business, gaining you a special badge in the game and sometimes a discount offered only to the mayor.
Business Driver - Finally
Location based ads have been in the dreams of many futurists. Finally, there is some location based business developments that are worth paying attention to.
Foursquare has been somewhat successful at getting businesses to offer coupons to visitors who check in there. I recently got 3 cones for $3 at a Ben and Jerry's when the regular price was about $3 each. I didn't plan on stopping by there on a hot afternoon, but while checking in somewhere else, I got a pop-up that indicated that there was an offer nearby. Great way to advertise a business on there. With over 100 million "Check-ins" and an ad deal with Bravo TV, Foursquare isn't just some CrApp that can be tossed in the trash, and appears to be on its way to the mainstream among a younger audience.
Last weekend, The Gap offered all users of Foursquare who Checked In a 25% discount on merchandise. Pretty good for the Gap and pretty good for Foursquare users.
Facebook Advantage - Scale, Established Relationships
With Facebook wading into location based social networking, there has to be an element of social ranking among strangers and friends in the new features. The advantage for Facebook would be that thousands of businesses already have a relationship with their service offering a Facebook Page where they can post information about their locations, hours of operation and details about products and services creating a stronger relationship with their customers. With a half a billion people using the application/service worldwide, Facebook is a great place to reach potential users of your service, especially if local offers are rolled into the capabilities.
Look for a crush of media reaction tomorrow if/when this rolls out.
Boston.com did a quick video on mapping with a NAVTEQ truck this morning, and in there you get an idea of what the work might be like. I rode along with a TeleAtlas van a few years ago and saw the power of these mapping vehicles, from their sophisticated GPS tracking capabilities to track which lane you rode in to the cameras that captured the road signs all being stored in the onboard servers.
Mapping and data collection has come a long way, and is not without controversy, as Google is embroiled in a struggle with an ever growing list of organizations and governments over its StreetView capabilities as it maps new roads and captures street level images as it goes.
August 16, 2010
So I liked Atlas Shrugged, but I don't think I would drive over 12,000 miles to "write" Read Ayn Rand with a GPS Logger ticking away the miles so I could display my passion for the author on Google Earth, but that's what Nick Newcomen did recently. He's a fan and wants to urge others to read the influential author's works. You can view it in Google Earth yourself at his site.
He used a Qstarz BT-Q1000X data logger, switching it on and off as he drove to write the letters. Starting in Texas, he wrote "RAND" first according to Wired. Glad he's a fan, I wonder if he drove through Galt's Gulch in Colorado on his trip?
More at Wired
August 13, 2010
Navigon has its iPhone Apps on sale now in in the iTunes store to celebrate its one year anniversary of launching the Mobile Navigator. Hard to believe that it was just a year ago that all of these navigation Apps blew into town, but it's true. Navigon has over a million iPhone users worldwide and is the number one grossing App in the iTunes store - according to their recent tweet.
So the Navigon MobileNavigator North America is 50% off at $39, while the Navigon MobileNavigator US is $24 and finally the Navigon Regional Apps (East, Central and West) for only $14. I mean at that price they are so cheap you have to get one.
I like the Navigon iPhone App a lot and have used it a fair amount over the last year. They have upgraded the features steadily, and offer an in-app purchase of traffic services (also discounted at half off for $12 a year) that gives you Inrix based data for commuting through traffic and hopefully avoiding some of the headaches associated with it.
So while I have a half dozen navigational options at my fingertips at any one time, the Apps for the iPhone have been great, and a life saver when I find myself out with friends and they don't have a GPS. Better hurry - this sale lasts until Sunday.
Via CNet and Navigon
According to Defense industry Daily, a small business owner from California received a $6.6 million order for 1,462 Garmin GPSMAP 696 unit as well as some training software. The units are going to both the Army and the Navy. The GPSMAP 696 is an aviation unit offering a large sunlit readable display, offers chart capability and for an extra price (to consumers) weather radar overlay. The weather radar is through an XM satellite subscription, so there can also be over 170 channels of music and sports too.
So that has to make your day if you are the brand manager for Garmin Aviation.....
From Defense Industry Daily - thanks Jim for sending this in.
August 10, 2010
Waze is updating its application so that you can join a social group and learn from others like you about deals on gas, traffic issues on your regular route, best shortcuts around regular problems. You imagine it and you could probably source it from the crowd.
Waze is a cool little application that sources its information from the crowd - mapping, traffic issues, and more. If you want to learn more about Waze, check out their website for a guided tour of the product, how it works and what its benefits are.
At iTunes - waze App (iTunes Link)
The Full Press Release is below........
Continue reading: "Waze Upgrade - Social Group Driving - Learn From Others Like You"
Got a good Tweet today from DeLorme on some folks biking and paddling the coast of Alaska and updating with the Delorme PN-60W via the SPOT satellite communicator. If you want to follow the trek, follow their Tweets or check into their Blog, Biking the Lost Coast, where they have also listed some details about their trip including gear. From their website, the basic plan is this:
* Depart Bozeman, MT for Seattle, on to Anchorage, then Cordova and finally Yakutat, AK. Bikes in tow.
* Monday morning we'll assemble our bikes and get our gear ready.
* A quick stop at Alsek Air Service to drop off our re-supply package.
* Begin riding.
6-9 Days Later
* Roll into Cape Yakataga where we'll pick-up our supply drop; food, fresh clothing and some spare parts if needed. The package is being flown in by Alsek Air Service and left in a bear-proof container.
6-9 Days Later
* Arrive in Cordova, AK.
* Take a ferry from Cordova back to Anchorage.
* Fly back to Bozeman, MT.
Looks like fun.
August 9, 2010
Passing along a very reasonable review of the new TomTom XL 350TM, the widescreen unit that offers not only Text to Speech, a whole stable full of features and free lifetime traffic and map updates. I suspect that the latter is offered as a nice outcome of TomTom buying map maker TeleAtlas. Out of date maps used to be an issue, and both TeleAtlas and NAVTEQ have made it a point in recent years to fix outages and up the frequency of available updates. TomTom now offers quarterly updates free with this unit.
Anyway, the TomTom XL 350 TM is very capable unit with not only free map updates but lifetime traffic alerts if you live in a city covered by the FM based service. FM-based traffic alerts are not as detailed or as informative as ones offered over the mobile phone networks due to a lack of bandwidth. They are a good indicator of issues that you don't suspect, but if you need a PhD in trafficology, you'll need a more sophisticated system. The unit is judged as a "Very Competent Navigator" in the About.com, knocking it only for the lack of Handsfree calling, a feature offered on the higher end "GO" series.
Available at Amazon - the TomTom XL 350TM
ReadMore on the TomTom XL 350 TM at About.com
August 6, 2010
TomTom has a pretty good deal running for the TomTom 340S LIVE connected, widescreen GPS - $129. The LIVE service is free for the first three months and provides a series of features including high quality traffic service, fuel price search, local search powered by Google, as well as local weather. A great price if you are commuting through traffic and you need higher quality traffic feeds than a standard RDS model that has limited bandwidth across the FM spectrum.
At Amazon - TomTom XL 340S Live Internet Connected GPS
August 5, 2010
TomTom is linking up with Localeze to provide a more detailed set of Points of Interest (POI) for users of their Portable Navigation Devices and Navigation software products. Localeze currently provides 14 million local search business listings, including nearly 600,000 verified and managed by local businesses to more than 100 local search platform and application partners. this certainly plugs a gap between the roughly 6 million that many providers manage to offer almost anything that hits the map. Now, keeping that updated will certainly be a challenge. Crowdsourcing is nothing new to TomTom as they let users help correct map errors. Localeze uses crowdsourcing to an extent by letting businesses upload their own details to keep the database current.
The data should be incorporated sometime in 2011.
via TomTom Tweet
Full press release after the jump.....
Continue reading: "TomTom teams up with Localeze - Enhanced POI Lists"
August 4, 2010
DeLorme has the PN-60 unit out and for sale in the wild after its announcement earlier this year, while also actively taking orders for their cool new SPOT enabled PN-60W unit at their website.
While the PN-60 (pictured above) does not have the satellite capabilities that the PN-60W has, it's no slouch. The color screen, 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, ability to download satellite images onto the screen to navigate across the landscape more easily, paperless geocaching and a cool ambient light sensor to automatically set the screen brightness in order to save on the battery life.
The PN-60W (pictured right) is a step beyond with SPOT technology where the SPOT technology allows you to send messages out via SMS, Twitter or Facebook to friends and family in the "outside" world even when you are out of range of mobile phone service. The system seems like a must-have for any serious back country adventurer and those who venture out on weekend warrior status into the wild. The service costs money and there are various plans available from annual subscriptions for basic services $99 a year, Track Progress $49 a year or $49 a year for 500 type and send messages down to a la carte messages at $0.50 each; not a terrible cost considering the communicate almost anywhere capability (See SPOT Coverage).
See the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 at Amazon or pre-order the Delorme PN-60W at Delorme
: Now DeLorme has a video out on the PN-60W, how it works and all the awesome corners of the earth you can take it to.
Continue reading: "DeLorme releases the PN-60 and Talks Up the PN-60W "
Garmin had what amounts to a pretty good quarter with all product segments achieving growth on some level - off from the teeth rattling growth of years past, but pretty good considering the weak economy, the surge of mobile phone based navigation and determined competition. While the auto segment sales were only up 2%, the Outdoor Fitness area was up 32% behind strong promotion this past quarter of the older Forerunner 305, and the newer models of the Forerunner including the Forerunner 405, Forerunner 110, as well as the Edge 500.
Geographically sales in the established markets of the US and Europe were not the hot spots with revenue up 4% and 14% respectively, whereas sales in Asia were up 37%; too bad that represents less than 10% of their business. Finally sales on a unit basis were up 8%.
Garmin lowered their outlook for the rest of the year citing currency exchange factors and a lowered automobile segment forecast. The latter partially driven by the continued lowering of prices in that segment by about 5% - 10%.
August 2, 2010
The Garmin Nuvi 255W has been a solid performer since its introduction two years ago, and its feature set combined with the lack of cutting edge expensive features make it the right choice for most GPS users out there. Here are five reasons why:
1. Big Name Maker - Garmin is one of the pioneers in navigation and one of the largest globally. It sells a quality product, has the support infrastructure and will be there to provide technical expertise, product support, software updates and new map releases when you need them. In short a name you can trust. they aren't the only ones out there, but it should be a factor you need to consider.
2. Text to Speech - it speaks road names and tells you what street to turn onto. It makes a difference and most new GPS models have them, but many lower priced models don't. It makes a difference when you need it most, when you are navigating in areas you aren't familiar with.
3. Widescreen (4.3-inch) unit - The Nuvi 255W is in the widescreen class offering 70% more screen real estate than the standard 3.5-inch models. This provides much easier data input (bigger keys to type on and a QWERTY keyboard layout that smaller screens can't offer (They offer the frustrating ABC layout), and let's face it, a bigger screen is better when traveling down the road at 40+MPH. Some of the newer 5-inch screens are great too, but cost significantly more.....(see #5 below).
4. "Just Right" Feature Set - It's not too little, but more importantly it's not too much. There are newer models that have traffic alerts, connected search, and more that aren't on the list of must-haves for most users. More features, require paying more, and most people aren't into it these days.
5. Price - With the most popular spot on Amazon's list of car navigators going to the Nuvi 255W most of the time in the last year( Top GPS Sellers at Amazon), the volume is driving the price down to a very reasonable level - about $110 these days. For most people that's an affordable level. If not, consider the refurbished one at about $90. If you can wait, Amazon offers free shipping on these units. This is usually at or well below a competitive model's price for similar features.
If you are a die-hard commuter (needs traffic updates), RV-Driver (Need larger screen), or someone who wouldn't get caught dead with a two-year old piece of technology, then the Nuvi 255W is probably not for you. For the rest of the world, it is probably just right.
Available at Amazon
- Garmin Nuvi 255W
or Garmin Nuvi 255W (Factory Refurbished)