September 29, 2010
The Delorme PN-60W is the first of its kind; a GPS linked to the SPOT satellite communicator that enables you to send location information as well as short messages (think SMS) to others in the outside world no matter where you are on earth (well almost anywhere - See the SPOT coverage). Try that with your mobile phone! We think the capability is pretty cool, and apparently so does Popular Mechanics because they recognized it as one of the best products of 2010 (is the year over yet?)
The PN-60W joins a pretty good group of winners including the Nissan Leaf electric car, the Chevy Volt, and a pretty amazing compound mitre saw from Bosch.
More cool products like the Delorme PN-60W at Popular Mechanics
September 29, 2010
Waze has released some interesting data that shows their Social Driving groups are popular among users, and are starting to form around traffic and commuters most often, hopefully helping to solve a major headache for so many consumers.
Social Driving doesn't mean chatting with your friends in the back seat on the way to a party Saturday night; here it means joining a Waze Group with people you probably don't know. over 1.5 million users are using the free mapping and navigation application that is available for popular smart phones, and their recent release of their social driving groups
is spawning some interesting behavior.
Waze has released a case study that shows a full 70% of the 4,199 groups revolve around commuting, while a significant number of them also focus on other aspects of "people like me" - like employee groups or others with the same type of car model.
Today Waze is also announcing and publicizing the formation of two special custom user groups: One for the Statesman - the Austin TX newspaper, and NBC2 in Southern Florida. With this, expect Waze to be the system that enables easy reporting of traffic incidents and other problems in the metro area while keeping informed from others in the social group.
I have been using Waze on and off lately, and find it interesting and intriguing with its game-like incentives, and its feeds from other users in my area. I like the potential for reporting of police traps, and accidents that haven't hit the traffic systems yet. I have seen others reporting police traps on the road I was traveling, and have been thanked through the Waze chat system from others who appreciated my instant incident reports. I have found the maps getting better and better over the last few months, and have contributed to the new road listings in my area. The App is still growing its confidence in teh roads, and I would rate it better for daily local use than for long distance use where you might have a bigger chance of dealing with map quality issues.
September 27, 2010
Garmin is teaming up with Mountain Dynamics SnowRanger ski resort maps to create skiing editions of their popular handheld GPS units. Paper maps are so 1985 when you have an electronic option available, especially a GPS that can tell you distance skied and max elevation. So, while this isn't a big departure from what types of data are available on a regular handheld, having the mountain maps available on the GPS is a nice addition to the day, especially if you are skiing some of the bigger mountain in the Rockies or over in Europe. The maps offer the lifts, the trail difficulty, and even insight into the topography through contour lines or shading.
"Both have a built-in 3-axis electronic compass, which shows where you're heading even when you’re standing still, without holding them level. And a barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude. When you’ve finished on the slopes you can review, relive and replay your runs at the free worldwide online community, Garmin Connect"
Full Press Release Below......
Continue reading: "Garmin: Pair of Skiing GPS Units - Dakota 20 and Oregon 450"
September 27, 2010
I tweeted about this last week (Follow us on Twitter) but thought I would add the news here; Garmin is adding to its bicycling mecca of capabilities in buying power meter upstart MetriGear, who is readying the Vector power meter for a pending market launch. The ANT+ based power meter will add to the cadence and heart rate monitor sensors that report back to the Edge family of bike computers.
The Vector solution is a pedal based product that houses the sensor and an externally mounted battery pack, allowing it to go about 20 hours between charges, and can easily be moved from bike to bike according to their website. The power meters are currently designed for road bikes and will provide a steady stream of power output +/- 1.5% along your ride. Of course, Garmin Connect will be handling the data set and analysis of your trips. Sounds like a solid addition to the Garmin franchise that has seen a strong surge of support with their Garmin Bike Team sponsorship, their consistent product launches, and their continued positive business results in the fitness segment.
More at Garmin Blog
September 22, 2010
TomTom is bringing a long list of favorites to the PND Voice market including Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam among others. The iconic characters will cost $12.95 and easily download to your TomTom through TomTom HOME. The voices come as a set of recorded directions and will offer you non-text to speech directions, so while the sounds recordings are going to offer you some fun, they won't be telling you the name of the street ahead.
The Looney Tunes group joins other great voices from the Star Wars collection.
Full Press Release below.....
Continue reading: "TomTom Looney Tunes Voices - Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Pepe Le Pew"
There is almost no end to the things you can do with a smartphone these days, and GPS tracking for fitness activities is a popular use for these increasingly sophisticated applications. The iPhone has a pack full or fitness applications, and now there is an easy way to get your heart rate monitor (HRM) data into the iPhone App with the Fisica Fitness Key or the Fisica Fitness Case from Wahoo Fitness.
The Fisica ANT+ compatible receivers can pull in HRM, Cadence, and foot pod data into numerous applications across the fitness category in what appears to be a new standard for App developers. Already there are more than three dozen applications that use the Fisica adapter technology, with more on the way.
- Fisica Fitness Key - plugs right in the bottom of your iPhone/iPod Touch to pull in the fitness sensor data. The fitness key is available now.
- Fisica Fitness Case - wraps your iPhone in a water resistant storm proof case that also acts as a mount. The case ships in November.
Because the Fisica receivers are ANT+ compatible, they work well in a growing community of sensor products including: Garmin, Timex, Cycle-ops, SRM, Metrigear, Adidas, Quarg, as well as their own set of Wahoo sensors.
The MapMyFitness family of Apps work with the Fisica products; I have been using the MapMyRide App (iTunes Link) more and more lately and like it a lot. It captures my rides, easily uploads them to their free website service where I can also search for other rides in my area and keep a record of my training.
More at Wahoo Fitness
Full Press Release below......
Continue reading: "Fisica Heart Rate Monitor Adapter for iPhone - Get HRM Data in Fitness Apps"
September 17, 2010
Don't know if you've heard of Shopkick yet, but it is a mobile App available for the iPhone. Shopkick is like Foursquare in that you "check-In", but it also has a game-like feel where you earn points for checking in, and for doing different tasks inside the store like scanning bar codes of marketed products, or by trying a new pair of pant on, depending on the store. What do you do with the points? Earn a lot then redeem for gift cards, or simply give them to any number of charities represented in the site.
BestBuy is an early supporter of the App, and are currently offering 10% off Car Electronics (including GPS units) when you use ShopKick and "Use" the offer in the App. To use the App, you just need to provide your phone number.... which may provide a behind the scenes link and ROI associated with your phone. Not sure, but I'll take the discount, and you should check it out too.
BestBuy is also offering 10% off Home theater, Computing, and other specific deals on specific products. See the App for full details.
Get ShopKick at the iTunes App Store
September 15, 2010
Citing the success of the iPhone App, Geocaching.com announced their Android App today, opening the doors to another huge user base who can join the millions of people finding hidden treasures out there in the wild. The critical features are carried into the Android App making it easy to find Geocaches while you are out there doing anything and everything that you do every day. Of course you need coverage to retreive the informaiton on caches that you want to go find, but once you save their information, you can hunt them down while offline using the onboard GPS.
- Search by current location, address or GC code
- Filter your finds from the Geocaching.com search results
- Access geocache details, including description, photo gallery, attributes, recent logs, hint and inventory
- Look up Trackable details, including item goals, while on the trail
- Save geocache listings, including maps and photos, for quick retrieval and offline use
- Log geocache finds and post notes in the fieldDownload active pocket queries for use while outside of network coverage
- View geocache web pages on Geocaching.com without leaving the application using embedded web browser
The geocaching Application is available for Android Platforms 1.5 and higher.
at Geocaching.com - Full press release is below.......
Continue reading: "Geocaching.com Announces Android Application"
TomTom announced a free operating system upgrade for owners of select models to give them more flexibility and control over several important functions. The models use the newer simple interface first announced in the TomTom EASE model which while easy did limit the overall usability of the product.
The changes include:
- Route Details Screen - offering you insight into what the route looks like for you ahead when navigating.
- Display Preferences Option - Allows you to customize your driving view
- Brightness setting - - why was this left out in the first place?
- Updated volume control menu
- Route Planning Preferences
- Expanded customization options
Users can connect their units to their computers and bring up TomTom HOME to download the new operating system. TomTom makes it pretty easy, so don't worry about this.
The new units will have the new operating system pre-loaded from about mid-October moving forward.
September 13, 2010
The Garmin Nuvi 885 is the Amazon Deal of the Day for $99 which is steal for this widescreen unit featuring speech recognition. Yes, you can talk to the unit to give it directions on which destination to choose. While you can't talk to it like a friend, you can give it voice commands to help keep you attention on the road, and not tapping out letters on its screen.
It also features Maps of North America, Text to Speech (Says street names), and Lane Assist/Junction view - shows you a mock image of an upcoming highway intersection with an arrow to indicate where you need to go. This makes highway driving much much easier when interchanges start getting complex.
At Amazon - Garmin Nuvi 885 Deal of the Day - $99
September 10, 2010
TomTom took a look into their database crystal ball and saw that yes, there are traffic jams at NFL games, and then there are traffic disasters. The worst locations experience a 50+% slowdown in traffic as a result of the games. I can vouch for that as we live close to Gillette Stadium, and you don't want to go near the place on game day if you aren't going to the game.
"The results of this study were calculated using data from the TomTom user community. TomTom compared anonymously contributed GPS measurements and data during the home games for each stadium for the 2009 season with data from TomTom's historical speed database, Speed Profiles(TM). Speed Profiles creates the most accurate view of historical traffic on both primary and secondary roads using data over a two year period. This data is incorporated on TomTom GPS devices as IQ Routes to guide drivers away from congestion, not only on major highways but on all routes in the road network."
If you don't have a TomTom with traffic, you can always go to their Beta Route Planning Site to take advantage of the traffic data. I checked the Sunday Morning predictions around Gillette Stadium, and they must not have that plumbed up, because there doesn't appear to be any traffic predicted ahead of the NE Pat's opener. The service is in Beta, so predictions must not be hooked up. (They are even predicting a traffic free commute out of Boston this afternoon; I don't think so). Definitely worth checking ahead of the game if you are concerned. At TomTom Route Planner
More details about the traffic jams after the jump.......
Continue reading: "NFL Games: Worst Traffic Jams DC, New England, Buffalo"
The market for Personal Navigation Devices (standalone units) has been in a downward spiral since the market peak in 2008 according to a recent Reuters article. The recession couldn't have helped as the markets reach the saturation point. As the big makers try to diversify their offerings, Garmin's move into the smartfone business has been a less than rewarding experience that clearly isn't meeting their expectations for the Nuvifone products.
As the market shrinks, prices continue to drop, although at a slowing rate. Both the prices for PND's and navigation Apps on smartphones continue to drop with significant price pressure going forward. Garmin expects a flattening of the price curve as the steep price drops year over year are a thing of the past.
More on the topic at Reuters
September 8, 2010
Bridgestone isn't the most prolific maker of ads, but they sure have some good ones; the moon vehicle that gets its tires stolen is a memorable one.
If you haven't seen the recent "GPS" one where the GPS satellite gets hit with some space junk and then an onboard GPS starts sending out some odd directions, then you should hit play below. Is it me, or does that GPS look like a Garmin?
September 7, 2010
NAVTEQ has been quietly amassing the capability to revolutionize the way we get our directions from a GPS system, making them more intuitive and easier to understand. The change is in how it offers us directions; making them more human-like or more natural, "Turn Right at the Traffic Light" instead of "Turn Right in 400 Yards". The data would be embedded in the mapping data set that also includes the street pronunciation information alongside information on the
This type of capability requires the collection, interpretation and digitization of map data that is different than the miles of roads, millions of intersections and signs that are currently in the mapping inventory. The new dataset is available in select cities, with plans to add more throughout North America in 2011. While the raw capability exists from NAVTEQ, it is still up to the GPS maker to put the feature into the GPS.
At this writing, both Garmin and Magellan use NAVTEQ maps for stand alone GPS units. Magellan's parent company, Mitac, uses TeleAtlas maps, which may change Magellan's approach to its map sourcing. Recall that NAVTEQ is owned by Nokia.
Below is a video from NAVTEQ that talks about the new mapping capability.
Continue reading: "NAVTEQ to Revolutionize the Way We Get GPS Directions"
The full press release follows after the jump.....
September 2, 2010
Garmin just announced the new Nuvi 1695, an updated connected GPS device that has a 5-inch screen. The Nuvi is connected to Garmin's branded NuLink! service, that includes data such as realtime traffic, Google Local Search, weather, fuel prices, flight status and more. They threw in a few more NuThings like NuRoute technology which offers you trafficTrends and MyTrends; two routing features that help you route around known traffic issues and allows the Nuvi to learn from your driving habits and preferred routes, giving it Yoda-like intelligence.
"The nüLink! 1695 is designed to give drivers a full variety of accurate, up-to-the-minute information that they can access quickly, on a full-size, 5-inch touchscreen display," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "When you add the power of Google Local Searches and nüRoute historical information, the nüLink! 1695 delivers the ultimate navigation experience."
The Nuvi 1695 comes loaded with information n board like phone listings and millions of Points of Interest, but also gives you the ability to access NuLink white pages and look up people and their phone number and street address. Pretty handy.
"The Garmin nüLink! traffic feature provides the best-in-class information from NAVTEQ™, a world leader in premium-quality mapping, to help customers navigate in and around congestion. "
The Nuvi 1695 also comes with available NEXRAD radar giving you insight into impending storms. This is something I've been waiting for in an auto format since Garmin launched an Aviation/Auto combo unit (GPSMAP 496) back in 2006.
The Nuvi 1695 also comes with several other features carried over to round out the offering:
- Bluetooth Handsfree
- Lane Assist with Junciton View of complex intersections to make on route decision making easier.
- Text to Speech - says street names
- ecoRoute - to help you document your mileage and save gas
Expected to be available this month, the Nuvi 1695 will retail for a street price of $449; the first year of Garmin nüLink! is free, and after that, the subscription renewal price for data services is $5.00/month.
Full Press Release after the jump......
Continue reading: "Garmin Nuvi 1695 - NuLink connected GPS - 5-Inch screen, Google Search, Traffic"
Garmin is pushing out a new pair of Nuvi lines that offer a lot of capability in a package targeted at a lower price. These Nuvis can help save time and money according to Garmin through smarter traveling on multi-stop routes and with their ecoRoute feedback to offer more economical driving patterns. All models include text to speech capabilities and millions of points of interest.
Nuvi 2200 Series - 3.5-inch screen
incorporates MyTrends - a new smart learning system that learns about your favorite desintations and the routes you like to drive on, offering a smarter way to travel. The ecoRoute capabilities are available to help offer you the green feedback to help you save gas by driving more economical routes in a more eco-friendly way.
- 2200 - standard screen display, maps of the US (48 state) plus Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and the Cayman Islands
- 2250 - adds maps of Mexico.
- 2250LT - Adds Lifetime Traffic "LT"
Nuvi 2300 Series - 4.3-inch screens
Offering a widescreen view, these units come with MyTrends and ecoRoute also, while offering some higher end features that round out the line.
- 2300 - widescreen display, maps of the US (48 state) plus Hawaii, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and the Cayman Islands
- 2350 - widescreen, adding Mexican maps.
- 2350LT - Adds lifetime traffic "LT"
- 2360LT - Adds Bluetooth Handsfree and lifetime traffic "LT" and the ability to tap into ecoRoute HD - a module that taps into the diagnostics port on your car and gives detailed performance feedback on driving habits.
Continue reading: "Garmin Nuvi 2200 and 2300 Series - Affordable and feature packed"
Full Press Release after the jump.....
September 1, 2010
If you are traveling at all this long weekend, you will probably hit some traffic. With a little work, you can either plan ahead and know what you are getting into, or see the traffic situation and plan to route around it. It's not hard, here are a couple of tips to make traveling a little easier.
1. Check out conditions at Beat the Traffic in most major metro areas. They use Inrix data for some pretty detailed accounts of roadway slowdowns. You can elect to sign up for a two week free trial for their service that will allow you to plan your regularly used routes and get updates. They also have an iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and "mobile" set of solutions to help you while you are on the road.
2. Use Traffic.com's solution to plan a route and see what the traffic conditions are before you leave. they can recommend alternates for you to consider that will make the trip faster. Type in your starting and ending addresses for turn by turn directions. At Traffic.com - It's free.
3. Download the Inrix App for iPhone or Android where you can see traffic around you while on the road. I use this in combination with a GPS to get me around the worst spots: See trouble, pan the Inrix Map to see the last exit before the congestion, use the GPS to find my way around the issue to pop back on teh highway after the back-up. (Co-pilot recommended)
4. Get a traffic Enabled iPhone Navigation App - they are not that expensive and then you add on traffic as an option. Two I like are the TomTom (iTunes Link) and Navigon. TomTom US costs $49, and has an in App Traffic subscription for $20. Navigon has a Regional option (MyRegion) for only $29 and an annual traffic subscription (in App Purchase) for $20 also. Both give you traffic in and around major metro areas. I like having an iPhone navigation app because it's with me all of the time. These Apps download the maps so they don't need connectivity for navigation but do for traffic updates.
5. Buy a traffic enabled GPS - there are a ton out there, but two that are worth checking out are the TomTom XL 335TM (widescreen, text to speech, lifetime free map updates and traffic alerts - $129 right now), and the brand new Garmin Nuvi 3790T (super slim new design, landscape or portrait views, multi-touch display with advanced features and free traffic updates). Again these traffic updates are for most major metro areas and download over the FM band, so they are a little less detailed, but cover major roadways.
UPDATE: THURSDAY ONLY - Amazon Deal of the Day: TomTom XL 335T for $119 - Lifetime Traffic updates, but not lifetime map updates.
6. Leave in the middle of the night - way less fun; I recommend one of the other options.