May 2, 2008

Nuvifone - at AT&T Testing the $500 Price Point


Engadget had this story yesterday on Garmin testing Nuvifone ideas and potentially price points. Typically this type of concept testing is done far in advance by the maker of the product to test out features and designs, and yes price points. At this stage in the game, this concept is probably checking out the appeal of the carrier, the wireless features and the price point of the phone.

The $500 price tag is not so outrageous now, but Apple, who is rumored to be putting real GPS capability into the next generation of the iPhone, is also working with AT&T. Now a recent BusinessWeek article speculated about AT&T dropping the price on the iPhone as a way to spur on demand in this sluggish economy. That $500 price point for the Nuvifone all of a sudden would be pretty expensive in comparison.

Thanks Jim for sending this in.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 30, 2008

Garmin Earning Up 35%; Stock Down

These are some crazy times; Garmin's earnings were up against last year, but not up enough for the stock market to feel comfortable, and as a result, Garmin's stock lost a few bucks after teh earnings announcement. To be clear, the earnings were the best Garmin ever had, and sales are up 35% overall, with 43% increase in automotive sales, 30% in Marine sales, 19% increase in Aviation sales, and a 16% increase in Fitness/Outdoor sales. Garmin also cited their strategy of distributor acquisition in Europe as a main reason for gaining sales there.

The problems come when Wall Street expected more from them, and from the fact that operating margins shrank, meaning that prices are shrinking faster than costs versus a year ago.

CEO Min Kao said
"We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, particularly given the general slowdown in the global economy. Demand for our automotive/mobile products continued beyond the traditionally strong fourth quarter holiday season, with another quarter of robust triple-digit growth. While the first quarter is typically our slowest quarter, we were
nonetheless able to achieve healthy growth in each of our business segments and each geographic area."

Read the full press release (pdf)

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April 28, 2008

Garmin 700 Series Standard on New Suzuki SX4

Garmin announced today that they are going to have a Garmin Nuvi 700 series as standard equipment on the Suzuki SX4 starting this summer. The unit will have a mount integrated in the dash but still allow the unit to be taken out and used elsewhere. An upgrade is avilable that will bring the functionality of the Nuvi to the level of the Nuvi 780, complete with MSN Direct capabilities (More information see my Nuvi 780 Full Review), like gas prices as well as Handsfree Bluetooth calling.

Suzuki is enhancing the unit's POI database by adding a number of lifestyle-oriented, Suzuki-recommended destinations and landmarks to the system. These locations include hip music venues, popular surf spots, offbeat road trip attractions and other activity-focused destinations that are clearly marked with a Suzuki "Way of Life" icon on the navigation screen. A dedicated community site will also be launched to support the sharing and downloading of user-generated recommendations for destinations and drive routes among Suzuki SX4 owners.

Press release after the jump.....

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Garmin Edge 705 - First Impressions


We have been lucky to have some great weather up here near Boston - and I took advantage of it the other day to go for a shake-down ride on my bike; the first of the season, and the first with the Edge 705. The Garmin Edge 705 is probably one of the more long awaited pieces of biking gear that has hit the market in a while. I have been hoping for one for a LONG time, wanting color maps, navigation, bike computer functions with heart rate monitor capabilities. The wireless sharing aspect and the ability to send data to friends has been on that wish list too.

The Edge 705 does all of this, color mapping and navigation so you can ride to your heart's content on back roads without missing a turn, all keeping a solid lock on satellites with a high sensitivity receiver. The Edge 705 has ANT+Sport wireless short range capability that allows you to add Heart Rate Monitors (HRM), cadence and power meters to your accessory list, to capture even more data to track and analyze. The ANT wireless technology allows you to send routes to others in your group, like virtual cue sheets for the day's ride.

So how did things work out on the first ride of the year?

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

April 23, 2008

Cheap Nuvi 660 - A Traffic Alert Revolution?


I have been a big fan of Traffic Alerts for a long time, and here at GPS Lodge, we think that getting saved just a few times a year is worth the money you will pay for the subscription rates. I have seen absolute nightmares on the highways around Boston in my commuting that would have tied me up for hours if I didn't get the alerts to bad traffic ahead. A detour on surface roads and through some rural towns got me home on a little longer timeline than normal, but nothing compared to the traffic jam on the highway. In the end, I was sitting at home while others without a GPS were probably still sitting in traffic.

The Garmin Nuvi 660 has been at the top of a lot of Best Buy type lists for a long time, and for the last few months, it's been at the top GPS seller at Amazon. Integrated TMC Traffic comes with the Nuvi 660, as well as a free 3 month subscription to traffic alerts.

Thousands of people are buying the Nuvi 660 simply for the fact that it's a great buy; widescreen, text-to-speech and maps of North America wrapped up by one of the best user interfaces around. Could this turn into thousands of subscribers to TMC Traffic? The TMC revolution could be around the corner with thousands of converts buying it for it's price and other features, only to realize the quality of life benefits for not too much money.

More Information - My Full Review of the Garmin Nuvi 660

At Amazon - Garmin Nuvi 660

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April 21, 2008

Garmin Forerunner 405 - Available for Pre-Order


Happy Patriots Day (observed), the day the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired, the whole, One if by land, Two if by sea, Lexington Green and Old North Bridge thing happened; if you don't know what I am talking about, skip the "Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?" auditions. It's also the day the Red Sox play a morning Game to finish up just as the Boston Marathon is starting to pour its main pack of runners into the Back Bay of Boston near the finish.

It's also the coming out party for the Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS enabled fitness watch. Knowing that the Boston Marathon was their launch party, I love whoever set the Forerunner 405 for the above picture - Monday 4/21, the day of the Boston Marathon, and 9:35AM, the start time for the elite women. Brilliant nod to the Boston runners..

Most other people will be stirring around Hopkinton, MA where the runners will be hydrating and keeping warm ahead of their starts.

The Forerunner 405 interacts with a touchscreen, reminiscent of the iPhone. Gestures and swirls control the interface and give you the ability to create new workouts or access their workout history. You can also share wirelessly - the Forerunner 405 can share your locations, advanced workouts and courses wirelessly with other Forerunner 405 users. Now you can send your favorite workout to your buddy to try, or compete against a friend's recorded course. Sharing data is easy. Just select "transfer" to send your information to nearby units.

At Amazon for Pre-Order - Garmin Forerunner 405

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April 18, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 770 - Engadget Editor and Reader's Choice


The Garmin Nuvi 770 was voted Engadget Editor and Reader's choice this year for GPS unit. The Nuvi 770 is part of the newer design generation in the widescreen format. Loaded with North American and Euro maps, the unit is ready to roll. The feature that makes the unit in my mind, and one that may only help every now and then, but is great is the ability to let the unit optimize the order of several stops to shorten the time on the road. Great if you are running around town, near home or in a strange city.

I thought the Nuvi 760 was great when I reviewed it last year - See My Full Review, and the only change from the 760 to the 770 is the addition of the Euro maps.

At Amazon - Garmin Nuvi 770

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 10, 2008

Garmin Edge 705 Unboxing - Bike GPS


The Garmin Edge 705 is shipping, and is ready for spring rides as we speak. As the weather gets warmer, I expect to jump on the bike and try this out, complete with the Heart Rate Monitor and cadence sensor.

GarminEdge7051st.jpg Snug in the packaging the Edge 705 awaits....

All accessories are well wrapped too.

Peek inside and under the bubble wrap after the jump......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 7, 2008

Garmin Nuvi 5000 - Now Shipping


The Garmin Nuvi 5000 is on the market, and is available for a big dash near you. The Nuvi with the 5.2-inch screen has a lot of the valuable attributes that re well-loved by the thousands of current Nuvi owners. Dead easy interface, Maps of North America, Text to speech, route optimizaiton and MSN Direct-2 capabilities. Those MSN Direct capabilities are also found on teh Nuvi 780 that I just reviewed, and that I liked a lot. The service offers traffic, gas prices, news stocks, local events, and weather. While the service costs $49 a year after the free 3 months, the gas prices service could save you that much in a year. I saw as much as a ten cent per gallon difference near my; multiply that by the number of gallons I burn a year, and the MSN service is free.

Anyway, check out the Garmin Nuvi 5000 at Amazon is a couple of hundred bucks less than Circuit City these days.....

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 4, 2008

Garmin Edge 705 Bike GPS Now Shipping


The Garmin Edge 705 is now shipping for spring riding. The GPS equipped bike computer is a very well outfitted device. With its ANT+ Sport wireless technology it can talk to the cadence and speed sensor, your heart rate monitor and even a power meters if you have a compatible one. Oh yea, and being a Garmin GPS enabled device, you get to map out your ride with turn indications sit back and enjoy while you crank out the miles while grabbing a ton of data for fitness analysis. The 705 also includes a barometric altimeter for accurate ascent data capture. The unit has the ability to calculate calories burned, and has "profiles" that allow you to set it up for more than one bike.

Sync with your computer to grab the data and analyze it with the Garmin Trainer software, or upload it and participate in Garmin's Garmin Connect online community.

Meeting up with friends who have a Garmin Edge 705 also? Wirelessly share routes so you are always together when you lead the pack in the dust on the next hill climb.

The Edge 705 comes with a basemap, but by getting the package with the City Navigator Map Package, you'll have all those backroads that are great to ride on without traffic.

Stay tuned, I'll have an Unboxing of a Garmin Edge 705 here soon, as I am looking forward to getting out and riding over the next few months to try out the Edge 705.

Now Shipping at GPS Now - Garmin Edge 705

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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