January 11, 2008

Forecast: Good Deals on GPS Units

Don't know if you happen to watch the stock markets, but Wednesday, Garmin had a rocky day as an Analyst downgraded their stock. At one point the Garmin stock was trading below $68 after closing the previous day around $80. Might not matter if you don't own their stock, but the reason for the downgrade is significant to all consumers.

Apparently this analyst was making their rounds at the CES 2008 show and in talking to the different companies, they got the feeling that TomTom was going to be aggressive in their pricing and markdowns this year to acquire market share, more so than Garmin. I am not going to get into a debate about the semantics of who will be more aggressive, but the bottom line is that the GPS market is getting more competitive, more brands are hitting the marketplace trying to differentiate themselves versus some strong competition, and setting a lower price is a way to get noticed.

  • Black Friday 2006 - Mio gets the Mio C310X offered at the then unheard of price of $149; exploding onto the US market as a result.

  • Black Friday 2007 - Navigon gets the Navigon 2100t offered for $99 with lifetime traffic; result is that they are claiming to be the fastest growing GPS brand in the US. Also, more directly to this issue, TomTom gets the TomTom ONE offered for $149 everywhere and less in some places; result is that demand outstrips supply - I understand that Amazon is still fulfilling orders from December.

    Pretty safe bet that the prices will continue to spiral down, and that fierce competition ahead will keep the bottom end of the market very volatile - in other words, better prices for me and you.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking
  • January 8, 2008

    Garmin's "Bobcat" at MacWorld


    Chet over at Garmin Blog is letting a little news out that they will be announcing something at the MacWorld conference coming up here in a week. Any you thought that the whole wad was shot at the CES show?

    Garmin made a solid Mac commitment, and has steadily moved towards making everything available in a mac compatible way. Any guesses? Probably not a GPS, but something in the fitness area might be cool... "Bobcat"; a small nimble forest runner? Apple wouldn't want to kill its deal with Nike+, but the Forerunner 405 is a pretty cool unit as is. Is it something that might run on the iPhone? Garmin Mobile adapted for the iPhone? If that is true, would it need to have a bluetooth GPS receiver, or is Apple stepping up and announcing a real GPS chip for the iPhone 2?

    Re real potential is just that Garmin has adapted the Garmin Mobile PC applicaiton for the Mac; Garmin Mobile Mac anyone?

    What's your guess?

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

    January 7, 2008

    Avis Launches Updated Where2 GPS - Based on Nuvi 780

    Avis and Garmin announced that they are putting out an upgraded Where2 GPS for rental locations across the US. The unit is based on the Garmin Nuvi 780; a high end unit that is also equipped with MSN Direct services that will help business travelers get things done with traffic, weather and stock/news updates.

    In an interesting move, Avis is rolling out the ability to pre-program an SD chip using their website and when you pick up your Where2 GPS, you drop the card in it and you can now navigate to those pre-planned locations.

    ArrowContinue reading: "Avis Launches Updated Where2 GPS - Based on Nuvi 780"

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

    January 6, 2008

    Connected GPS Unit Roadmap - The Next Generation

    With the recent announcement of Magellan joining the ranks of connected GPS makers with their announcement of the Magellan Maestro Elite 5340 + GPRS, I thought it was time to take a step back and look at what's going on in the next generation of the GPS market and see how things are shaking out.

    There are four main benefits of having a connected GPS:
    1. Map Updates can be gathered from and sent down to the fleet of GPS units.
    2. Operating system updates can be sent down to the unit
    3. Traffic reporting is enhanced due primarily to the increased bandwidth and flexibility of the cellular network, and the fact that you are now a "traffic condition probe", collecting data for others to use.
    4. Connected search and interactivity of the unit to the internet to provide a more intelligent device.

    Where did it all start and what's the product map look like?

    ArrowContinue reading: "Connected GPS Unit Roadmap - The Next Generation"

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

    January 3, 2008

    CES 2008: Garmin Nuvi 260W


    Garmin announced the nuvi 260W, a simple-to-use widescreen personal navigation device (PND) that speaks street names. It's not a big surprise that since Garmin introduced the Nuvi 200/250 line and then the 200W and the 250W line, that the Nuvi 260 would be follow-up by a widescreen version too. (Um, where's the Nuvi 270W with Euro Maps?) What is too bad is that this wasn't in the mix for the Holiday 2007 season, as a lot of people are turning onto the benefits of Text to Speech and would have loved to have had this as a product to consider.

    We gave away a Garmin Nuvi 260 as part of our holiday festivities, and I think that the value line with TTS is a great product entry from a trustworthy name like Garmin.

    ArrowContinue reading: "CES 2008: Garmin Nuvi 260W"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

    CES 2008: Garmin Forerunner 405

    Garmin announced the Forerunner 405 -- the latest in Garmin's popular line of GPS-enabled fitness devices, packing powerful functions and innovative features into a compact size like none other. The smaller form factor, based on the Garmin Forerunner 50, a watch style form factor, allows for a lot of capability in a small easy to use shape. Unlike the Forerunner 50, the unit does contain a GPS chipset, and unlike any other GPS 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. Very cool.

    Below is a video from Garmin Blogs....

    ArrowContinue reading: "CES 2008: Garmin Forerunner 405"

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

    CES 2008: Garmin Colorado 400T, 400i, 400C and 300


    Garmin introduced the Colorado series of handheld GPS devices for outdoor, marine and fitness enthusiasts. With the addition of Garmin's revolutionary Rock 'n Roller(TM) wheel, you really can operate its many features with just one hand -- most with just one thumb. The devices were announced in preparation for the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This confirms the rumors posted here back in December.

    400T - ("?Topo") Geared towards the Hiker with 3D mapping perspective. - $599
    400i - (Inland Water) Shows lake and river contour lines. - $599
    400C - (Coastal) Coverage of the coastal waters for US and Bahamas. - $599
    300 - Shows a world map with shaded relief maps. - $499

    ArrowContinue reading: "CES 2008: Garmin Colorado 400T, 400i, 400C and 300"

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

    January 2, 2008

    Garmin - "The World Leader in GPS Technology"


    Motley Fool has a pretty interesting quick look at why they believe that Garmin is "the" leader in the GPS world; strongest margins, best growth rates, biggest share, etc. I am only a casual markets person, but from what I see those numbers are pretty impressive.

    What I found impressive thinking back is the growth rate that has been sustained on Garmin (and other's) sales for the last few years (Check out some old Earnings Announcements); essentially ever since I started this blog. So while some think that the GPS market has just exploded in recent quarters, their growth rates were still high previously. What are the numbers going to look like once GPS firms report on the 4th quarter of 2007? A year ago it was 100% profit growth on 92% earnings growth.

    I can't tell you if Garmin is a good stock to buy, but see the Motley Fool on why they think that Garmin is "The" World Leader in GPS Technology.

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

    December 14, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 750 - Hot Seller


    The Garmin Nuvi 750 is one of the newer and hotter widescreens on the market right before Christmas. With the latest software and the slim new Nuvi design, it makes for a great high-end package. The unit has a long list of features, but a few standouts are:

  • High sensitivity GPS Chipset
  • North American Maps with 6 Million Points of Interest
  • Beautiful, bright widescreen
  • Multi-destination optimization and routing
  • FM Transmitter to send audio played on its MP3 or Audio book player to your car stereo

    See my Full Review of the Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 for more information.

  • Want to add Bluetooth and TMC Traffic? - Check out the Nuvi 760.
  • Want to then add European Maps too? - Check out the Nuvi 770.

    At Amazon – The Garmin Nuvi 750 Widescreen GPS

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking
  • December 13, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 260 vs. Garmin Nuvi 350


    I have had a lot of people ask about which product they should buy – the Nuvi 260 or the Nuvi 350. On the surface both are pretty similar, but they are actually quite different in what they can do for you so, read on and find out what’s right for you.

    The Nuvi 350 is a little bit older, launched during 2005, it was a wave of change that changed the market to flat and compact. The Nuvi 260 was launched in 2007, and features the newer more compact design that is across the newer model line, like the Nuvi 200W/250W and Nuvi 750/760/770 series.

    First of all what do they BOTH have:

    Standard size color touch screen, Maps of North America with 6 Million Points of Interest, Text to Speech, small and flat form factor, easy to use interface, picture viewers, and the same navigation overall.

    What’s Different between the Nuvi 260 and the Nuvi 350?

    The Nuvi 350’s case and form is a bit different, as it has a slightly thicker case and a swing up patch antenna that needs to be raised to work. The Nuvi 260 is a newer look that is thinner (slightly) and more svelte looking. The Nuvi 350 has a slightly longer battery life – up to 8 hours according to Garmin, versus 5 hours for the Nuvi 260. I think that the 5 hours of battery life is fine, and the extra in the Nuvi 350 isn’t a big deal.

    Media – The Nuvi 350 has an MP3 player, an Audiobook player and a headphone jack, the Nuvi 260 does not.

    Traffic – The Nuvi 350 has the optional ability to add TMC traffic, the Nuvi 260 does not. This is a big difference and one worth thinking about as it may effect the future of how you use your GPS. This may be worth adding if you drive in commuter traffic every day, and pretty key feature at that. For some people this makes a big difference and that the added traffic feature is a big advantage of a GPS. For others, no big issue. Read more on TMC traffic.

    At Amazon - The Garmin Nuvi 260 or the Garmin Nuvi 350

    Both appear on my 2007 GPS Holiday Gift Guide; at this writing the Nuvi 260 is about $40+ less than the Nuvi 350.

    Hope this helps.

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

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