October 13, 2007

Garmin Mobile Phone News

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More non-news and speculation on the Garmin Mobile Phone coming out yesterday as Investor’s Business Daily mentioned the possibility of Garmin coming out with a Mobile Phone GPS navigator combo unit. The backstory of course is that Noika is making the move into GPS navigation in a bigger way by pulling in NAVTEQ, while Garmin is moving the other way with a mobile phone launch. My hunch is that neither market would be easy to get into in a quality and solid entry.

Garmin Spokeswoman Jessica Myers said, “We announce 70 products a year so there are a lot of concepts and ideas that we look at, however that's not in the immediate plans. I can't say we're never ever going to do it. I mean, we've already done it." And they have – it was called the Garmin NavTalk.

Garmin already got into the mobile handset market in 1999 with their Garmin NavTalk model, and were clearly ahead of their time with a navigator and mobile phone in one. Navigation and Location Based Services have taken huge leaps since then, and I would imagine that the offerings these days would be a lot more marketable.

As an aside, a lot of people were really critical of the Nokia NAVTEQ deal and its effect on Garmin when the news was announced; driving the stock down below $95 from its perch at or around $119. Uncertainty must have worked their way through the system, as Garmin stock closed yesterday at a more solid $113.

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

October 10, 2007

How to Sell a lot of GPS Units

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So Garmin had a pretty good day yesterday pumping the airwaves with special values for all of those couch surfing bargain hunters, so special in fact, that QVC let a press release rip to mark the occasion. So apparently QVC has a “Today’s Special Value” feature that launches one product at a bargain price for that day; the result was 51,000 Garmin Nuvi 250W sold out by late in the afternoon. QVC is backing up that GPS systems will be hot this holiday season, and I think so too. If anyone knows the price they were offering these for as part of the "Today's Special Price" program, let us know and leave a comment. They have them at list price now, I am just curious about what they sold these through for.

I fully expect to see GPS systems at or below $99 this year on Black Friday and everyday prices well under $200 for big name units. While not quite a stocking stuffer, the prices will get a lot of them wrapped up as presents this year.

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

Garmin CEO Min Kao

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If you are interested in Garmin, the US market leader in GPS units, then you might be interested to learn a bit more about one of their founders and current CEO, Min Kao. He and co-founder Gary Burrell left Allied Signal in 1989 after being frustrated with the pace of innovation and founded Garmin. Their first product, a $2,500 GPS for aircraft, had a 5,000-unit backlog after an early tradeshow appearance. The rest is history. With a PhD in electrical engineering, Min Kao has the confidence and ability to guide in-house development and manufacturing of their units. They are now selling millions of GPS units to consumers as the market for GPS devices has exploded.

ReadMore at CNN Money

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

October 3, 2007

Garmin Mobile XT

Garmin introduced Garmin Mobile XT, an all-in-one software solution that turns select smartphones with internal GPS into high-end Garmin navigators. Garmin has certainly recognized the coming wave of mobile smartphones and plans a place in their future. (I find it interesting to see Nokia coming the other way from phones to stand alone GPS.)


Garmin Mobile XT mobile phone software application seamlessly pairs the phone's built-in GPS with Garmin's software so that customers have the benefits of navigation anywhere in North America or Europe. Garmin Mobile XT offers convenient preloaded maps and includes access to dynamic content like premium real-time traffic alerts and fuel prices, but does not require any monthly fees or subscriptions of any kind. The cost is $99, which compares well to the $10/mo the wireless companies want you to pay.

One interesting feature is the PeerPoints feature that allows you to find friends who also run the Garmin Mobile XT software. This sounds similar to the capabilities of the RINO 530 HCx, (see my review of the RINO 530 HCx) that uses the FRS GMRS radio system to find friends (on a very local basis). I thought it was a great feature, and as long as you trust your friends (of family), it's cool to be hooked together.


More from the Press Release below…

ArrowContinue reading: "Garmin Mobile XT"

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

October 1, 2007

Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 Product Info

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The Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 is the new top of the line model set for late 2007, and will carry some new software features and hardware design elements into the new year. It was announced at the end of August at the Berlin electronics show. The hardware design is a carry-over from the Nuvi 200W series design that drops the external flip up antenna that was a feature on the older Nuvi lines (Nuvi 300 series and Nuvi 600 series). The new 700 series adds a few software tweaks that are worth mentioning:

  • Route planning - create itineraries ahead of time and optimize them.
  • Where Am I button - Similar to TomTom's Help Me button, this is a fast way to get to a few key bits of information like your current location (in case you need to tell emergency responders), and quick buttons to get to the closest hospitals, gas stations, and police stations.
  • Slightly re-designed interface that maximizes the usability and use of the widescreen format.

    The Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 has integrated TMC traffic that comes with the unit. After a 3-month trial subscription, you would need to pay the roughly $70 annually to get the traffic feeds.

    ArrowContinue reading: "Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770 Product Info"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • September 19, 2007

    More Pink .....Less Pink....

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    The other day there was an article that indicated Garmin was readying a Pink Nuvi GPS targeted at women. (Go see what this might look like at GPSTracklog.) Well, yesterday in the Boston Globe, there was a quick reference to “Less Pink, More Tech”… According to this brief article, a new study revealed that only 9 percent of women want girly looking tech gadgets, while 91% want something more sophisticated and stylish. The article says that if women are to adopt it, it has to work out of the box, and work well; if not, chuck it.

    I do think that a pink Nuvi has a place with younger women, and maybe that’s where the 9% is concentrated. As far as working out of the box; yup that’s a Garmin.

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

    August 30, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770

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    All the info, including Product Review information about the Garmin Nuvi 750/760/700 Line, here at GPSLodge.

  • Update: I have posted my Full Review of the Nuvi 750/760/770.


    The Garmin Nuvi 750, Nuvi 760 and Nuvi 770 were announced today for the start of the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin. The new line features the sleek design look of the Nuvi 200 series, and a full feature set that will set it at the top of the Garmin line. The units will offer you the ability to get some help, including how to get to police, hospitals and to the nearest gas station. This is now becoming a standard feature in the GPS world, which I think will be welcome features for most users. The other way the units can help you are to find your car: Tap the screen and take your GPS with you (to avoid it from being stolen) and then the unit can help you get back to your car when your “Pedestrian Mode” walking or shopping is over.

    In keeping with the similar X50/X60/X70 line-up configurations, the Nuvi units will be differentiated by the 750 as the base, the Nuvi 760 with added Bluetooth, and the Nuvi 770 with North American and Euro Maps pre-loaded.

    The Nuvi 750/760/770 has an FM transmitter built in that can transmit directions to your radio, while the Nuvi 760/770 offer Bluetooth wireless for handsfree phone use and also a TMC receiver for getting the latest traffic updates. Sadly, from what I see, the traffic isn’t next generation traffic capable with historical average speeds.

    Expect the Nuvi 750, Nuvi 760 and Nuvi 770 to hit shelves in September. The Nuvi 750 will retail for $600, the 760 for $800 and the 770 for $1,000.

    See More Information on the Nuvi 750/760/770 here at the GPSLodge.

    ArrowContinue reading: "Garmin Nuvi 750/760/770"

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (13) | social bookmarking
  • Garmin Nuvi 700/750

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    Always love a good rumor, but GPS & Co is talking about a new Nuvi 700 that is being prepped for the IFA electronics Show in Berlin that starts at the end of the week. The unit is said to look like a Nuvi 250W (I have one in for review). The new thin design would be combined with some high end features. What those are, we can only speculate: Voice recognition, advanced traffic reporting with built in historical average speeds, 3-D buildings on the map?

    Stay tuned.

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

    August 27, 2007

    Garmin uses MediaTek Chipsets in Legend HCx

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    DigiTimes is reporting that the Garmin has included a MediaTech chipset in the new Garmin eTrex Legend HCx. Not a surprising move, as there's more than just the SiRF star III chipset on the market for high sensitivity chipsets. Recall just last week, is was announced that Garmin would use STMicroelectronics' Teseo GPS chipset in some GPS units.

    I just reviewed the Garmin RINO 530 HCx that had a high sensitivity non-SiRF chipset in it, and the unit performed very well in tree cover and tight hilly terrain.

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

    August 26, 2007

    Garmin RINO 530HCx Full Review

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    The Garmin RINO series is a long standing part of the Garmin line up that takes their core GPS capability and extends it by paying attention to the needs of the consumer out in the field. GPS answers the “Where are you” question and help you get to where you are going, but when you are outdoors you may also want to know where your friends are too.
    "The Garmin RINO 530HCx is a great tool for the outdoors that can not only get you there but also get you there, along with the rest of your party while being fully informed and in constant contact. "

    The unit combines a fully functioning GPS with an FRS/GMRS radio allowing you to not only talk to your hiking or biking partners but with the special polling features, it will show you the GPS location them too. In concept it’s a great premise for the RINO series, and I will say that in practice, it’s like Instant Messaging for the outdoors enthusiast. I wish I had the current capabilities when I first started using the first FRS radios years ago. For this review I was able to take the new RINO 530HCx and the older RINO 520 for a trip to the White Mountains and for several general “playing around” hikes and walks. They performed well, and gave added confidence and convenience to our travels.

    ArrowContinue reading: "Garmin RINO 530HCx Full Review"

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

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