June 3, 2011

Garmin GPSMAP 62sc and 62stc; Updated Handhelds


Garmin is unleashing the hounds this week with several outdoor announcements that update much of the handheld line. The new GPSMAP 62sc and 62stc both come with a 5-megapixel camera that geotags the pictures for you every time you snap one. They come with a 2.6-inch color display that is not touchscreen, offering easy sunlight readability, while still boasting 16-hour battery life. both come with integrated electronic compass and a barometric altimeter.

Garmin laid out the surnames for us; "s" for sensors - the added 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and altimeter, the "c" for camera and the 't" for topographical maps that come pre-loaded. Those TOPO maps by the way offer 3D digital elevation model (DEM) data, allowing you to see what elevation changes lie ahead on your route.

Both the GPSMAP 62sc and 62stc come with wireless ANT+ sharing, which allows you to send other similarly equipped models tracks, routes, waypoints and geocaches. It's a great feature when you can pre-plan a route, show up to the trailhead and share all of the day's hike detail in under a minute.

The GPSMAP 62sc is listed at $499, while the GPSMAP 62stc is listed at $599.

See their minisite on the Garmin GPSMAP 62 series

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

June 2, 2011

New Garmin RINO 610, 650, 655t - Touchscreen, 20-mile Radio Reach


Garmin is rolling out another new innovative line upgrade, and this time it's their GPS/FRS Radio mashup, the Garmin RINO. The new line offers touchscreen performance, up to a 5-watt broadcast capability (on the 650 models, 1-watt on the 610), NOAA weather radio and of course GPS tracking and mapping capabilities that you've come to expect from Garmin.

The older 530 RINO series didn't offer the touchscreen capabilities, but did offer what I think is the best feature - buddy tracking. Continued as what I think is the best feature of the series, you can see your GPS location and because of the FRS radio, you can poll and then see where your friend is at on the map.

NOAA radio is available on the RINO 650/655t, which offers you the ability to monitor for hazardous weather conditions, and supports specific area message encoding meaning you can set your county as your location to only receive updates when you are out on the trail that mean something to you instead of listening to the 'bot scroll through the whole region.

The RINO 650/655t also offer wireless sharing with other compatible Garmin Devices (most recent mid range and higher handheld models at this point) giving you an easy way to send trip information to others in your party - waypoints, tracks, routes, and geocaches.

RINO 610 - the color touchscreen model comes with a slightly down-powered FRS radio, and comes with a pre-loaded base map, and 1.7GB of space to add in plenty of TOPO maps, or even Birdseye satellite imagery. Recommended pricing for the Rino 610 is $349.

RINO 650/655t - You jump up to a 5-watt transmission here and the wireless sharing/NOAA, mentioned above. They also add in a barometric altimeter, and a 3-axis tilt compensated compass to get you around and help document the journey. And speaking of documenting the journey, the RINO 655t comes with a 5-megapixel camera on the back to capture the moment. Of course each photo is geotagged with the location information of where you snapped the picture. Finally, the 't" on the end of the 55t model number also means that it comes packaged with TOPO maps. Recommended pricing is $499 for the RINO 650, and $599 for the Rino 655t.

Available in "the third quarter" according to Garmin

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

May 31, 2011

Garmin eTrex 10, 20, 30 - New Look; Great New Capabilities


Garmin announced their updated line of the old standard, the eTrex line, with the new eTrex 10, 20, and 30 units - all compact and feature packed. The eTrex line has been around a long time and the Garmin eTrex Vista was my first handheld GPS - a monochrome unit that lacked the high sensitivity receiver of today's units and plugged into my computer with a serial port. Map updates were S-L-O-W. That was over six years ago, and the eTrex has just taken a big leap.

The new line of eTrex 10, 20, 30 support paperless geocaching, have high sensitivity receivers, high speed USB connections, and offer 25 hours of battery life. Very nice.


Garmin eTrex 10 - Again, offers paperless geocaching, on a monochrome screen and a worldwide base map which offers little detail, but enough land mass, rivers, lakes and so on to orient yourself in most places. Not my favorite situation, and I would recommend adding to the pot so you can afford at least the eTrex 20. Price on the eTrex 10 is $119

Garmin eTrex 20 - The big advantage here is that the eTrex 20 adds a 2.2-inch 65K color screen that is sunlight readable. No, it is not a touchscreen, so you'll still find yourself thumbing it around the screen old school with a thumbstick. The other big advantage, and one that I recommend is that you can add color maps to this device. The 24K TOPO maps and Bluewater maps for back country contour maps or boating recreation maps, respectively. The eTrex 20 will also accept CityNavigator maps, making it a GPS device that can offer routable directions. It is not a replacement for a Nuvi by any means, but it makes taking it for a bike ride a whole lot nicer. Price on the eTrex 20 is $199.


Garmin eTrex 30 (shown at the top of the story) - The next step up here is that like other higher end handhelds, this last step in the product line adds an electronic compass - a 3-axis, tilt-able compass in fact, and a barometric altimeter. I have always liked these features, and get them on my GPS units. The altimeter is nice to have so you can easily track your progress, while the electronic compass is a great tool to have when out in nature. Price on the eTrex 30 is $299.

Garmin eTrex Profile

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April 19, 2011

Garmin GTU 10 - Gear of the Year


Hey congrats to Garmin for their "Gear of the Year 2011" award from National Geographic for their GPS tracker - the GTU-10. Got something you need to track? The Garmin GTU 10 is a GPS tracker that offers a way to track the stuff you care about. It comes with a year of service, and offers the ability to track online and through a mobile app. Teh GTU-10 will have to be recharged periodicly, so it's not exactly like you set it and forget it..... the battery life is about a week in "Locate" mode and up to 4weeks in a low frequency report within the Geofence mode.

  • Create up to 10 geofences (virtual boundaries) for your device. When your GTU 10 enters or exits a geofence, we can send you an email or text message notification.
  • View track history of where your GTU 10 has been.
  • Customize device settings for optimal performance, including low battery/powered off notifications to let you know when it’s time to recharge or when the device has been turned off.
Via Garmin Blog - Garmin GTU10 Gear of the Year
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January 4, 2011

Garmin Launches iPhone App - StreetPilot


Garmin has announced the new StreeetPilot App for Android and iPhone today. While a latecomer to the App Party, Garmin is here to fight, with a $39 list price in the iPhone App store, and a list of features that took others several upgrades to achieve.

In their recent earnings announcement (November 3, 2010) when they told of the Nuvifone discontinuation, they mentioned that those developers would be moving into smartphone App development. It appears that they were already working hard on these Apps at the time, and that they are in for the long fight with upgrades and new features coming.


At a high level, the Garmin StreetPilot App has Text to Speech (says Street Names), Lane Assist, iPod controls inside the App, Google Local Search, Local Weather and Traffic Alerts. The traffic appears to be provided by NAVTEQ and their Nokia owners, which is configured to alert you on traffic around you or on your Route. You are also able to set the StreetPilot App for pedestrian use which changes how it navigates you - which includes walking you through pedestrian only areas and up One Way streets the "wrong" way.

Finally, in an interesting move, the Maps are not resident on your smartphone, but are streamed to the phone over the air. This has stirred up loads of debate relating to the data download demands for those on a limited data plan and folks who may venture out of coverage areas where this could pose an issue. On the plus side, I was able to download the <8MB App over the air and start cruising with it in about a minute. Also, upgrades won't come in the form of a 1+GB file that takes 30+ minutes to load onto the phone every time a new feature shows up.

First Impressions - Garmin StreetPilot App


I have used the App on my iPhone 4 for running around town today and like the interface - native Garmin layout. The App did crash once, but when I restarted it, it remembered where I was navigating to. The StreetPilot App has a nice little Page Curl at the bottom of the map that offers you easy access to several important functions while navigating: Route Overview, Directions. Walking Mode, Stop Navigating and Cancel (Return to the Map Screen).

The lone text to speech voice is OK, but a little quick in its pronunciation rendering a few road names a little less distinguishable than normal. I like the ability to navigate to a contact's address - the format of the data entry screen is a little odd with the data parsed out into different fields: Number, Street, City, etc, versus the Google web standard of all in one blank.

I'll dive deeper into the App in the coming days.

Garmin StreetPilot App is $39 - Available now.

The full press release is below......

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

Garmin Dezl ("Diesel") 560LT and 560LMT - Serious Truck GPS Navigation


Gone are the days of using a consumer GPS for your truck - we've all seen the stories of trucks stuck under a low clearance bridge because they were using a regular GPS. Garmin announced the Garmin Dezl - a large format GPS that has several features for the Over-the-road trucking industry. The dēzl boasts a large five-inch display, a built-in loudspeaker, and offers a number of additional user-friendly features including truck-specific points of interest (POIs) with The National Truck & Trailer Services (NTTS) Breakdown Directory, hours, fuel and mileage logging, truck speed limits and advanced navigation and route planning and calculation with Garmin's nüRoute™ technology."

Dezl 560LT - Lifetime traffic included - $469

Dezl 560 LMT - Lifetime Traffic and Map upgrades included. - $529

Available "First Quarter 2011"

Press Release follows.....

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

Garmin Nuvi 2400 Series: 2450, 2450LM, 2460LT, 2460LMT - Large Screen Series


Garmin has announced a new series of Navigators, the Nuvi 2400 series. This marks their entrance into a new line of 5-inch screened navigators where the feature set is mid- to upper-tier offering value in this ever more popular screen size. The street prices of these overlap with the Garmin 1490, also a 5-inch model. Not typical Garmin to eliminate a model so soon after launching it, but the 2400 series seems to eliminate the need for it.

The Nuvi 2400 series offers the features that are becoming more standard on numerous models, like lane and junction views, and routes based on historical traffic patterns. There are several nice features like voice command (I used and like this feature on the Nuvi 3790T), and Bluetooth Handsfree on some models.

  • Nuvi 2450 - US/ Canada/Mex maps, and Traffic Ready (Optional upgrade) - $209 List
  • Nuvi 2450LM - Adds Lifetime Map Updates - $249 List
  • Nuvi 2460LT - Same Maps, Handsfree calling, Voice Activated Navigation - $259 list
  • Nuvi 2460LMT - Adds Lifetime Map Updates - $299

More information at the Press Release.....

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

Garmin Powers Chrysler UConnect Nav System

Garmin has teamed up with Chrysler to deliver the navigation aspects of the new Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep Uconnect system- an OEM product that brings Garmin's Nuvi-like interface and features to the in-dash navigation system. It includes high end features like lane assist, junction view, speed limit indicators and text to speech capabilities rolled into garmin's easy to use interface.

As a nice touch, the Navigation Screen will also have customized vehicle icon that looks like the vehicle that you are driving; cool!

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

December 8, 2010

OpenCaching.com; Geocaching Website from Garmin


OpenCaching.com has opened as a Beta site, and is ready for customers. The site is now in competition with the landmark Geocaching.com site as well as independent "OpenCaching" sites from other countries that have been opening up.

A long time partner of Geocaching.com, Garmin is putting its muscle behind running its own OpenCaching.com site for reasons I can only speculate on. If I were the Garmin brand manager, I would want to more tightly integrate and promote existing aspects like Chirp functionality, and lay a solid groundwork for pending innovation. Working through Geocaching.com must not have been getting either the features promoted or the marketing message customized in a Garmin way enough so they decided to get into their own Geocaching business. The decision was certainly taken before the Chirp launch, and may have been born out of the failed WhereIGo game that never caught on in the geocaching community. Opencaching.com is a free service/site, while Geocaching.com has a lot of free services and features, but also offers a premium membership that brings additional features and a small incremental set of member-only caches.

The task at hand is not small; Geocaching has a decade head start, over a million caches world-wide, and 4-5 million cachers according to their website. Currently, there are hundreds of geocaches within 5 miles of my house on Geocaching.com, and the nearest geocache in OpenCaching.com is about 40 miles away. In retrospect however, that might be pretty good for being announced less than 24 hours ago. There is the ability to indicate that you own a set of caches and that you are cross listing them in OpenCaching; which is what several owners have done in my area.

OpenCaching.com Features

OpenCaching has the ability to find caches near you, with a faceted search, allowing you to use sliders to rate the difficulty level, the terrain level the size of the cache and the "Awesomeness" of the cache. While a bit egotistical at first blush, this is a good addition in my mind; there are some caches that are awesome to visit and it should have its own rating. It appears that the owner can seed the awesomeness rating and then let those who found it tweak the ratings up or down depending on their point of view when they log their finds. Well done.

Hiding a geocache - You can offer to hide a geocache, plugging in information about the geocache in a simple user interface, with a prominent checkbox for it being "Chirp" enabled. It's clear that the legal team has been all over the site in a way a start-up wouldn't worry about with warnings and disclaimers at many turns. Not to fear, I would imagine that the 99.9% of people who don't read the 10-page end user license agreements and just blindly check "I Agree" will seek to skip the legal terms here too.

Logging your Finds - Of course, the big area for use here - allow you to leave notes, rate the cache on the difficulty, terrain, size and awesomeness scales.

Garmin seems to be gunning for a robust springtime readiness with OpenCaching.com - go check it out.

Full Press Release Follows......

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

November 10, 2010

Garmin Thanksgiving Icons from the Garmin Garage


Give your Garmin Nuvi a Thanksgiving Makeover

The Garmin Garage has a lot of options for pimping your ride, customizing the vehicle icons on your Garmin Nuvi. The Garage started a few years back offering icons other than the standard ones that come with the Garmin units. They have one for just about any occasion, and if they don't you can recommend one for them to create.

Head over to the Garmin Garage for the Thanksgiving Bundle of icons, and load them up and enjoy the season a bit more. They are easy to download and install, just check out Garmin's directions for how to install new vehicle icons.

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

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