With the Nuvifone a faint memory, the Garminfone is starting to make waves as early industry insiders are bringing out the positive reviews for the unit. In this quick overview, TheStreet.com takes a look at its features and its navigation capabilities. I like the fact that when you take it out of the windshield mount, it thinks that you just parked the car and automatically remembers how to get you back there. The Garminfone will be on the market in June with T-Mobile at a $199 price point. According to TheStreet.com it "Worked perfectly out of the box."
The Garmin Nuvi 295W is probably the coolest GPS to hit the market in a long time; it's new and it's based on the form factor of the Nuvifone. Seeking to blur the lines between phones and navigators, Garmin has packed innovation in here, giving you classic Garmin navigation plus the ability to snap photos on your Nuvi with the 3MP camera, geotag them and then email the through the WiFi hotsot at the local coffee shop or your home office. The connected fun doesn't stop there - Google local search, and the ability to see email attachments comes in the package too - MS Office, PDF and JPGs.
Navigation is pretty standard Garmin with the simple to use "Where to?" and "View Maps" interface, adding a scrollable filmstrip of options at the bottom that you can cruise through with the flick of a finger. Of course it says street names and of course it has maps of the US and Canada, as well as about 6 million Points of Interest.
NAVTEQ announced that they are going to supply the traffic to the connected Garmin Nuvi 1690T for Europe, the first time the maker has had a traffic connected unit in Europe according to the press release. So while we all know that having a GPS helps keep us from getting lost, it can also have a more dramatic effect when used frequently. According to a 2009 NAVTEQ study, "Distances traveled were reduced and fuel efficiency increased, which would decrease each driver's CO2 emissions by 21% - all results which illustrate the many benefits of a real-time traffic service." Not bad and Earth Day is right around the corner!
Garmin as a Traffic Probe
Potentially the more interesting statement is this: "Additional probe data will be collected from Garmin devices and integrated into the system." Finally, the other largest maker of GPS devices in the world is on the GPS probe bandwagon. Glad to see that they value traffic and the larger data models that a whole lot of users can help feed. It matters, and flow data is important. The only way to get truly broad coverage is to get vehicles out there "reporting" on the traffic flow for you.
Garmin announced a stunning set of new GPS units - the Nuvi 3750, 3760T, and the 3790T which bring innovation back to the automotive GPS category. The press has all but written off the portable GPS market with the advent of the mobile phone navigators, but the Nuvi 3700 series gives a reason to reconsider.
Navigation Innovation - TrafficTrends and myTrends
There are a number of innovations that catch one's eye, but the handling of the historical data, branded TrafficTrends is most appealing. Garmin has not come to the game with an implementation of the NAVTEQ Traffic Trends product until now. The historical data offers a look into how traffic usually moves through streets and streetlights at different times of the day; recognizing that you can't always go 65MPH on the highway. It is uncertain if the GPS units will collect additional speed data and feed it back to NAVTEQ to refine the data.
myTrends remembers your destinations and predicts your trip - going to work? Yea, it knows. The route is auto-loaded and predicts the best route based on the traffic conditions.
Voice Control and 3-D
The top of the line Nuvi 3790T has a couple of cooler features; a "wake up" phrase that initiates the voice command capabilities, allowing you to tell the Nuvi 3790T where you want to go. Also, with the 3-D terrain and 3-D buildings, you get a more realistic view of what's around your and what's ahead.
A Page from the iPhone Design Book
The Nuvi 3700 series has a multi-touch screen with the ability to pinch to zoom, flick to pan and a design that knocks out. The 9mm thickness and the sleek look that already won a design competition. So, it pulls a page from the Apple iPhone book - so what; nice page to rip out. Love the design look. By the way, you get to use it in portrait or landscape - perfect for those who always wanted to see the portrait version for more roadway ahead.
The commands are clearer in this series with two speakers, and FINALLY, yes FINALLY, someone used the GPS to automatically change time zones as you travel. I mean, the GPS just listens to highly sensitive time signals on satellites and they know where they are; so they have time and maps. With a few exceptions, you should be able to figure out what time it is if you have these two inputs.
UPDATE: The Garmin 3700 series is now shipping at Amazon:
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is a second generation GPS watch for runners and bikers that can help document your training and get the most out of the process. The GPS watch is able to track progress through its GPS functionality while also offering readouts like pace, distance and speed. The heart rate monitor allows you to keep that dataset too. Back at home a quick sync with the computer periodically will also download all of your run data for analysis and safe keeping. The free software program, Training Center (PC or Mac) from Garmin can help.
Want more? Garmin has created the Garmin Connect community where you can store your data, analyze it, share it and find other routes that you can download and use.
The Garmin Team is in Boston this weekend ahead of the marathon tomorrow, as they are showing off the new Forerunner 110, a slimmer GPS enabled watch. The $250 device will be available later this month in wider distribution.
Garmin announced another Garmin Forerunner, the new Forerunner 110, an entry level fitness watch that offers some nice features in a really compact size. The Forerunner 110 captures the classic details via GPS, like pace, but also can be paired with a heart rate monitor for an extra level of data and insight into your fitness.
Water-resistant and slimmer than any other GPS-enabled fitness watch on the market, Forerunner 110 boasts a high-sensitivity SiRFstarIV GPS receiver with Garmin's HotFix® technology to quickly acquire and sustain satellite reception, perfect for wooded trails under dense trees or in the urban canyons of skyscrapers.
"Forerunner 110 fills the needs of runners of all levels by focusing on simplicity without sacrificing accuracy," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. "Within seconds of stepping outside, you simply press start and instantly know your distance, pace and time - all without any complicated setup or excessive accessories."
The data (up to 200 hours of it) can also be downloaded to your computer and uploaded to Garmin Connect via the Forerunner's USB connection. The USB connection is made via a clip that hits a series of contact points on the back of the Forerunner 110 (see above). This clip also charges the device. Garmin Connect displays metrics such as time, distance, speed, elevation and heart rate. This information is shown through charts, illustrations, reports and a variety of map representations including street, photo, topographic, and elevation maps as well as the popular Google Earth application.
Garmin is going to be asking shareholders to approve a move of their umbrella company from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland. If approved the move is said to help with strategic location for growing their European business, and of course the murky world of tax favorability. The number crunchers must have been busy with this one, but I would imagine that with European acquisitions in recent years, their critical mass on that continent makes for a compelling balance sheet change.
As part of the move, Garmin will have a one time increase of the cash dividend from $0.75 per share, to $1.50 per share. Must have had some cash hidden in the closets down there in the islands!
The Garmin Colorado 400 series was discontinued by Garmin recently and I am sad to see it go. While that means there will be plenty of deals on it in the coming weeks to months, it was and for me, remains a strong reliable GPS with advanced features that made the upgrade from an eTrex obvious and painless. The first to include a set of features that brought the handheld GPS to a more user friendly place like USB computer connections, pre-loaded with Topo, Coastal or Inland waterway maps, a large and easily readable screen all helped to make it a powerful contender. The wireless sharing of routes, waypoints helped and when combined with the ability to display data from other modules, like a heartrate or bike cadence monitor made it an attractive new device on the market.
While discontinued, I think that the Colorado will still offer great service for years to come. I still use mine on a regular basis for hiking, biking and boating, and expect to for years to come. When i have a crowd, I use my decade old eTrex Vista and an eTrex Vista C - both old, both discontinued and both still reliable.
Introduced just two years ago at CES, it was quickly followed by the touchscreen Oregon series which has seen more popularity, spawning its smaller sibling the Dakota. The touchscreen versions seem like an easier sell, and a more sustainable platform.
Look for good deals on them as the Garmin Colorado 400t is about $295, which is around at $50 discount to a similarly equipped Oregon 400t.
A lot of people just prefer friction mounts to keep the windshield free of suction cup mount marks, and some just want the GPS closer in cars with steeply raked windshields. Whatever the reason, the new Garmin mount does away with the beanbag style in favor of the tacky bottom style. The kicker here is that the base is flexible and can conform to your dashboard's contours. Very cool.
New design is lighter weight, more flexible and more compact.
The integrated arm can be folded down for easy storage in an automobile or luggage and holds your Garmin Nuvi
Got Maps? Well eventually you need to upgrade your maps and I want to explain a couple of options I like that get you updated maps almost all the time.
Garmin has a lifetime map upgrade for North America at a $95 price point. Sure it's a lot, but at about $50 a year, this is a pretty good deal to keep your GPS updated for the long haul. The $95 gets you updated maps about every quarter for the lifetime of the device that you register it with.
There are no monthly fees or continuing maintenance costs; you pay only once per Garmin GPS. When you want to update your maps, connect your device to your computer and log into your myGarmin account, where the latest map data is ready to load to your individual device. We're constantly gathering new map data, and a new update is available up to four times per year. Sign up for our email notification, and we'll email you when the newest data is available.
TomTom takes a slightly different approach - they give you quarterly updates for $9.95, or less than $40 annually. This deal is also pretty good, as you start to add it all up. The offer is good on one device. From TomTom:
How does it work?
Each time you connect your device to your computer, TomTom HOME will let you know if a new map is waiting for you.
New maps are released each quarter and are added to your account as soon as they are available.
Warning - Map Update Service starts with the latest map, so you may have to upgrade your map at a discounted price