January 18, 2008

New User Tip - 4 Ways to Protect Your GPS from Thieves

OK - so you have your new GPS, and you want to keep it. You may not know that they are also hot items for thieves. So while lots of people are realizing that GPS units are very helpful for navigation, thieves are realizing that a quick smash and grab makes for an easy to sell unit that can net a few hundred dollars without much work. The Boston Globe recently announced that GPS thefts in the city of Boston went up ~5X versus 2006. You need to protect yourself.

Four Easy Tips to Avoid GPS Theft:
1) Take the GPS and its mount off the windshield/dash and stow it.
2) Take the GPS with you when you leave the car for an extra level of precaution.
3) Consider wiping the suction cup marks off the windshield with a soft cloth – they can tip off thieves that there’s something valuable in the car.
4) Instead of mounting on the windshield, consider using a friction mount on the dash to avoid the suction cup marks on the windshield altogether.

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

January 7, 2008

ZoomBak Dog And Car Locators


Zoombak has announced a new GPS Dog Tag and retrieval service to locate your dog once s/he is lost. The relatively small device fits in a pouch on the dog's collar and through the cellular system it gives you alerts and tracking of your pet through the internet.

They also launched their car tracking device that in a similar way can track the vehicle and report back its whereabouts via mobile phone text alerts.

Press release follows

More at the ZoomBak website

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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?

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

January 5, 2008

Goodyear GPS to Launch Eight GPS Units


Goodyear tire has lent their brand for use on a line of fairly advanced GPS units being announced at CES 2008. The line-up looks pretty sophisticated with MSN direct capabilities in the higher end. The new line of eight GPS units will go from the small keychain unit (GY100K) up to the GY540 a 4.3 inch widescreen unit that has a lot of bells and whistles. The design elements on these is interesting and appears from the renderings that they will have a multi-textured exterior with some having a design element of tire tread.... humm, is that an all season tread or a summer only deal? The units are going to be available in Q2 2008.

People familiar with Mio and other manufacturers will recognize the iGo interface on the unit, a software company that has been manufacturing navigation software for a while now. I think that it's one of the better interfaces, but this is the first time I have seen it integrate MSN Direct features.

Engadget is reporting on the featuresets of the line (after the jump).

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

January 2, 2008

Alpine PND-K3 MSN and K3 GPS

Alpine is having another go at the GPS world with a new line of two GPS Units, with this leaked information. The first is Alpine PND-K3MSN, which comes equipped with the MSN Direct capability that is present in the Garmin Nuvi 680 that was launched last year – See my Full Review of the Nuvi 680. The MSN Direct technology on the Alpine PND-K3MSN offers not only traffic coverage, but weather, gas prices, and movie times. The unit comes with a 4.3-inch widescreen, maps of the US and Canada, and 6 million points of interest.

The PND-K3 is the same model, without the MSN Direct features. I would imagine that we’ll see more at CES 2008 in a few days.

Via Gizmodo

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

December 29, 2007

Omnitech 4.3" Widescreen GPS

A lot of folks are asking about the Omnitech GPS - a widescreen GPS that comes pre-loaded with US and Canadian NAVTEQ maps. The unit comes with a SiRF star III chipset, a 4.3 inch touchscreen, a 12V power cord and an A/C home charger. The unit also comes with Text-to-speech, which is the ability to say road names. Immensely helpful when roads are closely situated, not such a big deal when you are in a more remote situation where the road that you are going to turn onto is the only one for a mile....

The price has been all over the place on the unit, so shop around if you are interested in buying this.

In doing some searches around the internet, I found several resources where users wrote in about the unit freezing up when calculating routes, and that it creates some very odd routes; definitely a bad sign. To be balanced there are some people who rave about the performance and the ease of use. I still go back to the idea that it’s easy to design a GPS, but it’s hard to design a good GPS; I am not yet convinced that this is a good GPS.

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

Kindle Based GPS


So if you bought a Kindle from Amazon, you might be able to hack it and bring in some Google Maps with some fake GPS triangulation work. I have used the Google Maps triangulation capability on my Blackberry and it stinks. It’s off by hundreds to thousands of meters which can make a world of difference if you need to navigate in a city.

Anyway, it’s still pretty cool if you can grab some Google Maps on the Kindle. Head on over to Reversing Everything to see the details. You can also access Minesweeper and some interesting functions like picture viewer.

Via Giz

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

December 27, 2007

Top 5 Post-Christmas GPS Units

After all of the pre-Christmas buying and all of the unwrapped GPS units that found their way to dashboards already, there are still GPS units pouring out of stores these days. I was at a big box retailer yesterday and saw a few people lined up at the GPS display asking questions and drooling over the new units. (I didn't interrupt to tell them that prices online were probably better.)

Amazon is generally a pretty good read on what's popular and what's not. While the ratings can change on an hourly basis, they do give a great view into what the public is buying at prices that are often hard to beat.

Nuvi 350
- Potentially the best selling unit in the US of all time, this thin GPS unit set the standard for thin GPS units back in the day. Still a very competitive unit with features like Text to Speech, and maps of North America, it's now at a pretty breakthrough price of under $300.

Nuvi 200 - The value model in the Garmin line that offers a solid user interface, good routing and maps of the 48 states plus Hawaii.

TomTom ONE - Potentially one of the biggest breakthroughs of the 2007 holidays, the TomTom ONE is also a value model in the US Market, with a good user interface, and a good company behind it. The $149 price due to the $100 GiveGive price promotion is helping to sell a lot of these (good for purchases made through 1/5/08).

Garmin Nuvi 200W - The Widescreen version of the Nuvi 200 above - this gives a better navigation experience since you can enter your data more easily and see a lot more of what's going on around you while navigating.

Garmin Nuvi 660
- The intermediate level unit is a little over a year old, and comes packed with a lot of features including text to speech, TMC traffic, with the antenna integrated into the unit's power plug, a widescreen and maps of North America.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas from GPS Lodge

I wanted to thank all or our readers for a wonderful year. I hope that in some way that we've helped you get some news, critical information and a few reviews on GPS units across the last year. As we enter the fourth calendar year covering the world of GPS navigation, I can't believe how far we've come and how many people are now talking about GPS these days. It was a geeky niche when we started, a curious wonder this time last year, and now a full fledged mainstream must-have this past year.

This year was only the beginning though, as we look ahead into 2008, I still expect to see a lot of innovation and excitement coming to the GPS segment.

I'll be posting on a slower schedule until the New Year, when we'll come back in full force with more GPS news, reviews and information on how to buy and enjoy GPS Navigation.



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

December 24, 2007

Gifts Cards Still An Option for GPS


Ok - so you still want to get that GPS? Shipping deadline past? Try giving an Amazon Gift Card.

Redeemable for all kinds of great GPS units. I fully expect another round of some minor discounting in the days following Christmas, as people come back to use up those gift cards. Clearly GPS was one of the hottest categories this year. I don't expect major cut and run price drops, but I could be wrong.

Next up? CES 2008 January 7 -10 - where we'll hear the first of three major sets of announcements for new GPS units in 2008.

Stop back for all the news.

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

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