June 19, 2007

The Big Three GPS Makers

There’s a nice summary of the world GPS/PND market over at YourNav. The editors have a quick write up that talks about what’s going on for the big three; no not the car manufacturers, the big three GPS makers; TomTom, Garmin, and Mio.

The article is focused on the three regions where the big three brands are strong; TomTom in Europe, Garmin in North America, and Mio in Asia. It also points to the increased competition of each maker in the other regions where they aren’t yet competing well. I liked the post; two things I find interesting.

1) Mio has about 20% of the world GPS market, with the recent Navman acquisition, right behind Garmin's 25% share. Not bad for a brand that, despite being successful overseas, wasn’t really established in the North America 12 months ago.

2) That Magellan wasn’t even mentioned as a contender. They are clawing back in the US, and it will be interesting to see how they move forward with their crop of new Maestros.

More at YourNav

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

June 17, 2007

#1 GPS for Dads - Garmin Nuvi 350


Who knows how every dad may vote, but the Garmin Nuvi 350 is not surprisingly the best seller at Amazon, late on Father's Day; must have been a hit with all those dads deciding that it's about time to go get a GPS.

I ran into one such dad while I was at a large office supply retailer on Father's Day. I was swinging by the GPS area to check out what they had on sale. Well, there was a poor sole there getting guidance on purchasing a GPS from the clerk who didn't have a clue....

Customer:"What's the difference between the TomTom ONE and the TomTom ONE XL?"
Clerk: "I don't really know."
Customer: "What GPS do you recommend?" [Bad follow-up question to ask the clerk who didn't know the difference between the TomTom ONE and the TomTom ONE XL!]
Clerk: [waving his hand in the area of the higher priced GPS units] "Well, I think all of these are really good, and the prices are really rock bottom."

I saw the Nuvi 200 there for $399 (~$85 less online), the Maestro 4000 (~$50 less online), while the only real "Rock Bottom" price was the Mio C220 that was competitively priced. Ouch!

Hope you had a good father's day.

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

June 15, 2007

Points of Interest (POI) for your GPS

A lot of people are getting ready to hit the road this summer with their GPS as the means to travel the roads on a great summertime trip. Well a lot of people are also interested in having the most up to date lists of Points of Interest. Depending on when you updated the maps on your GPS, the Points of Interest listing can be quite old. By the time the maps get burned to a DVD and sold to you, they can already be several months out of date. Did you know that there are about 80+ new Starbucks added in the US every month? If Starbucks is a must have POI for you you’re missing out on a lot of them if you are even a few months out of date. Other key categories for traveling that readers are interested in are:

  • Campgrounds
  • Restaurant chain locations (Applebees, Cracker Barrel, etc)
  • Hotels
  • WalMarts (Some let you park overnight for free)

    Below is a list of sites where you can get POI lists. Loading the POI onto Garmin units is easy with their POI loader. All you need is a PC or a Mac (yes, Mac compatible!) and their free POI Loader software. Got a TomTom? No problem, you can check TomTom's website for a lot of information on making your own POI collection or installing others.

  • GPS POI US - Lots of POI lists - some free some inexpensive. They just added a database of 77,000 School Zones in the US. The databases are well maintained and updated; this can be important when you consider that 80-100 new Starbucks are added every month! Also, while the full collections are generally not free, you get what you pay for. With GPS POI US you are not only getting more up to date POI lists, but the process of geocoding is more refined and can give you more accurate and reliable readings on locations of these points of interest, which can be critical for things like Red Light Cameras, and School zones. If you don't think that you need a Redlight camera POI database loaded, think again if you are in Maryland, Dallas, or Southern California. See their Google Map Mashup of Redlight camera positions below. (Click on the image to get their interactive version.)


  • Garmin has a list of POI suppliers.
  • TomTom maintains a similar list for TomTom compatible POI collections.
  • POI Factory - a broad collection of POI files that can be uploaded and shared. Free and many quite up to date.
  • GPSPassion has an extensive list of free POI lists at their site available for download and collaboration on.
  • GPS Waypoints is another member supported sharing forum with quite a few collections including a lot of international POI.
  • TomTom-ers shouldn't feel left out, as PocketGPSWorld has a database that's TomTom compatible.
  • I found this site interesting for those of you who want to get into the POI creation game: POI Editor, a slick website that helps you make your own collections and can save that collection in several formats including Garmin, TomTom and Mio.

  • Finally thought that this was cool Garmin Tour Guide capability. When using a compatible Garmin GPS, the unit associates an MP3 file with a POI, and plays it when you get close enough. Great way to hear a nice audio tour. Read More at GeoTourGuide You can even learn how to make your own Garmin Tour Guide (*.GPI) files from them too.

    Do you have others? Leave a comment and list them below.

    Enjoy your trip!

    How Many POI are enough on your GPS? Check out our Post on the subject of POI Counts on GPS Units.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking
  • June 12, 2007

    Broadcom to Buy Global Locate

    Broadcom Corporation announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Global Locate, Inc., a privately-held, fabless provider of industry-leading global positioning system (GPS) and assisted GPS (A-GPS) semiconductor products and software. GPS is expected to join Bluetooth® and similar wireless technologies as a pervasive feature in next generation mobile devices. Global Locate's semiconductor solutions are used in mobile phones from leading cellular handset makers and incorporated into products from TomTom NV, the largest personal navigation device (PND) vendor in the world.

    Global Locate and SiRF have been locked in a big court battle over patents for some time. Who knows what happens now that Broadcom is in the picture.

    Overall, I would expect more innovation as a result of this acquisition.

    ArrowContinue reading: "Broadcom to Buy Global Locate"

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

    June 11, 2007

    NemeriX and Bosch Announce Pressure Sensing GPS Chip

    NemeriX and Bosch Sensortec announced the successful integration of their technology to deliver a leading-edge multi-sensing GPS solution. The new system offers significantly enhanced results for navigating urban stacked road systems, multi-level bridges and tunnels.

    The solution integrates the high-resolution Bosch Sensortec SMD500 pressure sensor with NemeriX's high-accuracy navigation solution, offering the ability to identify if a vehicle is travelling on the upper or lower levels in a multi-level or stacked road, and significantly enhancing turn-by-turn navigation in situations where traffic is travelling in the same direction on different levels of a road system, or where two-way traffic is accommodated.

    ArrowContinue reading: "NemeriX and Bosch Announce Pressure Sensing GPS Chip"

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

    June 7, 2007

    GPS Helps Nab Graffiti Taggers

    So it sounds like a lowly GPS Equipped camera and some sophisticated computer work to catalogue images of graffiti with GPS stamped information on the image. With a database of images and their locations, Graffiti Tracker then does an analysis of the tag patterns and helps predict where the tagger might hit next.

    NPR just did a quick audio story on the technology and its results.

    More at NPR

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

    June 6, 2007

    My Garmin: Zumo Connect


    My Garmin: Zumo Connect - Find and share rides for your Zumo

    You may have missed a little mention last week of the My Garmin announcement buried in the press release that mentioned the fact that Garmin is releasing developer tools to better integrate their GPS units with websites and software tools. My Garmin is a mini site that allows you to get a customized experience from Garmin based on your needs. You’ll need to sign up to get access to the features. Some of the features that they have are great, including registering your GPS to get access to features like icon downloads, access to Geocaching tools, and something called Zumo Connect.

    ArrowContinue reading: "My Garmin: Zumo Connect"

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

    June 5, 2007

    Widescreen GPS


    Size does matter: Actual size comparison of a standard 3.5-inch GPS Screen to a 4.3-inch Widescreen GPS.

    A lot of people are asking about the wave of Widescreen GPS units and are they worth the extra real estate. The classic argument is, “I am traveling straight ahead. Why do I need the widescreen? I need a taller screen to see where I am going better.”

    I say, don’t knock them until you try them.

    The typical screen on a standard width GPS is 3.5 inches diagonally, while a widescreen is 4.3 inches diagonally, which adds up to a lot of real estate difference, not only in width but in height too. The image here is a composite of actual screen shots from a standard width Garmin (SP550) and a widescreen (Nuvi 660) Garmin. This should give you an idea of really how much extra space you are getting, not only in width but in added height. In terms of area, the widescreen is 70% larger than the standard 3.5-inch screen units.

    The best way I can describe it is that the widescreen is like having better peripheral vision that allows you to not only see what’s ahead of you right now, but also what’s going on around you. Let’s face it, not all roads are straight, and having the widescreen offers you a lot more information as you travel.

    Furthermore, when you have the widescreen, you don’t really feel like you need to be on top of the unit, and you feel like you can kick back a bit and relax with this great widescreen hanging out there guiding you. It's a pretty luxurious feeling.

    Finally, the widescreen GPS units offer more space to navigate the unit's interface with; more buttons, easier navigation and typing on the unit. It's just a better experience.

    The TomTom ONE lists right now for $249, and the TomTom ONE XL is $100 more. I think that the extra money is worth it. When moving from the Garmin Nuvi 350 to the Nuvi 650, the price difference is a bit more, but overall I still think that it’s a better choice if it’s in your price range.

    Popular Widescreen Models are:

  • Garmin Nuvi 200W (Lower 48 States + Hawaii Maps) and Garmin Nuvi 250W (North America Maps); neither have text to speech - See my Full Review of the Nuvi 200W/250W
  • Garmin Nuvi 650 – North American Maps
  • Garmin Nuvi 660 – North American Maps and TMC Traffic enabled – See My Review
  • Garmin Nuvi 670 – Pre-loaded with North American and European Maps
  • Garmin Nuvi 680 – With MSN Direct Gas prices and traffic feeds – See My Review
  • TomTom ONE XL – North American Maps and TomTom PLUS enabled – See My Review
  • TomTom ONE XLS - Adds Text to Speech to the TomTom ONE XL
  • TomTom GO 720 - Text to Speech, BlueTooth, Record your own voice prompts
  • TomTom GO 920T - Text to Speech, Bluetooth, Maps of North America AND Europe pre-loaded.
  • Mio C520 – North American Maps and split screen navigation capabilities.
  • Magellan Maestro 4040 – North American Maps
  • Magellan Maestro 4050 – North American Maps and Voice Activated Controls

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking
  • June 3, 2007

    DeLorme LT-20 Bundle - New Lower Price

    DeLorme announced that they are lowering the price of their Street Atlas USA 2008 bundle (with the LT-20 GPS receiver) to $69. I very much like the Street Atlas software, and have been a user for many years, and have come to appreciate it's ability to offer a lot of complex capabilities that a windshield mounted GPS can't.

    The Earthmate GPS LT-20 features cutting-edge GPS technologies from STMicroelectronics and DeLorme, with fast satellite acquisition times and superior performance when dealing with reflected GPS signals ― a frequent occurrence in urban settings.

    The updated Street Atlas USA 2008 DVD software includes revisions to its street-level detail for the United States and Canada and, for the first time, highways and major roads for Mexico.

    The combination of the DeLorme Earthmate GPS LT-20 and the included Street Atlas USA 2008 software means anyone with a laptop PC can enjoy the benefits of GPS wherever they travel in the U.S., Canada, and now Mexico, too.

    "By continuously driving down costs and expanding sales through mass distribution we have been able to lower our price points for laptop GPS without compromising quality," said Caleb Mason, DeLorme Director of Marketing. "Laptop GPS offers many advantages over other types, with the large screen providing easy-to-see, wide geographic context. With laptops continuing to replace desktops, we can offer more and more consumers an affordable yet powerful GPS solution to help plan trips and GPS navigate without getting lost."

    Ships with Updated DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2008 DVD Software

    See more at DeLorme

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

    May 30, 2007

    Harmon Kardon GPS-300


    Nice find on Amazon here, the new Harmon Kardon GPS-300 unit in a pre-order mode at the site. This follows their GPS-500 model that was previously announced. Keeping with the heritage, the Harmon Kardon units are geared towards audio capabilities, and offers a glimpse of album art when your MP3 is playing on its 4" widescreen.

    The unit does spoken word direction sets and comes pre-loaded with maps of the US. It should ship in a few weeks for $399.

    Harmon Kardon GPS-300 At Amazon

    Via Engadget and GPSReview.

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

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