April 19, 2007

GPS Navigation Reduces Fleet Costs

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NAVTEQ has commissioned a research study which highlighted significant benefits for integrated navigation solutions, such as a 40% reduction in communications costs, a 15% reduction in fuel costs, and an 18% reduction in driver hours, among many other benefits for mobile enterprise applications. No big surprise, but nice to see the numbers; having a GPS in a fleet vehicle reduces costs..... maybe that's why TomTom went with the GO 715 with integrated mobile communication so that dispatch can "talk" to the mobile GPS fleets sending service call informaiton to the fleet. I htink it's huge; the last time the cable guy came, he had a GPS and he said it helped him tremendously.

Huge results, you should read on....

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

April 18, 2007

Pioneer AVIC-S2 - It's Official

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Pioneer announced the compact AVIC-S2, a GPS navigation system that offers advanced route guidance and the hottest bonus features including MP3 playback and Bluetooth compatibility. The compact unit offers a lot of features at a reasonable list price. Two things stand out:
1) This looks like a customized version of the iGo interface that's a bit more angular. You find this interface on a lot of other GPS units like:

  • Mio C310x - and other Mio's
  • V7 My Guide Navigator
  • and the Jensen line of navigators - (You'll have to trust me on this one; I have the Jensen NVX227 in for review right now.)

    2) This is the first instance I have seen the iGo interface used with the Bluetooth Handfree capability. Cool.

    “The AVIC-S2 is the ideal travel companion. Consumers get three of the best features they look for in a portable device; a full navigation system, MP3 playback, and Bluetooth hands-free,” said Karen Rubin, director of marketing and product planning for navigation products at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

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    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking
  • More Stolen GPS Units in the News


    Worcester MA (about 60 miles west of Boston) has a mini-GPS crime wave going on, maybe your city will too. In a period of about 7 weeks, 29 GPS systems were stolen in the city, 27 of them ripped out of cars.

    “We’ve been looking at the GPS systems being the primary target of a lot of break-ins to motor vehicles,” Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said. “We’re in the process of having our Crime Analysis Unit specifically map the locations of where the GPS are being stolen, so we can have a better handle on times of day and specific locations, so that we can put some strategies in place to address this.”

    On March 19th, apparently a thief was so bold as to try to steal a GPS out of a US Marshall van that was clearly marked with who's car it was. Luckily for the marshall, the GPS was inside with him and only the empty box was sitting on the seat at the time.

    So, by all means take them off the windshield when parking and carry them with you. Recall that Garmin has what they call Garmin Lock - which sets PIN code for the GPS so that it won't work for the thief.... but it's still long gone before s/he figures that out though.

    More at the Worcester Telegram

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

    April 17, 2007

    GPS Prices Show Downward Trend

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    GPSWorld has put up a nice article about the dropping prices in the GPS market. The study done by PriceGrabber shows a continuing downward trend in GPS prices, despite new introductions of high end products, like the Garmin Nuvi 660. The lower end products and the introduction of value oriented products like the Mio C310x and the Via Michelin X-930 into the market open up stiff competition around the $200 price range. The data is interesting and shows that Garmin maintains a premium price over the next rivals, although 2007 will quicken the pace to lower priced GPS models with a faster pace of value introductions, including the Nuvi 200 series. What is also evident to me is that TomTom had a premium priced model that it was not able to maintain and abandoned that in about September of 2006.

    The study also classified the GPS market as “niche” and that it is still going towards mainstream. I think that is changing right now, and that the turning point can be traced back to Black Friday 2006 when GPS systems joined laptops and flat screen TVs as some of the front-page door-busters at several stores.

    The full story is an interesting read: at GPSWorld

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

    April 16, 2007

    GoogleEarth and Trimble Outdoors with Hiker/GPS Data

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    Google Earth has upped the GPS and hiker friendly tools available to us all. They have partnered with Trimble Outdoors to bring some interesting new content to us. When you fire up GoogleEarth, the content from other peoples' hikes will be there along with Trimble Outdoors data to help you plan some great outings.

    More at Google Blog

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

    April 12, 2007

    Global Locate vs. SiRF – GPS Chipset Patent Dispute

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    I thought I would post a summary of the patent dispute between the two GPS chipset giants. I don’t pretend to be a patent lawyer specializing in GPS electronics technology, so forgive me, but a lot of folks are interested in what’s going on here and what the latest news is. It's well known that SiRF created a breakthrough change in the GPS chipset market with their SiRF star III chipset. Global Locate has developed their own chipset that is a high sensitivity receiver and then the patent battles began. A big change in the tide occurred in January 2007 when TomTom confirmed that they are moving to Global Locate chipsets for their TomTom ONE unit, kicking off a tit-for-tat dispute that has lawyers spending late nights trying to one up the other guys.

    Here's some info for you:

  • Motorola Invests in Global Locate
  • TomTom Rumors that they are moving to Global Locate Chips - after which the SiRF stock dropped precipitously as a result of the rumor.
  • SiRF then Sues Global Locate for Patent Infringement - SiRF's complaint alleges infringement by Global Locate and its distributor of four of SiRF's GPS technology patents: U.S. Patent Nos. 7,091,904; 7,043,363; 6,850,557; and 6,636,178.
  • Global Locate then counter sues SiRF
  • TomTom confirms that it is Going with Global Locate Chips and not SiRF on the TTOne model.
  • SiRF seeks to halt GPS Imports that include Global Locate Chips; could this mean the TomTom ONE?
  • Similarly Global Locate wants to stop GPS imports that have the offending or disputed rather GPS chipsets in them, namely models from ETen, Mitac, Mio, and Pharos. I wonder why they didn't pick Garmin or TomTom? Their SiRF Star III equipped models may not infringe or it may just be a prudent business decision not to piss off the two global leaders and potential HUGE clients.
  • An Investigation was officially opened on the above complaint by Global Locate.


    Stay tuned, more to come, I am sure!

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking
  • April 9, 2007

    Mobile Phones from Garmin and TomTom?

    So, everyone is moving their handsets to include GPS capability, and for the most part the jury is out on how these are going to fare in the marketplace. I personally think that it's more easily understandable for consumers to add a GPS to a Known device (Phone, PDA, etc) than for a GPS to add other capabilities that will allow people to use navigation and other things like personal organizer functions, and such.

    I saw this article this morning and had to look twice at it. DigiTimes is reporting that the folks over in Taiwan are hearing rumors of both Garmin and TomTom working on handsets with GPS functionality. Now these folks report on the cutting edge of what's coming down the line and what the rumors are in the land of GPS manufacturing. It wouldn't surprise me if both GPS giants are playing in this area with other makers or even venturing out on their own. It's a high bar though; you'll use a mobile phone as a phone 75+% of the time, so that aspect better be right before you even think about the navigation aspects.

    More at DigiTimes

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

    April 4, 2007

    Global Locate Seeks to Halt GPS Sales

    Global Locate is upping the ante on the battle with SiRF, bringing the battle to SiRF customers. In a complaint filed on April 2 with the US International Trade Commission spreads to involve Mitac/Mio, E-Ten and Pharos in the big GPS chip dispute. The complaint requests that the ITC starts an immediate investigation and then as a result halts the importation of these devices into the US as a result of alleged patent infringements.

    This is not unlike the recent SiRF filing.

    This is the latest salvo in the patent infringement battle between the two GPS chip companies. Nothing like halting shipments to get people's attention. Stay tuned.

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

    April 2, 2007

    Garmin Nuvi 200/250/270 Available for Pre-order

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    The Garmin Nuvi 200 series is now available for pre-order at Amazon. The units were promised in "April" according to their original press release. Can't wait to see them on the market.

  • Read my hands on review of the Nuvi 250.
  • Read More on the Nuvi 200/250/270 here at GPSLodge.

    At Amazon:

  • Garmin Nuvi 200
  • Garmin Nuvi 250
  • Garmin Nuvi 270

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking
  • March 24, 2007

    NAVTEQ Announces LBS Semi-Finalists

    NAVTEQ announced the semifinalist applications in the 2007 NAVTEQ Global LBS Challenge. There are a few interesting ideas in the navigation category that should be adopted by all mobile phone companies... like marking the locatin of your car so you can find it again easily, and parking spot finder services (although the implementatin could be a mess). The program is designed to encourage application developers around the world to build innovative location-based services (LBS) that work with mobile and wireless devices using dynamic positioning technology and NAVTEQ® maps. NAVTEQ selected 16 applications in the Americas region, out of over 340 companies registered for the LBS Challenge globally, to continue on to a final judging round at CTIA Wireless 2007 based on each competitor’s commercial feasibility, functionality and design.

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

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