October 5, 2006

Market Overview and the Next Generation of the GPS

Decent article today in the Wall St. Journal that talks about the next generation of GPS devices. They have a big splash picture of the Mio H610 right at the top saying that it’s like a small iPod. They go on to talk about the Mio H610’s launch along with other new GPS units that are launching this Fall. If you’ve been hanging out here at the GPS Lodge, you’ll already know about all of the new GPS units that they talk about. The article is a classic, “Hey these GPS’s are actually pretty good” type of an article, but focuses on what is accurately a coming trend. The GPS capability will be adopted by more people, and used more and more away from the car in the future as pedestrians and bikers need navigation too.

Finally I thought is was interesting that they cited sales predictions from Consumer Electronics Association forecasts that say sales of GPS navigation systems will grow 88% this year to 1.3 Million units, with sales expected to be 4.2 million units by 2010. This contrasts to the prediction for in-dash units only selling 225,000 units by 2010. I have to say, people want that portability, and it comes in flat GPS units like the Garmin Nuvi, the Mio C310, C710 and new H610, the TomTom ONE, and the newer Magellan RoadMate 2000 series line.

ReadMore at WSJ

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

October 4, 2006

Traffic.com Gets Patent for New Traffic Display on GPS

Traffic.com announced that it has been issued a patent for animated display of real-time traffic flow on maps. The patent applies to a graphical representation of a roadway system which depicts animated traffic flow. This will be interesting to see how far "Animated" goes; does it mean moving and alive, or does it mean changing in real-time. If it means the latter, then some current systems on GPS units might be covered by this patent. The third claim on the patent actually covers color coding of roadways, which is exactly what the current systems do.

ArrowContinue reading: "Traffic.com Gets Patent for New Traffic Display on GPS"

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

Editorial: 11 things I would do if I were Garmin

I thought I would write down a few of the things that have been nagging at me about how to improve Garmin and make it better. This isn’t a rant or a flame on the company; it’s just that I love seeing GPS’s adopted and used by new people. I think that some of these ideas can help with the adoption of the products and the quality of what Garmin offers to the marketplace. If you have some ideas, I’d love to hear them; leave a comment. If you think I am being unfair, hold on, the TomTom list is coming tomorrow. Here we go:

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

Garmin Zumo 550 - Quick Peek & Video Review

So, Chet over at the Garmin Blog has posted a little video review montage of his new Garmin Zumo 550, and walks us through some of the features of this new motorcycle GPS. The unit is specifically designed to work on a motorcycle, with Bluetooth capabilities to transmit navigation commands to a wireless headset, it's waterproof, and works well with gloved hands. On top of this, its set up makes it easy to use with your left hand, so you won't be taking your right off the throttle to use the GPS!

The unit also supports a nice feature that I would like on more GPS units; namely the ability to pre-program routes, much like you have on handheld devices. This will allow you to program in that long haul cruise from point to point taking the more scenic roads that are better for enjoying the ride than getting there fast.

Take a look at the video below:

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

October 3, 2006

New GPS: Navman F20

Navman announced today a new entry-level addition to its line of in-vehicle navigation products, the Navman F20. The basic unit comes in a flat form factor for less that $400, including a bunch of decent entry-level features: full maps, SiRF star III chipset, and an onboard battery. Looks like everyone is diving for the low end these days, just in time for the Holiday buying season. ArrowContinue reading: "New GPS: Navman F20"

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

Boston to Install Red Light Cameras?

Well known in other cities and in Europe, Boston is trying to move forward with the installation of Red Light cameras. The mayor of Boston has been trying to get a measure passed for a while, but has been stopped by legal and insurance hurdles. Now he is trying to get cameras installed in specific locations, which will limit the scope of the law and presumably the concern over the change.

With many models of GPS units, you can download the locations of the Red Light Cameras as custom POI's that allow you to be warned when approaching them, which can help you make sure you are on the right side of the law. One such site in the US that has a vast database of custom POIs is gps-poi-us.com. Check them out, they have Red Light Camera locations for all over the US, as well as other up to date POI databases (Restaurants, Stores, etc) available for download.

More on POI Databases and Boston Installing Cameras

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

October 2, 2006

What is TMC Traffic?

The TMC stands for Traffic Message Channel, and is a great way to get Traffic issues sent to your GPS via FM signals that can’t be picked up by a normal FM car stereo. TMC is a specific application of the RDS or Radio Data System for silently transmitting information like traffic and weather over FM signals. This data-only traffic signal is sent out via ClearChannel communications (in the US), with data provided by Inrix, a large aggregator of traffic information. This TMC signal gives you easy real-time warnings of tie-ups, accidents, slow traffic, and allows you and your GPS to avoid these messes, and is always on. The service is available in about 50 cities across the US. The ClearChannel System has an advantage over traffic.com based systems because it has a broader reach and can get you traffic information on more roads that the competition. Here’s why:

ArrowContinue reading: "What is TMC Traffic?"

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

September 29, 2006

Garmin Nuvi 660 Now Shipping


The Garmin Nuvi 660, is shipping at Amazon and at a new lower price. They had it pegged at a grand; now priced at below $950. Mental note for later: Don't pre-order and wait until they announce shipping to save 5%. I know it's not much, but hey, I'll take the $50 handout. We're pretty heavy on the Nuvi 660 news this week, but hey, I am excited to be using mine for a review that we'll be writing up in a couple of weeks. So far so good. I'll tell you a couple of things right away - I know I should save it for the review, but what the heck.

Quick Peek on our Review of the Nuvi 660
Brightest screen I have ever seen - This screams in the sunlight, I have no trouble with seeing this thing. Widescreen is the way to go. The extra real estate is nice when driving. Garmin added navigation to a Latitude & Longitude set of coordinates! Yea! Just in time, I am going away for the weekend to a camp that I have coordinates for but no address. Go figure it's in the middle of the White Mountain National Forest. Humm, so I guess no pizza delivery. Alright, that's all. Have a great weekend.

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

September 28, 2006

Garmin Nuvi 660 Mini-Site


If you wanted to check out what the marketing folks over at Garmin have been up to, check out the new Nuvi 660 minisite. This little flash wonder is basic in its dataset, but crisp and cool in the presentation. Nicely used in conjunction with other marketing campaigns, it can help the hipster target audience review what the Nuvi 660 can do.

Check it out - it'll only take a few minutes...

"Nuvi 660 wider, brighter"

Click HERE for the original announcement on the Garmin Nuvi 660.

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

September 27, 2006

Garmin Zumo 550 Designed to Ride


So, we recently had a reader question about how the Garmin Zumo 550 would hold up to the demands of riding on the open road, specifically how would it do in regards to the vibration experienced out on the road. In talking to Garmin, I found out that this was of course a key focus of the design process. A review of the Garmin Zumo 550 designed one can relize that it is primarily for motorcycling from the ground up, from the waterproofness, to the solid state memory (no moving hard drives to get ruined) and the mounting hardware. So vibration should not be an issue. They also factored in some more commonly talked about features like the fact that it is Bluetooth compatible with ear pieces for audio while wearing a helmet, and the fact that it will work with gloved hands.

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

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