OnStar Navigation gets a Boost

General Motors announced that more than 2 million vehicles in calendar 2007 will offer a new turn-by-turn voice navigation service through OnStar. The service is being billed as a lower cost alternative to the factory installed in-dash systems that cost over $1,500. With the service, users call OnStar, and the route is downloaded to the car’s computer where it will be “played” back through the stereo speakers. On some models the turn indicator will show up in the stereo’s display. On star cars have a GPS system box already installed as part of their OnStar system, so navigation is a normal outgrowth of the technology.

The service will be available standard on Buicks and Cadillacs in 2007 models. Other GM vehicles will have the service available for a $100 option. In Year two, the service will cost $299 per year.

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

August 30, 2006

TeleNav GPS Navigator 5.0

TeleNav introduced TeleNav GPS Navigator 5.0, the first GPS application on mobile phones that provides US consumers with full-color three dimensional (3D) moving maps, creating a more realistic and easy-to-follow visual navigation experience. Sounds interesting. I expect that the market for mobile phone GPS units will heat up as occasional use items when trying to navigate. This will most likely be a point of market entry for people getting into navigation. Eventually serious users will want/need to move up to something with a bit more horsepower like a stand alone GPS system.

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

Mod Your Nikon D200 with a GPS

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Don’t like the recent GPS Tagger product announcement from Sony for your camera, and can’t wait for one from Nikon? Well, if you have a spare
Garmin Geko hanging around, you’ll now be able to construct your own GPS tagger and tie it to your Nikon D200 digital SLR. Not bad.

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

August 29, 2006

More News on Dash - Aware GPS Systems

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In more news on Dash, we learn a bit more about the company that takes up residence in Mountain View CA. With only 44 employees that have been working for the last 3 years on what they hope to be a ground breaking product and service, they sure are making a splash in the news. As BusinessWeek talked this past weekend, and I posted yesterday, Dash is looking at networking location aware equipment to that you learn about traffic jams from other GPS users.

Your GPS will learn real-tie traffic issues from others on the road ahead of you. I did a patent search and found a few issued patents on car networks and ways for onboard devices to communicate.


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

Garmin Sues TomTom (Again)

Garmin has filed a second patent infringement lawsuit this year against rival TomTom. The lawsuit, filed Aug. 23 in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas, alleges that TomTom is infringing on a patent that Garmin won in June. The patent is titled: "Portable navigation system and device with audible turn by turn directions." Patent Number 7,062,378.

In reading this patent, there are a lot of meaty claims in it that would pretty much cover the GPS market as it stands. The whole feature of adjusting your route if you make a wrong turn is in it (Claims 17/20), but the key claims are around offering audible directions. This would say that audible directions that are generated by a route are intellectual property owned by Garmin. Wow, that’s pretty broad. Can you imagine a GPS that doesn’t do that?

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

TrailRunner and NanoMaps - Workouts to go

TrailRunner is a Mac Based route planning software for all kinds of long distance sports like running, biking, hiking, inline-skating, skiing and more. If you ever asked yourself how long your workout routes are and what route you should choose for this evening — then TrailRunner should be your training-partner. TrailRunner can calculate a route for your desired distance and export directions onto your iPod, giving you a detailed orientation while you are on your way.

You can even use NanoMaps to graphically show your planned route. Pretty cool.

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

Clarification on BusinessWeek Article

So yesterday I posted about a BusinessWeek article that I said was biased in favor of TomTom and called it wrong. Biased is a strong a word in journalism, and that was probably a bit harsh for the situation. Sorry about that. Author, Arik Hesseldahl, laid out his assessment in the article of what has happened in the GPS market. He's got the facts right, but my opinion is that still has a slant that paints Garmin as followers in the market. We don't know what changed things for Garmin in 2004, but they certainly got a wake-up call at some point to spur their innovation cycle on. Did they follow TomTom? Did they try to sprint past a sagging Magellan? Don't know.

TomTom shook things up when they entered the US market. Garmin stepped things up and launched strong models throughout 2005 as a result of big R&D spending increases – what their motivation was to step up their R&D spend, we won’t really know. Was it the competitive threat of TomTom or was it that they recognized that Magellan was being neglected. Either way, Garmin owns the US market at this point, and it is theirs to lose.

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

August 28, 2006

BusinessWeek got it Wrong: TomTom Profiled

Seems like BusinessWeek is paying attention to the GPS Navigation Market these days. There’s a decent write-up on TomTom there that walks back through the history of how TomTom formed and how they are doing in the US market. I don’t necessarily agree with their slant on how TomTom is taking over the GPS market while Garmin follows their lead. I have a lot of respect for TomTom, and I do agree that TomTom is an innovative company. Their TomTom PLUS service can and will help them create a relationship with their consumers that will be nearly unbreakable.

Update: See my post on a continuation of this subject - Clarification on BusinessWeek Article

The BusinessWeek article should have painted the real situation as this: the French Company Thales got complacent and let a star brand, Magellan, virtually die just as the GPS market started to take off. Garmin stepped up its R&D in 2004 and took over the US market, eventually capturing 50+% of the market share. At the same time, TomTom innovated in the marketplace and delivered GPS units that have a solid #2 spot in the US and a commanding lead in Europe. I applaud both TomTom and Garmin for their innovations, and am pretty happy to see Magellan on its own away from Thales who let it fall into ruin.

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

Dash Navigation - Tech Savvy New Comer to GPS Navigation

Interesting article in Business Week about a new GPS Navigation System Company Dash that will be announcing new products very soon. They have been working for some time now developing new products that have impressed BusinessWeek, and from what is written, sounds more than hype. “A new GPS manufacturer you say?” Yawn? Well it sounds like they have some interesting traffic technology up their sleeves that sounds like it does not rely solely on FM or XM satellite updates. It sounds like they are trying to create a network of GPS devices or GPS equipped devices to help determine traffic issues ahead of you. This is not unlike the Dust Network concept that Inrix is using to predict traffic flow patterns. They are planning a phased rollout of devices through 2007, and have a small 50 unit test going in San Francisco now that will be expanded to 200 units soon.

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

TeleAtlas - Map Insight Program HUGE step in making GPS Maps Right

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Tele Atlas, announced it will expand its map update system with Map Insight, an online tool that allows users of Internet, personal navigation and wireless devices and applications powered by Tele Atlas data to quickly report changes to the company. Released in limited availability, Map Insight will be made generally available during the fourth quarter of 2006.

First Step in a Dream Come True Scenario
I have to say that this could be the first step in my dream – updated mapsets in real time. I’ve talked about this dream before, and wow, someone else is dreaming about this too!

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

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