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PocketGPSWorld.com Event Article

IFA 2008 : Consumer Electronics Unlimited


IFA 2008 is billed as the "world’s leading trade show for the general public". In March we have the CeBIT Trade Fair in Hannover specifically targeted towards the business community showcasing the latest developments in the company's product lines. In contrast IFA is more of a consumer exhibition with companies demonstrating actual products that are either in the stores or will be in time for the Christmas rush. IFA is also a Trade Fair for businesses to visit and discover the latest in technical goodies that they will be selling in their shops.

The IFA show is an all encompassing event covering all aspects of Consumer Electronics from the latest super sized LCD TVs to washing machines. Sandwiched somewhere in that range is the SatNav, GPS and Mobile products... There are over 30 GPS companies exhibiting at the show including some of the main SatNav companies like Garmin, Mio, Navigon and TomTom along with some of our friends from Taiwan such as Holux and GlobalTop.

All in All it looks like being a great show. Darren and I will be reporting from Berlin later this week. If you have any questions that you would like us to put to the manufacturers please add it to the comments.


Created by Mike Barrett on Tuesday, August 26 @ 11:30:24 EDT


Is it time to look to another country to host international trade fairs??


Yet another sad turn of events at IFA was the "heavy handed" approach to the policing of alleged Patent Infringements. We saw the Zoll (German customs) shut down many exhibitors following complaints by Italian based company Sisvel. Sisvel is a Patent Management company that handles multiple patent licensing and in particular Philips DVD MPEG patents. Interestingly the companies that are being targeted are not just the far eastern "copy-cat" manufacturers but include many household names as well.

At CeBIT in Hannover ThinkNavi were subject to Patent Infringement action. ThinkNavi were under the impression that they had a valid licensing agreement in place but that didn't stop the stand being raided and their products being impounded. At IFA in Berlin, MSI were subjected to a Zoll raid, as was the Taiwanese company Teco. Teco's stand was "invaded" by armed customs officers who impounded many products over alleged DVD patent infringements including 13 LCD TV sets which did not even have DVD hardware! Teco are understandably now pursuing legal action over damage to its reputation but in many other cases it may be too late or too costly to do so.

Is this an acceptable way to enforce patents? Where there is clear evidence and unquestionable infringements i.e. obvious copies then such action is wholly justified but in these and many other cases we have seen this year at both CeBIT and IFA there has been much doubt as to the validity of the claims. It would appear that the action is being initiated to: "check for evidence of patent breaches" which is even less acceptable. Why are the raids conducted once the show is open? Would it not be better to conduct discrete inspection priot to the doors opening? In stead it appears as if the company is creating a media event designed to shame the companies involved and to wave a big stick at other companies that it may target in the future. The correct place to enforce patents is in a court of law where clear and positive proof is required and both side have the opportunity to put their arguments. Should subsequent enforcement be deemed appropriate it should be done under the guidance of an expert who can identify the infringing items.

This kind of action, particularly if it is later proved unjustified can only serve to adversely affect the companies bringing it. Does Philips really want this sort of publicity? It also does not represent Germany very well as a country that welcomes visiting foreign nationals wishing to do business. If it continues then maybe we should start to consider hosting the big international trade fairs in another country with less draconian attitudes to enforcement.

Patents are a good mechanism for protecting your intellectual property. If you invent something you have full rights to benefit from your hard work. However they are increasingly being used as a business tool, with the effect of damaging reputations of your competitor in a heavy handed way.


Armed customs officers at IFA
Armed customs officers at IFA


Article by Mike Barrett on Tuesday, September 09 @ 11:48:08 EDT


Airbiquity a conduit for mobile data...


IFA was a meeting place for old friends. When I visited the Holux booth I was surprised to meet Jordon Shieh who used to be at Rikaline, and is now the VP for Sales and Marketing for Holux. While I was chatting to Grace about the GPS Industry along came Ralf Hug, ex Garmin, ex Navigon, now VP Marketing and Product Management for Airbiquity based in Seattle USA.

Ralf was not exhibiting as such, but was making contact and raising the awareness of Airbiquity. He gave me and Grace a presentation of the product which enables anyone with a phone with Bluetooth hands-free to obtain data from a central server without the need for a data contract. In fact that is the crux of the service, data can be transferred just using the voice features of the phone, you do not need GPRS, or a data plan, no fiddling around trying to get the access point settings right, no costly roaming data charges... Just a simple voice connection dialling to a standard phone number.

When I questioned Ralf about the technology involved to implement this I likened it to the old analogue modems I used to use 20+ years ago. These worked by issuing a series of tones and whistles using an acoustic coupler to a similar device at the other end of the phone line, a bit like a fax machine. This system uses similar technology but the requirement for all the extra hardware no longer exists.

This sounds too good to be true, so what are the drawbacks? Well the implementation requires the use of tones over a voice connection so the bandwidth is not going to be great. It is fine for downloading small data packets like traffic, POIs, messaging, but try downloading a map and you will run into problems. what this will be good for is the dynamic interactive services for PNDs without the hassle and worry of how much it is costing, and how to configure it.

Maybe this is the way forward for connected devices rather than looking at creating devices with built-in SIM cards and the (currently) expensive and restrictive issues involved with data and roaming.


Conceptual diagram of the airbiquity system
Conceptual diagram of the airbiquity system

Possible use model for airbiquity data over voice service
Possible use model for airbiquity data over voice service


Article by Mike Barrett on Tuesday, September 09 @ 11:01:40 EDT


MyGuide introduce the World's First GPS Video Camera


We saw MyGuide at CeBIT in March this year where they were showing a "NavJacket" with the ONeill brand. Well once again they have come up with a new, novel, World First device: a HD Videocam with built in GPS to geocode your videos.

The m.icatcher is a video or stills camera which is based around Solid State media (SD/HDSD) it has 32Mb of onboard memory, a 3" High res monitor, it has a f2.6 7mm fixed lens with digital zoom capabilities. The output is Jpeg for stills and either MOV (Mpeg4) or MP4 (H.264) for movies. It can be connected to a TV supporting both NTSC/PAL and HDMI formats. Weighing in at 350g it is fairly light but this does not include the batteries.

I have been a big fan of Geotagging for many years now. My first efforts started about 5 years ago using a Garmin GPS, Memory-Map, and a Visual Basic program with lots of excel macros. Times have moved on since then and the geotagging of stills pictures has matured to a point where it can almost be regarded as a consumer product. The m.icatcher is a world first which will allow you to locate your videos in geoaware applications such as Google Earth in much the same way as geotagged stills pictures.

I only saw the camera at IFA, and not the supporting software, but I was promised a review sample as soon as the show finishes later in the week.


MyGuide Digital Video camera with built in GPS
MyGuide Digital Video camera with built in GPS


Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, September 01 @ 18:58:17 EDT


Clive Taylor describes the new Garmin Products on video


Garmin announced 2 new PNDs at IFA and also provided a "Map Guarantee". I managed to grab Clive Taylor, Garmin's Director of Marketing for Europe, to tell us the details of the new devices and explain the Map Guarantee. Clive kindly agreed to let us record his comments.


Click here for a Quicktime format video.
Click here for a Windows Media format video.



Article by Mike Barrett on Friday, August 29 @ 23:47:23 EDT


Garmin introduce the Nuvi 510


Recently we reported that Garmin had launched a new multi-purposed device with Road, Trail and Marine mapping. We had a lot of comments about waterproof and motorbike usage, but lacking the capability to transmit the voice commands wirelessly. Well that has now been addressed with the Nuvi 510.

Essentially the Nuvi 510 has the same specification as the Nuvi 500, but has a bike mount as well as a car mount. The most important feature though is the transmission of the audible navigation commands via bluetooth.



Article by Mike Barrett on Friday, August 29 @ 21:41:32 EDT


Navigon launch new sat nav models


Navigon introduced the 1200 | 1210 and 2200 | 2210 series at their press conference earlier today.

The 1200 comes with UK & Ireland maps, the 1210 with European maps of 40 countries and brings reality view and lane assistant to an entry level device with an expected RRP for the 2210 of £124.99.

The 2200 with UK & Ireland and the 2210 with European mapping adds a more fully featured version of the Reality View together with TMC and Text to Speech for a RRP of £149.99 (2210).


Navigon 1210
Navigon 1210

Navigon 2210
Navigon 2210

1210 Reality View
1210 Reality View


Article by Darren Griffin on Friday, August 29 @ 18:56:25 EDT


Garmin introduce 3d Buildings and Reality View


Garmin have announced a new 7x5 that introduces a new 3D view with semi-transparent buildings and also reality view/lane assist.

They have also launched the nuvi 265/275 entry level models which bring bluetooth and lifetime traffic (Navteq data) to the specification sheet.


New 3D view
New 3D view

Reality View
Reality View


Article by Darren Griffin on Friday, August 29 @ 11:19:29 EDT


Random snaps from the halls at IFA


A blog of random photo's as we tour the labyrinth of halls here at IFA. There are many interesting things we see as we wear out the shoe leather and not all need lengthy explanation so I'll populate this blog with snaps as we proceed.

Sadly early impressions are that there is very little new to report from the GPS Hall (Hall 9). Aside from TomTom's 940 LIVE announcement and Navigon's launch (news of which should be available in 10mins or so) there is nothing else new so we shall do our best to trawl the expo for other interesting snippets, accessories etc.


Globaltop SCD
Globaltop Speed Camera Detector

Anyone for GPS Golf?
A GPS for Golfers (isn't that cheating?)

Germans speed too
It may be OK on some Autobahn's but nowhere else

Herbert Richter Design readies retail product range
HR Design readies retail product range


Article by Darren Griffin on Friday, August 29 @ 10:39:24 EDT


German Customs take enforcement action


A regular feature of CeBIT and IFA is the first day enforcement action of German Customs (Zoll). They are regularly seen taking action against companies who have breached customs laws or are the subject of other enforcement actions such as breach of copyright, failure to observe license terms etc.

This morning the Zoll were to be found in the Taiwan and Hong Kong/Korea halls with half a dozen companies and their stands surrounded by officials.


German Customs
German Customs taking enforcement action


Article by Darren Griffin on Friday, August 29 @ 10:35:48 EDT


Navigon get ready for Press Conference


Navigon's stand in Halle 9 is cloaked in secrecy ahead of their scheduled Press Congerence at 11am. Whereas most launches aren't a huge secret, Navigon have done a good job of keeping the lid firmly shut on what is to be revealed this morning.

Mike's currently attending the Press Launch whilst I catch up with the blogs taking full advantage of a nice strong WLAN signal in the Conference Centre.

Navigon is a strong brand in Germany (it's home market) and whilst it has never proved to be hugely popular in the UK they have always had a strong product line-up and some ground breaking features but they have always lacked comprehensive support for third party POIs, in particular anyone wishing to use a 3rd part speed camera database has had to jump through many hoops in order to do so. Let's hope that this is amongst the areas they improve with today's product announcement(s).

Meanhwile an otherwise impressive Navigon display frame on their stand is somewhat spoilt by the display they managed to squeeze in or didn't as the case may be! Perhaps they are hoping that the cost of 50” display screens will fall?


Navigon Stand - Hall9 before Press Conference
Cloaked in secrecy!


A 50“ Monitor costs How Much???


Article by Darren Griffin on Friday, August 29 @ 10:21:42 EDT


Video of the TomTom GO 940 Live in action


Well today was a bit of a surprise as far as the TomTom presentation went. A connected PND incorporating Google Search Real Time live traffic, and various other online services. Combined this with upgraded 24/7 IQ Routing and a refreshed user interface and you have yet another winning device from the TomTom stable. It is good to see that TomTom have concentrated their efforts on the core navigation functionality and not moved into the realms of talking books, video players or travel guides with the GO 940.

It is good news in a way, we have been talking about connected GPS devices for many years now. The impetus for this development has been hard work from TomTom having to deal with Mobile Network providers in many countries to provide a fixed fee value added service. The downside is that the service is not going to be a European service, or even a regional service. Unfortunately the Live services will only work in a single country. Once again we see the restrictive practices of the network operators stifling technical innovation. Having said that how many of us actually travel a lot in other countries, probably very few, certainly not a great deal of us in the UK do but if you live in the Benelux region, or in any of the border regions of mainland Europe.

We were lucky to get our hands on one of the devices and have made a short video showing some of the new features. Sorry about the audio quality, but this was a quick mashup not using our normal studio facilities.


Click here for a Quicktime format video.
Click here for a Windows Media format video.



Article by Mike Barrett on Thursday, August 28 @ 22:13:57 EDT


TomTom Launch New x40 LIVE SatNav Range at IFA (540 / 740 / 940)


Well, there were plenty of rumours and speculations and even a sneak peak on the TomTom site but the x40 range has been officially launched at IFA in Berlin.

The new 540, 740 and 940 connected devices provide dynamic routing taking into account current road conditions. Each one uses TomTom's HD Traffic service as well as a new, updated IQ-Routes. Perhaps the most useful addition is the Google 'Local Search' feature - search Google via the Satnav and navigate straight to it. Voice Control has also been updated with over 100 tasks now voice-activated.

The devices will cost from £299 from Autumn 2008 with subscription to the LIVE services costing £9.95 per month.

More information should be added soon along with some pictures as Darren and Mike are attending IFA...

Please refer to the PocketGPSWorld.com forums for the full press release.


TomTom x40
New Menu Icons Showing the Google Search Button


Article by maft on Thursday, August 28 @ 14:28:00 EDT


Comments
Posted by jonandmarkuk on Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:40 pm Reply with quote

Can you ask Navigon a couple of questions;

1. Would like to know when the new models are going to support custom POI for your speed camera database.

2. If they plan to release the ViaMichelin guide data outside of France in the future.

3. If the new 'Landmark View 3D' will be offered to other v7 software models.. i.e the 8110.

4. Any additional downloads which maybe coming to 'myNavigon', such as POI / guides / tour routes.

Wish I could have gone to collect my free Leather case for the 8110 Sad

Still wonder what Navigon are going to announce on Friday as they have done a very good job of nothing leaking out ?

Cheers


Navigon 8450 LIVE

 
Posted by MikeB on Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:29 pm Reply with quote

jonandmarkuk Wrote:
Can you ask Navigon a couple of questions;

1. Would like to know when the new models are going to support custom POI for your speed camera database.

2. If they plan to release the ViaMichelin guide data outside of France in the future.

3. If the new 'Landmark View 3D' will be offered to other v7 software models.. i.e the 8110.

4. Any additional downloads which maybe coming to 'myNavigon', such as POI / guides / tour routes.

Wish I could have gone to collect my free Leather case for the 8110 Sad

Still wonder what Navigon are going to announce on Friday as they have done a very good job of nothing leaking out ?

Cheers

OK Well I listened to the Navigon Press Conference which was in German. Fortunately they provided translation services as Lutz wasnt there. Some of the points got "lost in translation" so I grabbed a couple of the Navigon guys to make sure I got the right answers.

In the Press Conference they were talking about user POIs. When I questioned them in more detail it turns out that they were really talking about Favourites. "Real" downloadable POIs are being worked on at this moment, but they would not be pushed as to when they would be implemented.

Basically I am not sure that I understand the answer I was given about Via Michelin guides for countries other than France. The answer I got seemed to be no, but they are working with similar providers in other countries. So some form of guides may appear, but not VM ones.

As far as the 3D Landmarks are concerned I was told that they were not able to confirm anything. But...

Additional downloads for MyNavigon would include:
- Curve Warnings
- Funny Voices
- 3D Landmarks (maybe)

There seemed to be a bit of confusion about the 3D Landmarks so I found another (non-PR) member of the Navigon team who told me that the 3D Landmarks will be available for some of the existing devices, but he couldnt at this moment define which ones. The reason for the selective implementation is one of hardware compatibility.


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by jonandmarkuk on Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:31 am Reply with quote

MikeB Wrote:
In the Press Conference they were talking about user POIs. When I questioned them in more detail it turns out that they were really talking about Favourites. "Real" downloadable POIs are being worked on at this moment, but they would not be pushed as to when they would be implemented.

Basically I am not sure that I understand the answer I was given about Via Michelin guides for countries other than France. The answer I got seemed to be no, but they are working with similar providers in other countries. So some form of guides may appear, but not VM ones.

As far as the 3D Landmarks are concerned I was told that they were not able to confirm anything. But...

Additional downloads for MyNavigon would include:
- Curve Warnings
- Funny Voices
- 3D Landmarks (maybe)

There seemed to be a bit of confusion about the 3D Landmarks so I found another (non-PR) member of the Navigon team who told me that the 3D Landmarks will be available for some of the existing devices, but he couldnt at this moment define which ones. The reason for the selective implementation is one of hardware compatibility.


Cheers.

I had noticed the 'curve' symbol on the pictures of the new model and thought to myself 'I've never seen that before' Wink

To be honest I was really disappointed that the 'secret' turned out to be just a lower spec model? I can't understand why they wanted to be so secrative but revealed details of the 7210??

I'm hoping the 8110 would be hardware compatible for the 3D, but I wonder if you have to pick between Landmark or Panaramic view and not both at the same time... recently went for a drive in the country and the Panaramic view really came into it's own clearly showing the valleys and hills.

I wish Navigon would be more up front about plans for custom POI, I wonder if they are developing something 'in house' and have upset the makers of POI Warner ?


Navigon 8450 LIVE

 
Posted by Darren on Mon Sep 01, 2008 10:46 am Reply with quote

A cheaper budget model with a good range of features is a good thing as it will improve the sales and hopefully lead to more from Navigon. The continued lack of user POI support is inexcusable though, this is IMHO an essential on any current device.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by MikeB on Mon Sep 01, 2008 11:53 am Reply with quote

jonandmarkuk Wrote:

I'm hoping the 8110 would be hardware compatible for the 3D, but I wonder if you have to pick between Landmark or Panaramic view and not both at the same time... recently went for a drive in the country and the Panaramic view really came into it's own clearly showing the valleys and hills.

I suspect that the 8110 will be OK (but dont quote me on that). Although not explicitly stated I suspect that it is a processor issue and the 8110 is one of the better specified units.


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com

 
Posted by jonandmarkuk on Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Darren Wrote:
A cheaper budget model with a good range of features is a good thing as it will improve the sales and hopefully lead to more from Navigon. The continued lack of user POI support is inexcusable though, this is IMHO an essential on any current device.


They also really need to sort out decent retail channels for the UK. Confused
I think they have relied too much on POI Warner for the custom POI's and maybe because the software was mostly on built in units there never was a way to load custom POI's on until they launched there own range of units.


Navigon 8450 LIVE

 
Posted by Darren on Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:42 pm Reply with quote

As far as retail is concerned I understand they have secured orders from some major UK retail outlets whose names I won't mention as yet. This should result in a much bigger presence here.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
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