Joined: 20/08/2002 11:51:57 Posts: 3858 Location: Essex, UK
Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:34 am Post subject: GPS Product News From CES 2012 Las Vegas
This week saw the start of the first big consumer electronics exhibitions in Las Vegas: CES 2012. At CES the whole range of electronic gadgets are on show with companies promoting high-end stereo systems all the way down to the manufacturers and fabricators from the Far East looking to provide products and services to larger companies.
This year sees multi-media featuring strongly once again. This time it is 3D TV but in a change from the normal glasses 3D TV these are glasses free TVs that track your eyes and adjust the output according to your viewing position. A few years ago we were seeing an explosion of HDTVs from the main manufacturers, this year they are promoting 4K and even 8K sets (HDTV is 2K). The bandwidth required for this content is mind boggling, let alone the storage required for it.
Once again OLED is on display, the rich beautiful colours that the technology can render is amazing, but 6 years down the line we are only seeing it implemented in a small number of smartphones. I would love to own a 30" OLED monitor for my computer.
Anyway the goodies aside this site is all about navigation so lets look and see what CES has in store for GPS this year. As usual we have news from TomTom, Garmin, Magellan and CSR.
Returning to GPS products, TomTom have announced an upgrade to their popular iOS navigation application. The headline new features are the integration of Social Networks. Twitter integration has been a part of the recent GO Live Products, but now Facebook has been added. This makes a lot of sense as a large percentage of mobile users use these Social Networks whilst out and about. Interestingly TomTom are calling this 1.10 which is a little confusing as the current version is 1.9…
Garmin showed the new premium SatNav range: the nuvi 3500 series. The nuvi 3500 series are 'ultra-thin' 5 inch devices featuring the latest Garmin software including Guidance 3.0 navigation engine, Digital 3D traffic, and compatibility with a new Android application. The Digital 3D traffic uses information from the HD Radio Broadcasting System providing enhanced coverage in both area and speed of delivery. There are now 25 times more photo-realistic junction views incorporated in the US and Canada product. There are 2 models in the series: The 3550LM with lifetime mapping at $369.99 and the 3590LMT which adds lifetime traffic, voice controlled navigation and the Android app support for $399.99. The 3500 series is due to be in the shops in February 2012. Click here for more details on Garmin's website.
TomTom announced a revamp of their US product ranges. These will follow the European models being separated into 3 ranges: Start, VIA and GO LIVE. These represent entry level, intermediate and premium navigation devices. All the ranges feature Lifetime Map updates and Lifetime Traffic (Start and VIA) HD Traffic is on the GO LIVE range. The new products will be available in Spring 2012.
Magellan are to enter the commercial market with the introduction of the RoadMate Commercial 5190T GPS. This is aimed at Truckers, Fleet owners, and bus and taxi drivers. It is "packed with truck-specific features and information beneficial to commercial vehicle drivers, to make their job safer, easier, and far less stressful". Hardware features include a 5" color high-definition touchscreen display, a built-in speaker and wireless Bluetooth technology with an audio level up to 93dB, IPX-50 dustproof casing and an A/V input for external devices. Software features include commercial vehicle customised routing, multi-stop planning and route optimisation capabilities, Multiple Driver Login, free Lifetime Traffic Alerts etc. Priced at $379.99 it will be available in Spring 2012.
Staying with Magellan. The company is extending it's range of outdoor GPS devices with the eXplorist 110. Features include a sunlight readable color display, GPS chipset with 3-5 meters of accuracy, pre-loaded World Edition map, paperless geocaching, and much more. Easy to use for both beginners and more experienced outdoorsmen, the eXplorist 110 is the perfect companion for precise GPS signals and tracking while fishing, hiking, hunting, camping and many other outdoor activities. The entry level eXplorist 110 has an 18 hour battery life and is available now for $129.99.
The Chip Maker CSR who now manufacture the SiRF GPS products have announced that their SiRFStarIV chipset will be incorporated in the Timex Ironman Run Trainer. The Timex Ironman Run Trainer was designed to work in difficult conditions for athletes who don't want to train using lap based regimes. Incorporating the SiRFStarIV GPS it also has a heart rate monitor and can be used with the wireless ANT+ foot sensors. Check the Timex Ironman Run Trainer site for more information.
Of course we are keeping track of announcements in the GPS area, but there are many other new gadgets being announced. Probably the most innovative of these is "The Smart Baby Scale". This is a WiFi weighing scale with attachments to hold a baby this then connects to your iPhone via WiFi. As your baby grows so the scales can be reconfigured to weigh a toddler. If you are about to give birth then this is not for you as it will not be available until Q2 2012. There is no price mentioned but the adult version weighs in at about £100.
Maybe TomTom should concentrate on returning missing functionality of their current software (full distance traffic information, proper itinerary function, etc.) before adding useless bits of 'social media' tat.
I only use the TomTom in the car, so what's the point of having access to Twitter, Facebook, et al. If I need to use it on my iPad, then I already have many options for doing so, with a much better interface too.
Joined: Feb 27, 2006 Posts: 13738 Location: Keynsham
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:25 pm Post subject:
I only use the TomTom in the car, so what's the point of having access to Twitter, Facebook, et al.
Now that's where you're going wrong - you're supposed to use your TomTom to navigate from the office carpark into the office, then you can twit at somebody to tell them you've just got out of the car. Later, you can use it to navigate to the works canteen and, whilst on the way, you can invite all the other twits to lunch with you. _________________ Dennis
Joined: Jan 14, 2005 Posts: 19638 Location: Blackpool , Lancs
Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:42 pm Post subject:
Later, you can use it to navigate to the works canteen and, whilst on the way, you can invite all the other twits to lunch with you.
Sadly the battery would be flat by Lunchtime negating any further use of the useless Twitter options.
They (TomTom) dropped the mp3 capability as it wasn't "core funtionality" required for a nav unit, along with this went the options to use RF outputs for the audio (Bluetooth or FM Tx) which both had a direct use in the car to aid the capability of the Navigation device.
What I find incredible is that they now decide to add crap such as IM options to Live devices that are intended for use while driving, some morons that do exist and even have a driving license will purchase these and use them while out on the road. I accept they won't transmit while driving, I hope they don't receive either as that would be a major distraction.
Such inclusion of this capability is a degradation to road safety in my opinion, it has no place in the car and neither does it serve any purpose - Mike
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