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The Navman 2005 Press Day Date 7th September 2005

Article by Mike Barrett

 

Overview

 

The last time we saw the guys from Navman was at the Wales GPS meet just before they released the iCN 520. This time we met at The Vinyl Factory in Soho. In fact it was in the basement garage that the meeting took place. A strange location for a GPS presentation...

 

Yesterday I went with Tim Buxton and our newest moderator Sergei (aka Eldar). I was the lucky one who was picked up in a Mercedes limo from the train station and chauffeured to the underground garage.

 

Whilst in the limo I was given a working demo of the latest Navman release the iCN320. This is a budget SatNav system designed for the complete beginner. It is a plug and go device, that does not need any other system to run. This means that you don't need a PC.

 

What's new

There were 3 devices launched today: the iCN 320, the iCN 550 and the Pin570.

 

We reported on the Pin570 some time ago and it has been available for purchase for some time now. The iCN320 and iCN550 details were leaked on French web sites last week.

 

We had a hands on presentation of each of these devices cumulating in a demonstration drive around the Urban Canyons (and the frantic driving) of the streets of the west End of london.

 

Navman provided us with press releases which you can read at the end of this article. We also came away with a review sample of the iCN320 and the promise of an iCN550 when they become available next month. Full reviews of each system will follow shortly, in the meantime here is a short taster:

 

Navman icn320 and icn550Navman icn320 and icn550

The Navman iCN320

The iCN320 is priced at £279 and is designed to be an entry level navigation system that can be used by anybody. You do not require access to a computer, the internet or anything else to set it up and use it.

 

The iCN320 can be removed from the box, attached to the power source, and after a few simple questions you can start to navigate.

 

For the technically minded (not that this is the target market for the device) the iCN320 has the following specification:

  • Fully integrated GPS navigation system
  • SiRF II LP chipset
  • 2.83" screen
  • Intel PXA-255 300MHz processor
  • Internal non-replaceable battery
  • SD Card with application and maps

One of the things Navman have done with the iCN320 is to replace the 4-way plus enter button with a much more useable set of 4 individual buttons surrounding an enter button. Much more user friendly. Also introduced are Mobile Phone style soft buttons which change contextually dependant on the display.

 

The screen is very bright more so than a normal touch screen, it is still not possible to read in direct full sunlight, but is of course missing the touch screen functionality.

 

The design of the new "SmartST for iCN320" (as the software is called nice short snappy title) if focused very much on letting the driver know what is coming up and where the turns are. The software is missing some of the more "advanced" functionality like customisable POIs.

Navman iCN320
Navman icn320 and icn550              Navman icn320 and icn550

 

The new iCN320 volume controls and data entry buttons.

Navman icn320 and icn550

The new iCN320 soft keys.

 

The NavMan iCN550

The iCN550 is designed as a replacement for the iCN650, it has an internal hard disk. Priced at £599 (or £699 with traffic) it includes maps for the whole of Western Europe. The key new feature of this satNav device though is a Traffic Module.

 

The Traffic Module uses RDS TMC as its data source and can report traffic information in the UK, France, and Germany. There is an initial purchase/licensing cost for the traffic module, thereafter the service is free. The traffic information is provided in the UK by ITIS.

 

The Traffic Module is an optional plug in accessory which is available separately for £150, if you do not buy it with the main system.

 

The iCN550 has a touch screen for data entry as well as the circular navigation buttons as implemented on the iCN320. Following user feedback Navman have also introduced 2 new buttons for Fuel and Parking POIs. These allow you to quickly navigate to the nearest car park of petrol station.

 

As mentioned above the iCN550 has a 4GB hard drive, of which about 2.5Gb is used, leaving plenty of space for additional maps like the USA or Canada.

 

The iCN550 will be available in stores and eTailers from early October 2005. We are hoping to receive a review sample in the next few weeks.

 

 

Navman icn320 and icn550

Navman icn320 and icn550

Navman icn320 and icn550Street Trials

As the Press Day was all about GPS and Navigation Navman had laid on a number of demo cars to drive us around Central London to show us the new software in action.

 

I was picked up from Liverpool Street by David Wall the Global Product Manager for the iCN320. We spent about 40 minutes driving from the City to the West End of London (Just off Carnaby Street Groovy Baby). During this time David showed me the features and functionality of the iCN320. Unfortunately we had typical British summer weather and there was no sunshine to demo the brightness of the screen.

 

Despite only having a SiRF II chipset the satellite reception was good even when passing through some tall "Urban Canyons". The only time it lost a fix was when I was holding it in the centre of the car where it didn't have a good view of the sky.

 

The NavMan Press Releases

The following are the press releases from Navman to accompany the Press Day.

 

Navman iCN 320 smashes price barriers to offer quality
and effective satellite navigation at affordable price

 

London, 6 September 2005: In an age of complex gadgetry, wouldn’t it be great if the latest cutting-edge technology was quick, easy-to-use and didn’t break the bank to buy? Well, this is now a reality with the launch of Navman iCN 320, an effective and affordable in-car satellite navigation device from the leading GPS experts at Navman.

 

Available for only £279, iCN 320 is an essential item for your car. Unlike many navigation devices, you do not need a PC to operate iCN 320 and it is ready to use from the moment you open the box. Simply fold out the GPS antenna, input your destination and let iCN 320 plan your route and guide you on your journey. Clear voice instructions, spoken through a quality loud speaker, guide you turn by turn, allowing you to concentrate on the road. At last you can discard that dog-eared, outdated road map that sits on your back seat!

 

With a contemporary, pocket-sized design, iCN 320 is packed with features allowing you to navigate with ease. Navman’s navigation software offers quick and accurate search for town, postcode, street, junction, house number or point of interest (POI). A high resolution screen displays clear and accurate turn-by-turn information for the driver, including large directional arrows, distance-to-turn bar and junction maps.

 

Prash Vadgama, Navman president for sales and marketing, said, “With the launch of iCN 320 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Navman has filled a gap in the market for affordable and easy-to-use satellite navigation. Available for only £279, iCN 320 breaks through the £300 price barrier that has restricted sat-nav from reaching the mass market in the past. As the demand for GPS products continues to grow, we expect Navman iCN 320 to be a successful addition to the Navman range of award-winning sat nav devices”.

Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Navman iCN 320 is available for £279 (incl. VAT) from leading retailers and e-tailers beginning in September 2005.

 

Product specifications

  • Integrated GPS receiver: 12 channel parallel, high sensitivity Navman flip patch GPS antenna
  • 2.83 inches TFT LCD colour display (240x320 resolution; 262,144 colours)
  • Intel PXA-255 300Mhz Applications Processor
  • 32Mb SDRAM internal memory for application running
  • Internal rechargeable battery (2 hours)
  • Large profile loud speaker

The latest Tele Atlas map data is provided on a pre-loaded MMC memory card, giving you street level coverage for the UK and Republic of Ireland. iCN 320 also comes with windscreen mount and 12v car power supply.

 

 

Navman announces iCN 550
its pan-European and traffic-enabled navigation device

 

London, 12th September 2005 - Navman announces today the launch of the iCN 550, a new high-end portable navigation device. The iCN 550 integrates a hard disk drive with pan-European maps, dedicated fuel and parking buttons into a sleek, portable casing. The iCN 550 offering also includes an optional traffic module. Fitting into a pocket, iCN 550 is a truly portable navigation device, easily transferable from car-to-car.

 

European roads at your fingertips
The iCN 550 integrates a 4GB hard disc drive, storing 16 European countries’ street-level maps, with data from TeleAtlas. Users can plan a route across countries with no barriers or extra steps. Maps include more than 1 million points of interest (POI) to make your travel easier, whether you’re looking for a nearby post office or travelling from Marseille to London or Paris to Berlin.

 

Traffic Module – TM 550
The additional TM 550 Traffic Module makes the iCN 550 the ultimate tool for all travels. With the TM 550 attached, the iCN 550 displays live traffic data as icons on the map and in a list of incidents. Users can easily plan their trip, view incidents and re-route to avoid problems. Traffic data is transmitted via FM radio to the TM 550, a small receiver that clips neatly in the back of the iCN550 cradle. The TM 550 is “plug-and-play,” and includes a lifetime traffic data subscription, with no additional equipment or hidden costs.

Prash Vadgama, president, global sales and marketing, says, “Real time traffic updates bring a new dimension to portable navigation. This is not only about knowing how to go from A to B, but knowing what might be in the way. This is a great additional value for navigation users and opens a whole new market: driving commuters. This kind of customer knows the way to their destination, but they definitely want to know about traffic slowdowns and how to re-route accordingly”.

 

In the United Kingdom, Navman is using the iTMC service from ITIS to provide accurate, real-time traffic information. ITIS generates quality traffic information by combining journalistic traffic data with its own data collected from thousands of probe vehicles travelling the road networks. The Navman iCN 550 launch represents the first time that ITIS data has been offered on a transferable device on an “all-in” basis, with no complex setup or extra costs. UK customers can also access traffic data in France and Germany, the other supported TM 550 countries, for no additional cost.

Fuel and Parking buttons
Featuring two dedicated hardware buttons labelled with clear icons, the iCN 550 is the only navigation system that allows you to find nearby fuel stations or parking areas with just ONE button press. This will save you time, hassle and worries. Whether near your home or office, or travelling in another country where street signs are in a different language, you can avoid running out of fuel, or quickly find the nearest parking area.

Remote control included
The iCN 550 comes with a wireless, infrared remote control for enhanced ease of use. It offers you clear touch-screen options, real buttons on the device AND a handy remote control.

 

Superior software for an easy journey
Navman Navigation software provides intuitive menus and advanced functionality. New advanced map imagery gives you a better impression of your surroundings on screen and a choice of 3D topographical style maps, full-screen 2D maps, 2D mini-maps, or an instruction list to allow you to customise your view of the journey.

You are offered a wide range of options making it easier and faster to find your destination: a specific address, your home, a previously saved favourite, a recent destination, or the nearest point of interest (POI). And if you don’t have the exact address of your destination you can search by area, postal code, or street.

SmartST 2005 Release 2 for the iCN 550 includes improvements to make navigating easier. Key improvements include:

  • Home as a destination type. SmartST 2005 makes it easy to designate a location as Home, so you can navigate to your most likely destination with just one or two taps of the screen.
  • “Go To” for finding a destination. The “Go To” option combines several destination options behind a single menu choice, making it simpler to specify where you want to be taken.
  • A mini-map to confirm your destination. SmartST lets you pan and zoom to specify a destination directly on the map, and SmartST 2005 incorporates mini-maps – “live” maps that you can interact with to confirm your choice of destination.
  • Traffic support. SmartST 2005 Release 2 for the iCN 550 is the first software for a Navman device with built-in traffic support, available when paired with the TM 550.

The Navman iCN 550 will be available from leading retailers and e-tailers from early October 2005 at £599, or at £699 bundled with the TM550 Traffic Module. The TM550 Traffic Module is also available separately in United Kingdom for £149. It comes with a windshield mounting bracket and a 12V DC power adapter that connects to the vehicle’s cigarette lighter socket. Remote control, carry case, USB cable and mains power adaptor are also included.

 

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