Celestron, maker of telescopes and optical products has announced that they are entering into the GPS fray with a couple of new products; the CoursePro and CoursePro Elite GPS handhelds. The inexpensive units ($99 and $149 respectively), are able to tell distances to the front and back of the green while the Elite adds on scorecard data functions and hazard mapping.
Looks like they have access to 20,000 golf courses, but not sure if that is at an extra cost or if that is included in the purchase price. We'll try to find out and get back to you.
Pioneer has announced a new SmartCradle for the iPhone that will help turbocharge your GPS based App on the iPhone. The SmartCradle includes a GPS chip for higher accuracy, and a gyroscope and accelerometer for helping determine your location when the GPS read is failing in those urban canyons. The cradle will of course charge the iPhone while in the dock, because anyone who has used the GPS on an iPhone knows it sucks battery power like a leach.
To add to the coolness, the cradle will help boost the volume with an automatic sound leveling feature - more cabin noise, higher volume on the turn by turn directions.
Magellan announced the RoadMate 9055, a 7-inch navigation wonder that will support a new proprietary back-up camera that will be released this spring. The extra large screen is perfect for drivers living large in teh RV-class of things, where a remote back-up camera is a perfect addition and a large screen helps when the GPS is more than an arm's length away.
It's not just large, it's smart, with a lifetime traffic subscription, and comes with a built-in AAA TourBook of hotels, restaurants, local merchants and attractions. On top of that, lane assist, text to speech and the ability to access most used functions through a one-touch button all make this a feature packed device.
Nike and TomTom have collaborated to bring the Nike+ Sportwatch that is GPS enabled; giving fans of the Nike+ franchise new way to train and document their workouts. Nike has worked to enable training for pros and weekend warriors alike, and htis watch comes with some innovations that may just help users train more and achieve their goals. on top of that; it looks prety cool.
So not only will the NIKE+ Sportwatch with GPS track the details of your run, but it will upload them automatically to the NIKEPLUS.com database for you automatically logging your run in any of the challenges or programs that you are participating in. The watch will give you some attaboys for personal bests and also nag you if you haven't logged a run in the last five days - ouch!
It already won a CES award for innovation as the screen serves as a "button" where you can tap it to activate the backlight and get more information.
I like the readout on the map showing where you pace was best and worst when you view the data in your post-workout analysis (See the video). It's a feature that they also have in their iPhone App - NIKE+ GPS App
The watch will be available in the US & UK by April 1, with a broader global rollout for later in the year. No word currently on Price.
Some may think that map making is boring work, but NAVTEQ has something up their sleeve that could revolutionize and humanize the navigation industry in ways that we hadn't imagined. Not since text to speech has a feature offered so much potential for helping people recognize the directions they get from their navigator.
NAVTEQ has teamed with NNG (formerly Nav n Go) on the iGO My Way app using data from around Las Vegas to give attendees of CES a way to experience the new navigation method. The Natural Guidance system offers directions like, "turn right before the tall white tower," or "turn left before the Circle K," which is a significant improvement to the "turn left in 300 feet" commands provided by current navigation systems.
The only hesitation I have is that you will still had the same graphics on the screen of the GPS, and not a full color representation of the road ahead. Will the audio be enough as you are looking forward out of your car to cognitively recognize your turn better than today's navigation systems? I think 20 minutes using one of these will answer this question.
TomTom announced their new super slim Via line that gives solid new navigation in a great package, offering an updated software platform and advanced features like voice recognition and Bluetooth Handsfree calling. The 1400 series are 4.3-inch screen size models while the 1500 series are a 5-inch screen models; making a strong departure from the all-but-dead 3.5-inch screen sized models that we used to call "standard". A combination of factors made 2010 the last year that we should see significant numbers of new models in the smaller harder to use screen size.
All models come with the TomTom EasyPort mount, but split the lines with two finishes; a black for the lower end 1405 and 1505, while adding an aluminum finish to the higher end 1435 and 1505.
TomTom indicates that these will be available with Lifetime map upgrades and lifetime traffic as upgrades.
Available by mid-2011 and at prices starting at $169. I would expect the line to top out at about the low to mid-$200's.
Magellan announced the addition of the eXplorist 310 to their handheld GPS line-up. The little brother of the other eXplorists will add affordable features to the Magellan handheld line-up with a 2.2-inch hard screen (non-touchscreen), and the ability to support paperless geocaching, as well as a world basemap. The high sensitivity GPS receiver will track your every move, and easily connect to your computer to download the outing and be able to share the tracks with others. The Magellan eXplorist 310 will be available in time for Spring (March delivery) and will retail for a $199 list price.
In their press release (below), Magellan mentions that they will be adding more handheld products through 2011; good news.
TomTom announced the new TomTom GO 2505 M LIVE device today that includes for the first time in the US their HD Traffic capability. The LIVE services require a subscription and will be delivered over the AT&T data network. They include the HD Traffic, weather, Fuel Prices and Local Search by Google. The GO 2505 will include Voice Recognition for easy use while driving, and handsfree Bluetooth capabilities. The Multi-touch screen offers an easy to use, iPhone-like experience that is starting to become more and more common with computing devices.
The TomTom GO 2505 M LIVE will be available with its lifetime Map upgrades included by mid-2011 and will list for $349.
Escort has mashed up the RADAR detector and the GPS for their latest product, the Passport iQ. not only will it get you from here to there, but it will also detect radar and laser speed traps. The Passport iQ also comes equipped with a trial subscription to their Defender database of known speed traps and speed cameras here in the US.
The 5-inch screen is a nice size with some good basic GPS features like NAVTEQ maps and turn by turn voice guided directions and a lane assist feature. I am pretty sure that the radar and laser detection is the best available; not sure the GPS is though...
Coming in at $649 list, this one will set you back more than that first speeding ticket, but will hopefully prevent you from getting any in the future.
Garmin has announced the new StreeetPilot App for Android and iPhone today. While a latecomer to the App Party, Garmin is here to fight, with a $39 list price in the iPhone App store, and a list of features that took others several upgrades to achieve.
In their recent earnings announcement (November 3, 2010) when they told of the Nuvifone discontinuation, they mentioned that those developers would be moving into smartphone App development. It appears that they were already working hard on these Apps at the time, and that they are in for the long fight with upgrades and new features coming.
At a high level, the Garmin StreetPilot App has Text to Speech (says Street Names), Lane Assist, iPod controls inside the App, Google Local Search, Local Weather and Traffic Alerts. The traffic appears to be provided by NAVTEQ and their Nokia owners, which is configured to alert you on traffic around you or on your Route. You are also able to set the StreetPilot App for pedestrian use which changes how it navigates you - which includes walking you through pedestrian only areas and up One Way streets the "wrong" way.
Finally, in an interesting move, the Maps are not resident on your smartphone, but are streamed to the phone over the air. This has stirred up loads of debate relating to the data download demands for those on a limited data plan and folks who may venture out of coverage areas where this could pose an issue. On the plus side, I was able to download the <8MB App over the air and start cruising with it in about a minute. Also, upgrades won't come in the form of a 1+GB file that takes 30+ minutes to load onto the phone every time a new feature shows up.
First Impressions - Garmin StreetPilot App
I have used the App on my iPhone 4 for running around town today and like the interface - native Garmin layout. The App did crash once, but when I restarted it, it remembered where I was navigating to. The StreetPilot App has a nice little Page Curl at the bottom of the map that offers you easy access to several important functions while navigating: Route Overview, Directions. Walking Mode, Stop Navigating and Cancel (Return to the Map Screen).
The lone text to speech voice is OK, but a little quick in its pronunciation rendering a few road names a little less distinguishable than normal. I like the ability to navigate to a contact's address - the format of the data entry screen is a little odd with the data parsed out into different fields: Number, Street, City, etc, versus the Google web standard of all in one blank.