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Navigation is expected to be one of the hot topics in 12-volt electronics at CES next month. Two suppliers — Cobra and Garmin — are offering a pre-show look at their new products in the segment, with Cobra launching its first in-car products.
Cobra is showing two models, including one that contains pre-loaded street maps of the entire United States. Both the SKYNAV 3000 and SKYNAV 2000 plug into the cigarette lighter. They are GPS-based units with turn-by-turn, map-based and voice directions. The SKYNAV 3000 also adds on-board gyroscope, as well as the built-in U.S. map. According to senior VP Tony Mirabelli, other products have gyroscope capability that require the gyroscope be attached to the vehicle's electronics. Cobra's is the first to offer a self-contained version, he said. The gyroscope allows dead reckoning to bridge the gaps when satellite reception is blocked by a tunnel, for example.
The SKYNAV 3000 also has an IR port so users of Palm or Pocket PC PDAs can beam an address directly into the unit. It includes North American street level maps of the 48 contiguous states and selected Canadian cities on a 20GB hard drive. The SKYNAV 2000 comes with major U.S. interstates and one detailed street level regional map (consumers can select from 20 regions) and additional maps can be added.
Both models have 5.2-inch screens with 320-by-240 pixel STN color display. Suggested retail prices are $1,499 and $999.
Garmin is debuting two new GPS handhelds that feature high resolution color displays. The new 60C and 60CS have 256-color TFT screens with 160 by 240 pixels for better map visibility. They resemble Garmin's current Rino series products and have 56MB of memory for maps. Over current Rinos, they add dedicated geocaching mode, GPS games and automatic route calculation with turn-by-turn directions. The company also improved its TracBack technology to allow users to retrace their path to any selected track log point on the map display. The 60C will ship in January at a suggested retail of $482, and the 60CS, which adds electronic compass and barometric altimeter, will ship in March at $535.