Garmin Upgrades Navigation Engines, Traffic Features
By Doug Olenick On Sep 8 2011 - 4:01am
NEW YORK —
Garmin has added an updated navigation engine and upgraded
traffic features to many of the models in its 2012 portable navigation device (PND)
This year’s rollout marks the first time the company has introduced all its products
in one fell swoop, a company spokesman said. The usual practice was to push
out a new model every few months, but the company determined the approach
confused customers who could not tell which model in a store was the most recent.
The new practice will ensure only the newest models are on display at any one
time, the company said.
Another first for the company is the $99 suggested starting price point, which
appears in the entry-level Essential line. Previously, Garmin products were priced
less than $100 only during sales and Black Friday-type events, the company said.
The Essential line, which consists of the Nuvi 30, 40 and 50 series, features
spoken street names, screens ranging from 3 inches to 5 inches, and suggested
retails ranging from $99 to $179. The Nuvi 40 and 50 add free lifetime
maps. All are geared toward consumers interested in a secondary navigation
unit or a gift for students.
The two-SKU Advanced line, which consists of the Nuvi 2405 and 2505 at $169
to $249, add Garmin’s Guidance 2.0 navigation engine, which includes a greatly
increased database of street-junction views — 60,000 compared with the 3,000 in
older models — and 3D Traffic, which now includes many new traffic-source feeds
delivered via analog FM radio. It also features Traffic Trends, which incorporates a
historical database of actual road speeds at various times of the day. Screen sizes
are 4 and 5 inches.
In the Prestige line, three Nuvi 3400 series models are priced from $329 to
$399 and add Guidance 3.0 navigation engine, which includes MyTrends, which
remembers favorite routes and destinations and predicts a destination so a driver
need not input all data.
The 3D Traffic function has been updated to include traffic information delivered
by FM HD Radio every 30 seconds, and covers more side streets and secondary
roads. They are Garmin’s first models with HD Radio traffic.
The Prestige models also add pinch-to-zoom touchscreen and Safe Texting,
which reads a cellphone’s text message via Bluetooth.