By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Magellan introduced a trio of Maestro-series personal navigation devices (PNDs) that include one that it believes is the first PND with voice control.
All three models are the first PNDs designed under the tutelage of the company's new management team.
With the top-end $699-suggested Maestro 4050, users can ask the device to search for an address, point of interest (POI) or perform other functions via voice command. All three new Maestro models include an AAA button for roadside assistance information and AAA Tourbook guide information.
With the series, Magellan also claims it has simplified its user interface and cleaned up its maps for better "at a glance" interaction. The interface now has fewer soft buttons.
The series starts with the $399-suggested Maestro 4000, which features 4.3-inch WQVGA color touch screen, built-in maps of 48 states, Bluetooth and SD card slots. It displays POIs by exit so users can see a choice of gas stations, restaurants, and the like at each upcoming exit. It also gives users a choice of fastest route or shortest distance for each destination search.
The step up 4040 at a suggested $499 works with an optional $99 real-time traffic receiver and includes maps of all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Both models ship by mid March.
The top-of-the line Maestro 4050, due in May, bundles real-time traffic with the receiver and adds voice recognition. It also announces the street names of upcoming turns.
Magellan said it might offer proprietary SD card applications for the Maestro in the future. As part of its agreement with AAA, club members receive a two-year warranty on the products versus the typical one-year guarantee.
Magellan began selling navigation 15 years ago, primarily for the marine and aviation markets, but four years ago, it decided to concentrate mainly on handheld devices for cars and outdoors. The company was sold by Thales to Shah Capital Partners last fall. In December, the company appointed Nelson Chan, former executive VP of SanDisk, as Magellan CEO.
Since the purchase by Shah Capital, Magellan says it has taken steps to become more nimble. It changed from an OEM to an ODM model, but the company continues to offer its own software.
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