By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New technology announcements in portable navigation devices (PNDs) were abundant at International CES, this month, including such advancements as adding Yahoo! Local searches to a PND from Dash Navigation and Wi-Fi-based "GPS" from iriver.
Navteq, a leading GPS map provider, also demonstrated the ability to broadcast real-time traffic over HD Radio and to add more precise traffic-speed data.
ReignCom, which supplies the iriver brand of MP3 players, showed a working prototype of a W10 media player that uses Wi-Fi to offer location information. The unit detects Wi-Fi access points in range and triangulates between them to determine a location. The system is designed for use in a city where there may be several hot spots. The media player includes a Navteq Discover Cities guide to local points of interest. The unit's Wi-Fi Positioning System was created by Skyhook Wireless.
Navteq demonstrated sending traffic-flow data to navigation devices. Instead of using road sensors alone to gauge traffic speed, Navteq will add data from commercial fleets equipped with GPS devices that transmit the road speed of the route they are on.
Also in PNDs, Dash Navigation announced just prior to CES that its upcoming Internet-connected GPS will provide Yahoo! Local searches from the car. Garmin also showed a new version of the popular nuvi, which displays local gas prices and movie listings as well as traffic and weather updates via a Microsoft service called MSN Direct.
The car will soon become the site of the "fourth screen," said Paul Lego, CEO of Dash Navigation. "You currently have the screen on your computer, on your TV and in your cellphone, and really the only place where you don't have a dedicated connected device is the car."
The Dash Express GPS is "always-on" and always connected to the Internet. In addition to offering turn-by-turn directions, it will enable users to search for nearby products, services or businesses from their cars via Yahoo.
If a user is out shopping and learns that that the local hardware store is out of a product, the user can find other stores that carry it. Lego says the system is smart enough to dig into searches so that a "pizza" search will extend beyond parlors with pizza in the title and will include Italian and other restaurants.
Dash Express is expected to launch in California this spring and then nationally in the summer in the "midpriced" range for current GPS products.
Mio showed two new DigiWalker PNDs that can be used for driving and outdoor biking and hiking. A C520 has a 4.3-inch widescreen display and Bluetooth, and basic model C250 will be available in the first half.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.