By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Despite skyrocketing sales, the market for portable navigation devices (PNDs) is far from mature, suppliers said. Household penetration for the product still remains in the single digits.
Here's what PND suppliers plan to introduce at International CES to leverage market growth to their advantage:
Audiovox: The company plans March/April shipments of two XM-ready PNDs. One model, the NVX406, requires an adapter to plug in an XM mini tuner, and the step-up NVXM1000 incorporates a built-in mini tuner slot. It wasn't certain at press time whether the latter would deliver live-XM reception in pedestrian mode.
The NVX406 features a 3.5-inch screen, North American maps, 4GB hard drive, PMP capabilities, lithium-ion battery and FM modulator. The NVXM1000 has a 4-inch screen, XM NavTraffic, 8GB hard drive, MP3 player and FM modulator. Suggested retail prices are $499 and $799. Both can also be used as the monitor for a rear-vision backup camera.
Audiovox will also ship a new entry-level NVX227 without XM capability in February at $399.
Bushnell: The maker of recreational GPS products is showing a unit with XM reception and weather updates for outdoor enthusiasts. The handheld performs point-to-point hiking navigation while receiving XM reception. The $499-suggested Weather Tracker GPS also offers personalized local weather reports that provide weather forecasts for the area 15 minutes or two hours ahead. Shipping is expected in late spring.
Clarion: The company launched a car-to-car transportable GPS device last year, is unveiling its first portable GPS in March. The $499-suggested NICE 430 lets users listen to music while navigating. Features include MP3 playback and photo viewing, a 4-inch screen, Bluetooth for hands-free dialing and built-in North America maps stored in flash memory. The unit also has an SD card slot.
Clifford: The Scout 420, the first PND with in-car Sirius reception, doubles as a 20GB portable media player (PMP) with DiVX and MPEG-4 video playback. The unit docks with a $99 cradle to receive Sirius, enabling drivers to navigate while listening to Sirius programs. Passengers can also watch a movie in the back seat.
Scout features a 4.3-inch touch screen, preloaded North America maps, FM transmitter, mini USB jack and lithium-ion batteries at a suggested $799.
Cobra: The NAV ONE 2100 portable GPS is one of the lowest-priced models to offer real-time traffic. A "compare route" feature lets users view and select two routes. It ships in April with the same features as the recent NAV ONE 2500 but at a lower estimated street price of $299.
Dual: Spring shipments are planned of the $549-suggested XNAV4310 with a 4.3-inch widescreen; preloaded U.S. maps on a 1GB SD card; and playback of MP3, AVI and JPEG files. It also has a pedestrian mode.
Fujitsu-Siemens: The European brand enters the United States with a keychain-hanging Pocket LOOX N100, a 3.5-ounce unit co-developed with Navigon. It features 2.8-inch color screen, a five-hour rechargeable lithium ion battery, MP3 player and games. It also offers lane assistance and a pedestrian mode. Spring shipments are planned at a suggested $499.
Garmin: The nuvi 680 is the first of a new generation of Garmin products to receive the MSN Direct network over the FM band to display real-time traffic and weather updates in addition to gas prices and movie listings. The service is currently offered on select wristwatches, but Garmin said it will be the first company to apply it to a GPS device.
The nuvi 680 offers a 4.3-inch wide screen, Bluetooth, preloaded maps, MP3 and audiobook player, and travel-guide capabilities. Its suggested-$999 retail includes one year of free MSN Direct, which costs $60/month after that.
The nuvi 670 for international travelers includes maps of Europe and the United States. It will ship in the first quarter at a price to be announced.
Lowrance: The GlobalMap Baja 540c for off-roaders features 5-inch screen and enhanced shock-absorption capabilities. It offers point-to-point rather than turn-by-turn driving instructions. It's expected suggested retail is $499, plus $99 SD cards that store topographical maps.
Porsche Design: The European company makes its U.S. debut with an offer of free Clear Channel real-time traffic-update service for the lifetime of the product in its new P9611.
The P9611will be sold through consumer electronics stores and Porsche dealers, said Navigon, which is supplying the software and the real-time traffic service.
The P9611 has a Navigon lane-assistance function that indicates the lane that a driver should enter to make an upcoming turn. It also offers predictive text entry when entering an address. It uses a lithium-ion battery, has a pedestrian mode and ships in the summer at a target suggested $899.
Roadmax: The Vmax372 portable with video and MP3 playback and photo viewer offers simultaneous media playback and navigation. It has an SD card slot, built-in North American maps, and 3.5-inch screen with a target shipping date of February at a suggested $499.
The Vmax 376 is similar but lacks video playback, adds Bluetooth and ships in March at a price to be announced.
The Vmax571 is an in-car GPS unit that clips onto a rear-view mirror and features 5-inch wide screen. It will ship in March at a price to be announced.
TeleType: January shipments are scheduled for the WorldNav 7100 portable with 7-inch touch screen for RVs. The unit offers street-name pronunciation and 12 million POI as well as preloaded maps of the United States and Puerto Rico. It includes PMP capabilities, weighs 14 ounces and retails for a suggested $699.
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.