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Garmin is introducing two portable navigation systems that are among the first to offer real-time traffic capability in its new StreetPilot models c340 and 2720.
In addition, the company has significantly dropped its leader retail price for portable in-car navigation to an estimated $299 on the new i-Series i2. Garmin's previous price leader started at $699.
The new c340 and 2720 StreetPilot portable in-car navigation units both work with an optional real-time traffic module (GTM-10) using Clear Channel traffic data in 50 major metropolitan markets. Users install the module by connecting it to the StreetPilot unit, and it automatically pulls in traffic data, translates it and displays it dynamically on the map screen. The GTM-10 option has an estimated price of $199.99 and comes with 15 months of free traffic service. Thereafter, users can purchase annual or lifetime service at prices to be announced, said a Garmin spokesman.
Both the StreetPilot c340 and 2720 offer text-to-speech recognition so that the units announce cues by speaking the actual street name, turn direction and when to turn, said Garmin. If a driver misses a turn, the units automatically recalculate a route. Both models include preloaded street-level maps of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The units have respective 3.5-inch and 3.8-inch touch screens at estimated retail prices of $799 and $1,099, respectively. Shipping is planned for this month.
Garmin's new i-series is an inexpensive line of small footprint portable navigation modules. The monochrome StreetPilot i2 with 2.2-inch monochrome display is expected to ship in October at a $299 estimated retail price, preceded in August by the i3 with a color TFT 2.2-inch screen at $399.
Also new is a handheld Garmin PocketPC iQue M3, with a new user interface and lower estimated retail of $499, and a Quest 2 portable/handheld with preloaded street-level maps at $799.
TomTom offers a TomTom Go 700 portable with a real-time traffic option when used with a Bluetooth-enabled cellular phone. Cobra is also looking into offering a portable unit with real-time traffic capability in the future.
Separately, Mio recently introduced a palm-sized navigation portable/handheld with a built-in 2.5MB hard drive and preloaded street level maps. It also has an embedded MP3 player plus SD card slot at a suggested retail price of $799.
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