By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Harman Kardon and Sanyo are adding their names to the growing list of suppliers pushing portable GPS, with Sanyo now shipping one of the lowest priced models to offer a 4-inch screen and Bluetooth.
Both companies are overseas leaders in navigation, with HK claiming to be the No. 3 vendor in Europe and Sanyo claiming the No. 1 spot in portable navigation in Japan.
Sanyo's new NVM-4030 is the company's second recent GPS model, the first being a portable DVD player combo introduced last year. The NVM-4030 is the company's first dedicated portable GPS and it is one of the first on the market to break $400 for a 4-inch screen and Bluetooth for hands-free calling with a cellphone. The unit is being sold initially at Wal-Mart, Fry's and Amazon.com. It ships with a 1GB SD card preloaded with maps of the continental United States. It also has MP3/WMA playback and 1.4 million points of interest at $399 suggested retail. Sanyo said it will offer a family of portable GPS players in the future.
HK's first portable GPS in the United States is the Guide + Play GPS-500 with a 4-inch screen and a built-in upscale media player. The unit offers an advanced interface that sorts music by artist, title, genre and album like an iPod; a feature which is not common to other multimedia GPS devices, said Chris Dragon director of brand marketing.
The Guide + Play can also play back MPEG-4 and WMV video files.
It will be the first of a family of portable navigation products to follow next year, said Dragon.
The unit has a WQVGA screen, built-in maps of the U.S. and Canada and it accepts a 4GB SD cards. It has a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery that provides a 5-hour charge. The unit, measuring 0.75 inches thick, does not have a dedicated pedestrian mode, but can be used for walking. Suggested retail is $499 with shipping planned for January.
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