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Internet-connected portable GPS devices are becoming more prevalent with Garmin's launch of its first cellular-connected portable navigation device (PND), joining models from TomTom, TeleNav and Best Buy's Insignia house brand.
Recent PND launches, however, weren't limited to cellular-equipped models. Mio announced new basic PND models, and Navigon added real-time traffic to its navigation app for the iPhone.
Garmin's new $499 Nuvi 1690, due in the fourth quarter, offers two years of free AT&T EDGE data service. It joins other broadband-connected PNDs, including the $399 TomTom 740 Live that shipped in April, the $299 TeleNav Shotgun and Insignia models.
“The very concept of connected PNDs now seems to be firmly established,” said ABI Research, “[but] it remains to be seen how successful it will be. It has already become clear TomTom has so far failed to reach its sales objectives for its Go Live range. At the same time, connectivity is becoming a must for PND vendors in order to stave off competition from handset-based navigation,” said ABI's Dominique Bonte.
The Nuvi 1690's broadband connection lets users access Google Local search, traffic, weather, fuel prices, movie listings, flight status, local events and white-page telephone listings. It also connects users to a Garmin social-networking system called Ciao!
The device's Bluetooth lets users receive and place calls through a paired cellphone.
The 1690 comes preloaded with maps of North America and offers an EcoRoute feature that lets users choose the most fuel-efficient route to a destination. A lane-assist feature displays the proper lane to enter for upcoming turns.
In a related introduction, Navigon announced an iPhone live-traffic application that links to Navigon's turn-by-turn app. The Traffic Live app is available at $19.99 on promotion, rising to $24.99 in late October.
The Traffic Live app can be combined seamlessly with Navigon's already available $89 MobileNavigator GPS app to calculate routes that avoid traffic jams and alert drivers to accidents while they're driving.
The Navigon app uses traffic reports created by tracking the speed of more than 1 million vehicles, including fleets and delivery trucks, on the road at any given time within minutes. It also features past average travel speeds for specific roads at specific times so users can avoid routes likely to be congested.
For its part, Mio announced two new basic PNDs, which were to ship in September at prices of $119 and $149.
The Mio Moov M300 and M400 offer similar features, but the M300 incorporates a 3.5-inch screen, and the M400 features a 4.3-inch screen. Both pronounce street names for upcoming turns and offer lane guidance. They also offer predictive keyword search and NavPix Photo Navigation, which allows navigation to destinations from downloaded geo-tagged photos.