West Chester, Ohio - Escort launched what it calls the
industry's first portable navigation device (PND) with built-in radar/laser
The $649.95-suggested Passport iQ
simultaneously delivers turn-by-turn driving instructions while looking out for
nearby radar and laser guns.
The device is available direct to
consumers from Escort through the end of the year, after which sales will be opened
up to on-line and brick-and-mortar dealers. The company's dealer base includes
Best Buy, Amazon and four national distributors.
Escort has already begun to
promote the device through car enthusiast magazines. Next week, it plans to
launch TV ads as well as banner ads on web sites, a spokesman told TWICE.
The device will appeal to
consumers who want to reduce dashboard clutter, and it will help expand the
radar/laser-detector industry's largely male demographic to more women because
it look less like a radar detector and more like a PND, the spokesman
continued. The device also offers tone-alert options that would appeal more to
females, he added.
Also in the works is a version
that will incorporate hands-free Bluetooth as well as embedded
FM-radio-delivered live traffic updates. Targeted availability is the first
As a PND, the Passport iQ
displays 3D Navteq street maps on its 5-inch color touchscreen and delivers voice-guided
turn-by-turn directions with lane-assist. Via an embedded database and GPS, it also
provides speed-limit information and overlays the location of red-light
cameras, speed cameras, and high-risk speed traps on the maps. In addition, it issues
a warning if a driver exceeds the speed limit.
Consumers can switch the screen's
display between PND mode and radar/laser mode. In PND mode, the screen displays
a full-screen map, but a small area at the lower left displays
radar-sensitivity selection. The area turns red when a laser or radar is
detected, and a bar moves based on signal strength. The visual alerts are
accompanied by audible alerts.
In radar/laser mode, most of the screen
displays radar/laser information, but a banner at the top of the screen
displays the name of the next street on which to turn while the device delivers
turn-by-turn voice prompts.
The product comes with a free
90-day subscription to Escort's Defender Database of traffic-light, speed-trap,
and speed-camera locations, which the company updates weekly and can be updated
by consumers via a download to a PC. A one-year subscription is $29.95, and a
three-year sub is $49.95.
The product will be displayed at
next week's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show, which runs from
Tuesday, Nov. 1 through Friday, Nov. 5, in Las Vegas.
Escort manufactures radar/laser
detectors and other products under the Escort, Passport, Redline, Solo, Vector
and Beltronics brands. Products include GPS-tracking devices and a PND
integrated into a windshield-mounted rearview mirror.