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GPS For Walkers Due

6/07/2006 09:05:00 AM Eastern

Fremont, Calif. — Mio Technology, a newcomer to the U.S. GPS market, plans a near-business-card-sized handheld GPS device intended for use by pedestrians due in time for the holiday selling season.

It would complement Mio’s handheld models that operate off internal batteries but dock into car-mounting systems, mainly for use while driving.

The new device will feature a touch screen, MP3 and video playback, and selectable pedestrian/driving modes. In pedestrian mode, the device ignores such restrictions as one-way streets when calculating a route.

The company’s first U.S. products shipped last November. Its newest models — C310 with MP3 playback, retailing for $599 and less, and the C710, which at retails of $700 to $800 — include MP3 and video playback, photo viewer, Bluetooth hands-free speaker system for use with cellular phones, and Clear Channel’s FM-broadcast traffic-data alerts, which can be used to recalculate a route around traffic jams.

Mio, a subsidiary of Taiwan CE manufacturer Mitak, enjoys a leading handheld-GPS share in Taiwan and Korea and entered the European market two years ago.