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Magellan Focuses On Voice Command, Size

8/31/2007 12:56:00 PM Eastern

Santa Clara, Calif. — Eight new pocket-size personal navigation devices (PNDs) in Magellan’s Maestro series are being promoted as the industry’s thinnest at 0.7 inches, and they expand the company’s selection of model with out-of-the-box voice-control feature to three from one.

The company is also expanding its Maestro selection of models with embedded RDS-TMC traffic tuners and the number with embedded AAA TourBook travel information.

Because the new models are thin and only 3.25-inches-tall, they make it easier to remove from the car to prevent theft and to tote around in a briefcase or purse. The thinner profile also provides more mounting options inside a vehicle, the company said.

Magellan promotes voice command as improving driver safety because it provides hands-free operation for many functions used daily. Combined with voice-prompted route guidance, voice command makes it unnecessary for consumers to look at or touch the screen while they’re driving, a spokeswoman contended. Magellan is one of only North American marketers of PNDs to offer a voice-command feature.

All eight models are in the Maestro 4200 and 3200 series, with four SKUs due in October and one in September to expand the Maestro selection to 13 SKUs. The new 4200 series models features 4.3-inch widescreen QVGA touchscreen, and the new 3200 series models uses 3.5-inch QVGA 4:3 screens. Everyday retails range from $269 to $499.

The two new models with voice command are the $499-everyday 4250 and $399-everyday 3250, and they join the current $699 4050 in offering that feature. Another existing Maestro series model can be upgraded to offer voice command.

The new 4250 and 3250 also incorporate integrated RDS-TMS tuner to get real-time traffic alerts, expanding the selection of PNDs with built-in traffic tuners to three models from one. That number excludes two current models that accept optional SD cards with embedded traffic tuners.

The 4250, 3250, and new $299 3210 and 4210 also feature embedded AAA TourBook travel information, expanding the selection of models with the AAA database to eight. The AAA database incorporates the names and locations of businesses offering AAA discounts, AAA-approved garages, AAA-rated restaurants and accommodations, and attractions. The Bluetooth-enabled 4250 and 3250 will also connect a driver’s Bluetooth-enabled cellphone to AAA to summon roadside assistance. Magellan is the only GPS supplier offering the AAA database.

Two other new models, the $449 4220 and $349 3220, are the company’s first PNDs with preloaded maps of Mexico.

All models feature preloaded maps of all 50 states, Canada, and Puerto Rico. They also feature integrated antenna, POIs at highway exits, trip planning to make up to 20 stops on the way to a destination, spell checker, and SiRF Star III GPS chips to accelerate position acquisition.

Two current models in the 4200 and 3200 series are the $349 4200 and $269 3200.