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Cobra Offers New GPS

Chicago — Cobra said it will ship in August a new portable GPS device that will offer wireless capability.

The new NavOne 2500 will also include a SecureDigital (SD) slot for expansion cards, such as the travel guides that Cobra will offer by the end of the year. The unit’s new wireless features will be announced in the next 30 days, Cobra said.

The NavOne 2500 works with an optional Clear Channel traffic receiver to deliver real-time traffic updates. It has 2GB of onboard memory for preloaded maps, a 3.5-inch screen and a new user interface. The company claims the unit is especially designed for the car environment and can withstand temperatures down to zero degrees.

Cobra navigation director Dave Marsh said the company decided to offer expansion cards because consumer research showed “there is a lot of interest in more specialized data, either for travel guides or for RVs.” One of the new cards will add to the unit the capability to announce street names.

According to Marsh, street name “announcement” is difficult because it requires more than a simple text-to-speech engine found on a PC. “If you have a name like “Hough” street, it is not in the English dictionary, so that data is available at an extra cost. Some companies are just using text-to-speech but then you get an awful lot of errors.”

Suggested retail price for the NavOne 2500 is $499. The optional receiver is expected to carry a suggested retail price of $149. Travel guides and other SD cards will be available at $39 to $99, said Marsh.