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Garmin Adds New Voice-Announce Features To PND Models

LAS VEGAS — Garmin came to International CES with its first portable navigation devices (PNDs) with voice prompts that tell drivers to turn at recognizable landmarks, stop signs or traffic lights instead of just announcing the name of the street at which to turn.

The company also brought two new bike GPS systems and a new handheld GPS.

The products ship in the first quarter.

In its 2013 Nuvi PND lineup, the company is also offering an all-new design and larger screens, including its first two Nuvi PNDs with 7-inch screens for cars. The company previously offered a 7-inch PND designed for truckers.

The new Nuvi models feature screens from 4.3 to 7 inches to display more driving-related information at a glance. The company is eliminating 3.5-inch screen sizes.

The company’s three PND series for 2013 consist of the eight-SKU Essential series, five-SKU Advanced series and single-SKU Prestige series. The Essential series offer four 4.3-inch models and four 5-inch models. The Advanced series consists of two 4.3- inch, three 5-inch and two 7-inch models. And the Prestige series offers a single 5-inch 3597 LMTHD, which offers a multi-touch capacitive glass display.

All Advanced models and the Prestige model feature Garmin Real Directions, said to “guide drivers just like a friend would by telling them to turn at recognizable landmarks such as Starbucks, buildings, stop signs or traffic lights,” enabling drivers to focus on the road instead of trying to read signs,” the company said. The landmarks and buildings selected for directions have been checked rigorously for visibility, prominence and permanence.”

In another voice-prompt enhancement, these PNDs add the new Active Lane Guidance feature, which adds voice prompts on top of visual animations to prompt users to get into the correct lane for their next turn.

These PNDs also give real-time traffic information a voice, delivering information on traffic incidents and alternative routes by voice, the company said. In addition, Nuvi models with voice command will, for the first time, let users select the recommended faster route by simply speaking a response. Voice command is in the Prestige model and in select Advanced models.

With real-time traffic, the PNDs let drivers know the duration of the expected delay and if there is a faster route. Garmin’s new traffic interface depicts important traffic information next to the map view, including the expected delay as well as an animated graphic that indicates the traffic situation ahead in real-time.

At the top of the PND line, the Prestige-series Nuvi 3597LMTHD features HD Radio traffic, lifetime maps and lifetime traffic updates. It features a brushed-metal housing with a new powered magnetic mount, making it easier to attach the PND to the mount.

The company is also expanding its selection of PNDs capable of receiving traffic data updates via HD Radio. The 3597LMTHD includes a cable with embedded HD Radio Traffic receiver, and the cable will be available as accessory for all Advanced-series models.

HD Radio-delivered traffic updates as often as every 30 seconds on interstates and highways as well as on side streets and other secondary roads in major cities.

The Nuvi 3597 LMTHD and select Advanced-series models are compatible with Garmin Smartphone Link, an Android app that provides live services such as traffic camera images, weather and fuel prices to the PND via a smartphone’s data service.

In new GPS computers for bicycles, two new models are the company’s first to offer connected features via Bluetooth-connected Android or Apple smartphone. Connected features include instant uploading of biking data to the Garmin Connect web site, live tracking, social-network sharing and weather.

One of the two new bicycle GPS devices is the Edge 810, which features touchscreen, map display with turn-by-turn instructions, and distance and speed readouts. The 810 also offers activity profiles, letting users configure data fields, routing preferences and device settings based on cycling activity, the spokesman said.

Garmin’s other new bike GPS computer, the Edge 510, features a touchscreen and the ability to track distance, speed and more. It also offers connected features through a smartphone but doesn’t offer turn-by-turn instructions. The 510 also offers activity profiles, letting users configure data fields, routing preferences and device settings based on cycling activity. It’s also compatible with heart-rate, speed/cadence sensors.

In handheld GPS, the Oregon 650t is a ruggedized, IPX-7 waterproof model that tracks GPS and GLONASS satellites for more accurate fixes, including in challenging conditions.