New York - Garmin today unveiled its 2012 portable navigation device (PND) line that included an updated navigation engine and traffic capability.
This year's rollout represents the first time the company has introduced all its products in one fell swoop, a company spokesman said. The usual practice was to push out a new model every few months, but the company found this confused customers, who could not tell which model in a store was the most recent.
The new practice will ensure only the newest models are on display at any one time. Older models for the most part will be pushed out of the market during blowout sales, he said. Garmin has even restructured its online store to segregate the older models from the newer versions.
Another first is the $99 starting price for the entry-level Essential line. Previously, Garmin products were only priced less than $100 during sales and Black Friday-type events.
The Essential line contains the Nuvi 30, 40 and 50 series. These offer turn-by-turn directions on screens ranging from 3 inches to 5 inches, as well as spoken street names. They are geared toward consumers interested in a secondary navigation unit or as a gift for students.
The Nuvi 40 and 50 have free lifetime maps. Prices range from $99 to $179.
The two-SKU Advanced line contains the Nuvi 2405 and 2505. These have a $169 to $249 and feature Garmin's Guidance 2.0 navigation engine. This includes a greatly increased database of street-junction views -- 60,000 compared with the 3,000 in older models -- and 3D Traffic, which now includes many new traffic source feeds in addition to what is delivered via Traffic Trends. The last item has the Nuvi learning traffic patterns and predicting problems and traffic flow.
Screen sizes are 4 and 5 inches.
The top-end model is the Nuvi 3400, which comes in the Prestige line. It adds Guidance 3.0, which contains MyTrends. This is the ability to remember favorite routes and destinations, allowing it to predict a destination without the user having to input all the data.
It also has a pinch-to-zoom touchscreen and Safe Texting, allowing a driver's text to be read by the Nuvi via Bluetooth. The 3D Traffic function has been updated to include information from the HD Radio Broadcasting System. This will send traffic data every 30 seconds and cover more side streets and secondary roads.
Prices for the three models in this series range from $329 to $399.