Las Vegas – Garmin is expanding
its Prestige series of flagship portable navigation devices (PNDs), which
feature its top-end navigation engine, and it is launching an Android app that
will bring connected services to multiple Bluetooth-equipped Garmin PNDs.
The Garmin Smartphone Link app,
which is free, enables an Android phone to send data via Bluetooth to any
Bluetooth-equipped Garmin nuvi PND, whose map will display Garmin Live Services
information downloaded by the smartphone via cellular.
The app is compatible with the 2475LT, 2495LMT, 2595LMT, and 3490LMT and the
new 3590LMT, which is one of three new Prestige series models being introduced
The new Garmin Live services
include a combination of free and paid-for services available through the
Android app. Subscription pricing wasn’t available.
Garmin has offered PNDs with
embedded cellular modems to provide only paid-for services, and one such model,
the nuvi 1695, is still available. Garmin also currently offers PNDs with included
and optional FM receivers to stream traffic data.
Because the Android app uses the
Android smartphone’s cellular data connection, Garmin is able to offer select
services for free with the app, a spokesman said.
The free services are weather,
myGarmin messaging, points-of-interest (POI) ratings, Garmin Tracker, MyGarmin
Messaging, and a form of live local search.
With the local search feature,
users must use their smartphone’s browser to find a point of interest, then
send the POI to the PND via Bluetooth for navigation.
Garmin Tracker lets users view the
location of Garmin’s GTU 10 tracking device on the PND’s map. MyGarmin
messaging sends notifications of firmware updates and notification that premium
services are about to expire.
Premium services available for a
monthly subscription consist of traffic, an advanced weather service, fuel
prices, real-time speed- and red-light-camera alerts (only in Europe for now),
and photoLive Traffic Cameras.
The photoLive feature lets users view real-time photos from more
than 10,000 traffic cameras across the U.S. to get a glance at traffic and
weather conditions. Users simply
select the road they’d like to look at, and the feature displays real-time
photos from that location. Users can also save favorite cameras for quick
With the app, users can also send
a POI from any search engine on their phone to a nÃ¼vi to navigate to the POI. It
is also possible to sync favorite locations from a nuvi to the phone, and vice
In addition, Smartphone Link also
helps consumers find their car after parking it. When a driver parks, the nÃ¼vi uses
Bluetooth to send the vehicle’s parked location to the Android phone, whose navigation
app will use it as a POI to guide users back to the car.
Live services not available on
the company’s current connected PND are photoLive
traffic cameras, POI ratings, and Tracker.
In expanding its Prestige series,
whose first three models shipped in late 2011, the company is bringing out
three thinner models with 9mm depths and larger 5-inch capacitive touchscreens
compared to the other Prestige models’ 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreens.
All of the current and new
Prestige models feature dual-orientation displays, which allow for portrait and
landscape orientation, and Garmin’s top-end Guidance 3.0 navigation engine,
whose features include traffic information delivered by FM HD Radio every 30
The new Prestige models start
with the 3550LM, which features photoReal junction view to display a 3D
rendering of 60,000 street junctions, 3D landmarks, terrain views, Bird’s Eye
junction view to view complex intersections from above, and optional $69-suggested
receiver to receive HD Radio-delivered traffic updates. It also comes with free
lifetime map updates.
The 3590LMT adds free lifetime
traffic updates via included HD Digital Traffic receiver, voice-activated
navigation, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and Smartphone Link compatibility. Prices
and ship dates were unavailable.
The HD Traffic receiver and the
smartphone app deliver largely equivalent traffic information, a spokesman