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MapQuest Launches Portable Navigation Device

Dulles, Va. — MapQuest and TomTom will launch on Oct. 3 a MapQuest-brand portable navigation device that can be used in the automobile, called the MapQuest Personal Navigation Device (PND).

The unit is essentially a rebranded TomTom Go 300 GPS navigation device and will be sold only through the MapQuest Web site, said MapQuest’s chief technology officer Austin Klahn

“The MapQuest Personal Navigation Device represents the most natural and significant extension of our brand to date, as we move beyond the PC and take navigation into the car, making it simple for drivers to reach their desired destination and change course if needed,” said Klahn,

The unit is designed to mount on the dashboard or windshield. It has a touch screen and allows routing options such as “quickest,” “shortest,” or “avoiding toll roads.” Maps are stored on a 1GB hard drive with maps of the United States and Canada preloaded. The MapQuest PND has rechargeable battery and ships with car accessories and a USB 2.0 cable at $699.

For a few years, MapQuest has offered services to allow users to port MapQuest directions from a PC to Java-enabled handsets from nearly all carriers. The MapQuest PND marks the company’s first device for the car.

Eventually, MapQuest hopes to port directions from its Web site to the MapQuest PND through a Bluetooth-enabled cellphone, as the PND is also Bluetooth enabled. But at present, the MapQuest PND operates independently of the MapQuest Web site, Klahn said.

MapQuest is a wholly owned subsidiary of America On Line.