Libertyville, Ill. - Motorola began shipping the industry's first connected PNDs (portable naviga
tion devices) to use the voice channels of Bluetooth-connected cellphones to stream local search results and other information, including weather, gas prices and news.
All three touchscreen models are also the company's first PNDs with voice control, including voice-enabled online search, said category management senior director David Harris. The top model is the company's first with voice entry of destination.
The new models are the company's first PNDs with live-traffic service, which is available from Navteq over FM RDS broadcasts, he added. An RDS receiver is embedded in two models and, for the third model, is embedded in an optional car kit. Traffic service is included in the purchase price.
In launching the PNDs, Motorola chose to access online information via the voice channels of a user's Bluetooth cellphone because of the installed base of more than 200 million Bluetooth-equipped cellphones in the U.S., Harris said. In addition, users don't need to subscribe to a cellphone data plan to access the services from their phone.
Other companies' connected PNDs feature embedded cellular-data modems that require a cellular-data plan, he noted.
The three PNDs are the $269-suggested TN555, $299-suggested TN565t and $349-suggested TN764t. They became available at Amazon during the first week of March. Distribution will be expanded to distributors and other retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, in the coming weeks.
MotoExtras online services are free for 90 days and cost $49/year after that. MotoExtras includes voice-prompted searches for such information as local gas prices, weather forecasts and flight-status updates as well as Google-powered local searches for points of interest (POI) not included in the PNDs' embedded databases.
Separate voice searches powered by Microsoft Bing are free and deliver such information as stock quotes, travel information, sports and news, movie listings and business searches.
The top-end TN764t features a 5.1-inch cinematic 2.35:1 widescreen, while the other two models feature a 4.3-inch 16:9 widescreen. All feature a Multiview display, said to be unique to Motorola. It gives users the option to view real-time information on the left or right of the display while a 3D map appears in the center. The "left-view" displays real-time information about the drive, including a bird's eye view of the vehicle's location on a map and a list of nearby POIs that changes dynamically as you drive by. The left view will also display a list of waypoints and a trip summary that includes ETA and distance to destination.
The "right view" displays on-demand information from the MotoExtras and Bing services. The right view also displays such information as phone contacts and settings.
All three also feature Bluetooth speakerphone capability, browsing of a phone's contacts by voice, and display of a phone's text messages through the handful of phones equipped with Bluetooth's new Messaging Access Profile.
All three also feature street-name announce, lane guidance, junction view, speed-limit data and embedded safety-camera locations, which can be updated via PC. The top-end TN765t adds voice entry of destination, 3D landmarks, 256MB of embedded memory and removable 4GB memory card.
The products represent the company's second-generation line. Motorola
in fall 2008.