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Navigon Offers Free Real-Time Traffic SW

LAS VEGAS — At International CES for the first time, real-time traffic will be available at no charge on portable navigation devices (PND), as offered by Navigon, a GPS software provider to companies including Pioneer, Sony, Dual, Delphi and Rand McNally.

In addition, iriver is announcing one of the first Wi-Fi GPS devices. And Navteq, a leading GPS map provider, is demonstrating real-time traffic broadcasting over HD Radio.

Navigon is working with ClearChannel’s real-time traffic service to offer PNDs that provide free real-time traffic out of the box. Most GPS devices charge a fee of approximately $60 per year.

Navigon said its free service will “radically change” the industry’s current business model for real-time traffic and help speed up adoption of the service, which has remained at roughly a few percent of GPS sales.

The first brand to offer the free traffic is Porsche Design Group, a European GPS company making its U.S. debut at CES.

The new Porsche P9611 offers free traffic for the lifetime of the unit with the traffic receiver built in. It also offers Bluetooth and access to Zagat Survey information and will ship this summer at a suggested retail of $899.

Delphi is taking another approach to real-time traffic by offering a one-time upfront fee. The company announced here it will off real-time traffic for its recently introduced NAV200 PND for a one-time kit fee of $199, which is good for the lifetime of the product.

Also at CES ReignCom, which supplies the iriver brand of MP3 players, is showing a working prototype of a W10 media player that uses Wi-Fi to offer GPS location information. The unit detects Wi-Fi access points in range to allow navigation within a city. Designed for the “urban explorer” the media player includes a Navteq Discover Cities guide to local points of interest. The unit’s Wi-Fi Positioning System was created by Skyhook Wireless.

Navteq is demonstrating at CES the ability to send traffic flow data to PNDs. Instead of using road sensors to gauge traffic speed, Navteq will add data from commercial fleets equipped with GPS devices that transmit the road speed of the route they are on. Navteq is also demonstrating the ability to deliver real time traffic information over HD Radio.

Also Mio is showing two new DigiWalker PNDs that can be used for driving and outdoor biking and hiking. A C520 has a 4.3-inch widescreen display and Bluetooth, and a basic model, C250, will be available in the first half.