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Sanyo, HK Offer Portable GPS

Woodbury, NY — Harman Kardon and Sanyo are adding their names to the growing list of suppliers pushing portable GPS.

The companies are overseas leaders in navigation with HK claiming to be the number three vendor in Europe and Sanyo declaring itself the number one in portable navigation in Japan.

HK’s first portable GPS in the United States is the Guide + Play GPS-500 with a 4-inch screen and a built-in upscale media player. The unit offers an advanced interface that sorts music by artist, title, genre and album; a feature which is not common to other multimedia GPS devices, said Chris Dragon director of brand marketing.

The Guide + Play can also playback MPEG4 and WMV files, so that mom or dad can navigate and then pass the unit to the kids in the back seat for viewing movies.

It will be the first of a family of portable navigation products, which will follow next year, said Dragon.

The unit has a WQVGA screen, built in maps of the United States and Canada and it accepts a 4GB SD card for music and movies. It has a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery that holds a five hour charge and measures just under 1-inch thick. Although it does not have a dedicated pedestrian mode, it can be used for walking. Suggested retail price is $499 with shipping planned for January.

Sanyo is offering its first standalone portable GPS, after fielding a portable DVD player with navigation last year. Like HK, Sanyo says it is aggressively entering the category and will offer other models next year. Its new NVM-4030 is one of the first portable GPS with a 4-inch screen and Bluetooth capability to break the $400 price point.

Now shipping, the NVM-4020 will be sold initially at Wal-Mart, Fry’s and It offers Bluetooth capability for hands free cellular phone communication and ships with a 1GB SD card preloaded with maps of the Continental U.S. It also has MP3/WMA playback and 1.4 million points of interest at $399 suggested retail price.