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November 25, 2006

Alpine Blackbird Review

Verdict: Just A Sliver Above Atrocious

Alpine Blackbird

REVIEW UPDATE: This GPS model has been discontinued

You might be surprised to learn that Alpine is the #1 rated OEM GPS supplier in North America (I know I was). Many of you have asked me to review the Blackbird, so this week I took a look at Alpine' s flagship GPS, the Blackbird. When the Blackbird was first released, feedback on the unit was poor.

Alpine has re-worked the unit and issued a major software update that adds traffic data capabilities, improves route calculation speed, and improves vehicle positioning performance. They've also dropped the price to $499. Alpine's line of after-market car audio equipment is legendary, so I had high hopes for Alpine's high-end GPS unit.

I put the Blackbird through the usual rigorous in-depth review criteria and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Continue reading "Alpine Blackbird Review" »

November 17, 2006

Garmin Releases Firmware v4.10 for StreetPilot c550

Garmin StreetPilot c550

Yesterday Garmin posted version 4.10 software for the StreetPilot c550. I haven't applied the update yet, so I can't vouch for it, but from the looks of it, there's some fairly significant issues resolved with this update.

Changes made from version 4.00 to 4.10:

* Resolved Address search problems
* Added Brazil and Mexico locale options
* Improved tone generation efficiency
* Resolved lock up issue when setting traffic provider to Auto
* Modified UK, New Zealand and Australia default setting
* Fixed car driving sideways problem
* Fixed issue where scroll up still valid after clearing entries from recent selection page
* Improved GPS reception in long tunnels

The update is available from Garmin's website as an individual download, or can be applied via their WebUpdater software.

November 8, 2006

Garmin Releases Firmware v.2.60 for nuvi 660

Garmin WebUpdater

Garmin has posted version 2.60 firmware for the nuvi 660. I've downloaded and installed it, and all appears well. I know some of you had experienced problems with the previous update (stuttering voice prompts), but this one looks pretty solid. Seems like a fairly significant update -- a lot of bugs are fixed, so I'd recommend installing it. Only available via Garmin's WebUpdater application. More information available on Garmin's site.

Changes from version 2.40 to version 2.60

  • Added SMS/Text Messaging support
  • Improved shutdown sequence when disconnecting the Nuvi from the computer.
  • Show ferry lines on the map.
  • Fixed problem with some help files not showing up.
  • Improved support for USB mass storage on Macs.
  • Centered battery gauge on screen locked page.
  • Fixed lock-up selecting traffic provider.
  • Added '-' to edit phone number keyboard.
  • Fixed browse map to display correct colors in night mode.
  • Added 4GByte SD card support.
  • Fixed possible file corruption.
  • Changes from version 2.00 to version 2.40:
  • Select Language Page string corruption
  • FM Frequency page not in sync with Quick settings page
  • GPS starting location not being saved properly
  • Memory leak in bluetooth setup page
  • Changed saftey camera tone rate
  • Traffic receiver missing message error
  • Increased Backlight at power on
  • Increased touch size for Traffic icon on map page
  • Improved large phonebook sync
  • MP3 playlist support (m3u)
  • Added Estinonian and Romanian text languages
  • Added Greek, Croation, and Slovenian voices