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December 27, 2006

GPS on Your Cell Phone: GPS for $9.95? TeleNav Navigator Mini Review

Verdict: I'm not giving up my Garmin just yet...

Tele Nav

Sure, personal navigation devices are great, but they cost hundreds of dollars and require specialized hardware. What if you could take the cell phone you already own, and turn it into a fully functioning GPS device with turn-by-turn voice guidance?

That’s the promise behind TeleNav’s GPS Navigator application, currently available on select phones from Alltel, Boost Mobile, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon for $9.95/month.

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December 25, 2006

Happy Holidays GPSmag Readers!

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers! Hopefully everyone had a safe, fun, GPS-enabled holiday weekend. Got a story of how GPS saved your Christmas, travel plans, marrage, etc.? Drop us a comment and share the GPS love.

December 22, 2006

TomTom Updates Its Maps, Claims to Have "Most Accurate" Maps

TomTom's map screen

TomTom has updated its mapping data for the U.S. and Canada, and claims to have the "most accurate and detailed maps in the industry for the US and Canada." The update is free for all existing GO x10 and TomTom ONE customers (you have to validate your serial number to qualify), $49.95 for all GO 300, 700, Rider, and Navigator 5 customers if you purchase by March 31 2007, $149.95 if you buy after March '07 when the "promotional" pricing ends.

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TomTom's Risky Move: Drops SiRF on the ONE

Global Locate's Hammerhead GPS Chip

Starting January 1st 2007, TomTom will switch GPS receivers in their ONE product line from SiRF's StarIII receiver to a new chipset made by Global Locate, dubbed "Hammerhead". The ONE is currently TomTom's best selling GPS. According to TomTom, the decision to drop SiRF will allow them to manufacture their ONE units at a lower price, thereby allowing TomTom to drop the price of the ONE in 2007. SiRF's StarIII indoor/outdoor high sensitivity receiver is largely responsible for the major leap forward GPS navigation has made in the past year, so a decision to move to a new receiver solely for financial reasons worries me.

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December 21, 2006

Ford to Produce Microsoft-Powered Cars in 2007

Windows Automotive

Have you driven a [Microsoft] Ford lately? Starting in 2007 Ford will begin offering Microsoft's in-car computing solution (insert favorite Microsoft blue screen of death joke here). The system, currently called "Microsoft Blue&Me" will offer cross-platform smartphone support, Bluetooth, SAP (SIM Access Profile), car diagnostics, entertainment, and, of course, GPS navigation. If the idea of running Windows in your car gives you the Heebie-Jeebies, you'll be even more surprised to learn that Microsoft's Windows Automotive is already found in 18 different automakers' cars, including those from BMW, Citroen, Clarion Co., DiamlerChrysler, Fiat, Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, NexTech, Subaru, Toyota and volvo.

Coming Soon: Garmin Nuvi 670 / 680 with MSN Direct

Garmin nuvi 670

What do you get what you combine Garmin's nuvi 660 (currently the reigning editor's choice GPS) with Microsoft's MSN Direct service? The Garmin nuvi 670 and 680. Up till now, MSN Direct has been pretty useless (remember those crappy SPOT watches?), broadcasting stock prices, weather, and news to various devices. Looks like Garmin will use the service to send "live" information to the nuvi, such as weather forecasts, move times, and most importantly, POIs. Maps will remain locally stored, however, and don't appear to be updateable via the live service. Too bad, as that would have really made the otherwise useless MSN Direct service worth while... Look for it early next year. No word yet on pricing, but I'd guess it'll be somewhere around the $900 mark.

December 19, 2006

New Yorkers to get Futuristic Taxis with GPS Tracking & TV

NYC Future Taxi

Next time you step into a New York City taxi cab, you might think you’ve been sent from the future to save Sarah Connor. Last week the Big Apple’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) previewed the next generation of NY taxi cabs, complete with GPS tracking and steaming TV. As part of the city’s larger effort to attack your senses from every angle, you’re ride with the yellow fleet will soon include a touch-screen display that lets you watch TV, make online purchases, or follow your progress in real time on the map.

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Epson Japan Develops “ultra-sensitive, ultra-compact, World’s Smallest GPS”

Epson Develops World's Smallest GPS Module

Let’s face it – when it comes to GPS receivers, size matters. Talk to anyone in the GPS space, and they’ll tell you the next big growth area for GPS is cell phones. Epson, the company you probably already associate with printers, is looking to get into the booming GPS sector. The company  claims to have manufactured the “world’s smallest” GPS chip. The module is specifically designed for application where smallness is key, such as cell phones. Measuring 7 x 6 x 1.28 millimeters, Epson’s teeny tiny GPS is already being massed produced and already found its way into NTT DoCoMo’s FOMA 903i series.  According to Epson’s marketing mumbo jumbo, the tiny size of the receiver has sacrificed nothing in performance. Epson is claiming “3GPP-compliant positioning modes (MS-Based, MS-Assisted and Autonomous).” Now if only they could make it so I can print up a sheet of these things using my old $79 Epson dot-matrix…

Looks like there’s finally going to be some competition to SiRF’s mighty StarIII chipset. More technical details available HERE

December 17, 2006

Magellan RoadMate 2200T Review

Verdict: Good

Magellan RoadMate 2200T

REVIEW UPDATE: This GPS model has been discontinued

What a year it's been for Magellan! Several months ago they released the RoadMate 3000T, 3050T, and 6000T, only to discontinue the 3000T a few months later, and replace it with the RoadMate 2000 and 2200T. Oh, and along the way Magellan was acquired by Shah Capital Partners (SCP).

The 2200T improves slightly on the RoadMate 2000, offering text-to-speech, optional real-time traffic data, a longer battery life, more rugged (and water resistant) case, a photo viewer, and a music player.

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