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April 30, 2007

Coming Soon: Symantec AntiVirus for GPS?

RDS Traffic Network Hacked

The next time your traffic-enabled GPS notifies you of an "incident" along your route, you may want to do a quick virus-scan before taking the next highway exit. Turns out hackers at the CanSecWest conference successfully proved they were able to send bogus traffic and weather messages via RDS out to traffic enabled devices.

Annoyances aside, there are some pretty serious safety / Homeland security concerns around keeping real-time traffic data secured. For example, there's a traffic alert code reserved for notifying citizens of a terrorist attack. Erroneously sending out a message to thousands of motorists that there's been a massive terrorist attack could cause mass-panic as drivers frantically try to flee the area.

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April 27, 2007

LG Electronics Enters the Crowded GPS Market. Might Not Suck.

LG PND

LG Electronics has announced three new personal navigation devices: the LN730, LN735 and LN740.

Ordinarily I'd assume a new entry to the already crowded GPS market would mean the usual crappy outsourced software/hardware design, and a product almost certain to fail. But this is LG electronics, a massive company with deep pockets and a solid reputation for making quality products. GPS sales are up 250% in the U.S., and LG wants in on the action. Given LG's track record, it's just possible Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom might actually have some real competition from LG.

Here are the details on the new units:

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Swedish Study says Fast PCs Could Interfere With GPS

Intel Xeon CPU

According to a study by the Swedish Defense Research Agency (I'm guessing this is a pretty small agency), computers used anywhere near a GPS receiver can block GPS signal reception. The study specifically called out newer, high-speed CPUs in the 1.7GHz and up range as causing interference.

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April 25, 2007

Magellan Posts Firmware v.1.22 for Maestro 4040

After a small hiccup on the inital release, Magellan has made firmware v.1.22 available for download via their website. I just downloaded and installed the 35MB update and everything went smoothly (although there's no MacOS or Vista support, so I had to do the update on a Windows XP machine).

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April 23, 2007

Magellan Maestro Firmware 1.22 Posted. Broken Website Doesn't Allow Downloading. Update Pulled.

Magellan has posted firmware version 1.22 for the Maestro 4040 on their website. Downloading the update requires that you register your Maestro's serial number with Magellan. After completing the registration process, I was unable to download the update, and was instead returned to Magellan's homepage without explanation. Now it looks like Magellan has pulled the update altogether from the site. Take a look at the following screenshots for the whole story:

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April 22, 2007

Garmin nuvi 250 Review

Verdict: Great Entry Level GPS (But Kinda Pricey)

The nuvi 200 series is Garmin's latest offering in the highly successful nuvi product line, and is targeted at the budget conscious consumer who is looking for basic navigation without all the bells and whistles of the higher end nuvi's. The nuvi 250 ships with pre-loaded NAVTEQ maps of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, has a 3.5-inch color touch screen display, turn-by-turn guidance, 6 million Points of Interest (POI) database, photo viewer, calculator, currency converter, unit converter, and a world clock.

This week I put the nuvi 250 through GPSmagazine's rigorous testing criteria and found out how the newest, budget-friendly nuvi stacks up against the competition (and other nuvi's!).

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Auto Nav 2000 Plus, Inc. Launches Online GPS Rental Service

GPS4rent.com

Sure GPS devices are getting cheaper, but the good ones are still between $400 - $900. That's some serious dough, so if you're not sure which GPS is right for you, or just need a GPS for a few days, GPS4Rent might be just the thing for you. Given that a good GPS device still costs anywhere from $300 to $1000, it's surprising there aren't more rental services. Currently they're offering a range of Magellan GPS units (including some with real-time traffic data) that cost between $9 and $13/day to rent (3 day minimum). You're also on the hook for the UPS shipping charges, but given the size and weight, that should be pretty affordable.

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April 21, 2007

Boeing to Create Global Position Satellite System, Without ...Satellite?

Boeing's Robust Surface Navigation (RSN) system

Sure, we all know how great GPS is, but pulling the satellite signal down from space can be touch-and-go in dense urban areas. Enter Boeing's Robust Surface Navigation (RSN), capable of providing precise positioning from inside a building, underground, and immune to GPS jamming techniques.

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April 17, 2007

TomTom Releases Updated Maps for all TomTom Devices-But It'll Cost Ya

TomTom

TomTom just announced new, updated maps available for the entire TomTom product line. The maps, called version 6.75, are only available via TomTom's website, and are based on the TeleAtlas 2007.1 (January 2007) map data. That's pretty recent map data to get on a GPS considering it's not uncommon to have mapping data that's several years old on a GPS. The new maps will run you about $135 (€ 99) for U.S. or Western Europe (other regions are also available).

Here's how you get the maps.

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Piper Selects Garmin’s G1000 as Optional Avionics Suite. $3 Million Deal for Garmin?

Garmin G1000

Garmin announced today that Piper Aircraft has selected Garmin's G1000 avionics suite as optional equipment on the single-engine Saratoga and 6X (modern day version of the legacy Cherokee Six), which are collectively known as the PA-32 family of Piper aircraft.

The announcement isn't a surprise, as the deal has been in the works for over a year. Still, this is a significant win for Garmin, as the PA-32 family of aircraft represented almost a third of Piper's total aircraft sales last year. If those numbers continue, that could mean about $3 million in incremental sales for Garmin's Aviation segment.

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