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January 12, 2012

Microsoft Patents 'Unsafe Neighborhood' GPS Avoidance Feature. Let's You Steer Clear of the Ghetto

Microsoft Patents 'Unsafe Neighborhood' GPS Avoidance Feature. Let's You Steer Clear of the Ghetto

Microsoft just got a patent approved for a avoiding unsafe neighborhoods when navigating via GPS. According to Microsoft, the feature is specifically aimed at pedestrian travelers, and factors conditions such as weather, terrain, and "security information" (read: crime statistics).

In other words, this feature makes it possible to take a slightly longer route in order to avoid "economically challenged areas". This announcement has been getting a fair amount of attention, as some have interpreted this function as having racial undertones, and unfairly penalizes businesses in high crime areas, and panders to unfounded fears of certain neighborhoods.

What do you think? Good idea or a step backwards in equality? Let us know.

January 9, 2012

Garmin intros top of the line nuvi 3500 series

Garmin nuvi 3500 series

Garmin announced today the release of the nuvi 3500 series - Garmin's newest flagship GPS.

The nuvi 3500 will feature the same ultra-thin form factor of the previous nuvi 3400-series, but will sport a larger 5-inch display, and will include more or less every feature Garmin has to offer:

All nuvi 3500 models will have:

  • 5-inch display
  • Guidance 3.0 navigation engine (which provides a faster, more intuitive user interface to enhance the speed and accuracy of searches and routing)
  • Lane Assist with photoReal junction view realistically displays road signs and junctions along the route with photographic detail to clearly mark the correct lane to be in for interchanges and exits (Garmin claims the nuvi 3500 will have 25-times more photo realistic junction views in the US & Canada)
  • the ability for the nĂ¼vi to automatically remember frequent favorite route destinations and predict the destination without the user needing to activate a route

The nuvi 3590LMT ($399.99) will include free lifetime map updates, Bluetooth, digital 3D traffic, voice activated navigation, as well as compatibility with Garmin's new Smartphone Link - an Android App that provides live services to the PND.

The nuvi 3550LM ($369.99) lacks the Bluetooth and traffic features.

Both units are expected to be available in February 2012.