It's not often that you get people volunteering to get stuck in traffic. However, that's exactly what happened today in Northern California. About 150 students from the University of California at Berkeley participated a project devised to test the potential of using GPS-enabled, internet-connected cell phones as aids for reporting real-time information on traffic congestion. The test by the university was done in collaboration with Nokia, and the California Transportation Department. Real-time traffic services are nothing new. Services from Satellite companies, such as XM and Sirius, as well as maps from Google and Yahoo provide color-coded estimates of … Read more
A company with the unwieldy name of Making Virtual Solid has developed a new way for drivers to follow GPS directions, a virtual line projected onto a car's windshield. The technology, called Virtual Cable, uses existing heads-up-display components and standard GPS navigation systems, but would have to be factory-installed. From videos on the company's site, the system looks very usable, and a big improvement over current route guidance systems. The beauty of Virtual Cable is that it shows route guidance over real streets, as opposed to navigation screens, which show arrows on a map that the driver then … Read more
Magellan is bringing its A-game to CES 2008. In addition to several other announcements, including the unveiling of the Magellan Maestro Elite 5340+GPRS, the GPS manufacturer debuted the Magellan Maestro 5310. The portable navigation system was designed to better meet the needs of baby boomers and features a larger 5-inch touch screen to increase map, menu, and image readability by 35 percent. "With 90 million baby boomers in North America representing $2 trillion in annual spending power, developing GPS products geared to their specific needs is critical to expanding the category," said Christian Bubenheim, vice president of … Read more
If you're not keen on squinting at a little display to view maps and driving directions, then feast your eyes on the Garmin Nuvi 5000. Unlike most of today's portable navigation systems, which have 3.5-inch or 4.3-inch displays, the Nuvi boasts a 5.2-inch touch screen with a 800x480 pixel resolution and is designed for RVs and trucks. It's well-stocked in the features department as well with preloaded maps of North America, text-to-speech functionality, integrated Bluetooth, multimedia capabilities, and compatibility with MSN Direct for real-time traffic, weather, and more. There's even a composite video … Read more
Voice commands in portable navigation systems: We had a feeling we'd be seeing more of this trend at CES 2008, and Garmin proved us right with the launch of the Garmin Nuvi 800 series. The series includes two models--the Garmin Nuvi 880 and the Garmin Nuvi 850--and both have speech-recognition technology so you can perform certain navigation functions with the sound of your voice. For example, you can look for local businesses with phrases such as "find nearest Chinese restaurant," and unlike the Magellan Maestro 4250--which we reviewed earlier and also had voice command functionality--you can … Read more
Well, well, looks who's stepping up its game? Today, GPS manufacturer Magellan announced its most ambitious in-car portable navigation system yet: the Magellan Maestro Elite 5340+GPRS. Scheduled to ship in March, the Maestro Elite 5340 allows you to use a GPRS connection to connect to the Web from the device itself and conduct real-time searches for local businesses, services, and events via Google Local Search. You will also be able to send addresses and notes wirelessly from your PC to the Maestro Elite 5340. Sound a bit familiar? Perhaps it's because it's somewhat similar to the … Read more
On the eve of CES 2008, Sony Electronics added two new portable navigation systems to its lineup: the Sony NV-U73T and the Sony NV-U83T. Both models focus on safety and have text-to-speech technology, nearly 5 million points of interest with branded icons, and preloaded maps of the United States and Canada. They're equipped with SiRF StarIII GPS chips, but the units also have a feature called Position Plus that includes pressure, gyro, and acceleration sensors, which should provide for more accurate positioning even when driving through tunnels and in between tall buildings. In addition, you can perform certain functions … Read more
I hope and expect that the majority of dash-top GPS products for cars that are released in 2008 will have one new feature that's missing from most 2007 and earlier models: A way to preprogram waypoints and routes via a Web site, and then send that information to the device. From Google Maps you can already send locations to certain BMW and Mercedes cars and some TomTom navigation units, and this is one of the cool new features we're anticipating in the upcoming Dash Navigation product.
But let's hope that other GPS manufacturers don't follow the … Read more
If you're a regular Cheapskate visitor (and my deep thanks if you are), you may recall the $99 GPS from earlier this month. It sold out fast, but now you have a second chance: The Holux GPSmile 52 Plus (known in some quarters as the GPSmile 53A) is available now from eCost for $99 (after a $35 mail-in rebate).
The GPSmile 52 Plus includes a 3.5-inch touchscreen, preloaded maps, a SirfstarIII chipset, and a windshield mount. You can even use it as an MP3 and video player (though I have to ask: Does anyone actually use those features?). … Read more
More good news for those of us who have been forced to divide our attention between the road and what seems like an ever-increasing number of gadgets and other in-car distractions: automotive voice-activation technology is becoming more widespread.
On Thursday, U.S.-based company Nuance announced that it will be putting its text-to-speech technology in select new Ford models in Europe. The system powers Ford's "Human Machine Interface" (HMI), which allows drivers to make calls, enter destinations into the navigation system, control the audio system, and change the inside temperature using simple voice commands.
For example, a … Read more