UPDATE: Read my hands on Garmin nuvi 1690 review.
We first learned of the Garmin nüvi 1690 from the FCC a month ago, and today it’s official. As expected, the unit will sport a built-in wireless connection to a new service, dubbed nuLink!, which will provide access to Google™ local search, traffic, weather, fuel prices, movie listings, flight status, local events, white page telephone listings, and the Ciao!™ location-based social networking system. A nuLink! services coverage map is shown at the end of this post.
Connected PNDs have been less than successful, but Garmin is taking an innovative approach that should help drive sales – the U.S. version of the nüvi 1690 will come with two years of the Garmin nüLink! service. After that, it’s $5.00 per month.
The nuvi 1690 can connect to Ciao!™, Garmin’s exclusive location-based social networking system that connects multiple networks into a single portal for Garmin users. Ciao! currently aggregates information from GyPSii and uLocate’s Buddy Beacon social network services, though Garmin notes that additional social network partners are expected in the future. Owners will have the option of sharing their whereabouts with friends and family. Ciao! users will see their friends’ location on a map and then be able to navigate to that location.
Another thing that sets Garmin’s service apart from others is the inclusion of white pages telephone listings which, according to the news release, allows you to search for a person’s street address by their first name, last name or phone number. Of course, with the growing number of folks giving up land lines, I’m not sure how useful that will be.
The nuvi 1690 will also include NAVTEQ traffic, lane assist, junction view, Bluetooth and ecoRoute™.
The U.S. version of the nüvi 1690 has preloaded maps of North America and is expected to be available in the fourth quarter for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $499.99.