Sunday, March 18, 2012

Garmin Debuts New Dedicated RV Device

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RVs can be a lot of fun, but if you’ve ever taken a road trip in one, then you know that RV drivers have completely different needs than your average driver or even a trucker. So, of course, Garmin is here to the rescue with its own line of RV-specific GPS devices, the most recent of which was announced last week.

The device, RV 770 LMT-S was built specifically with RV lovers and camping enthusiasts in mind. In addition to the normal navigation and routing options, it offers a host of features that RV owners need while on the road. And, much like the new Garmin Drive line, this device features free live services to go along with Garmin’s award-winning navigation. read more

TomTom Debuts new GO and VIA Devices

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TomTom, a Dutch company that has become known more for its mapping and navigational solutions recently, has announced that it will be adding new devices to its popular VIA and GO lines. At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, the GPS pioneer debuted the GO 520, GO 620, VIA 1425, VIA 1525, and VIA 1625 to consumers. All devices are expected to be available in March 2017.

As  continuation of two of TomTom’s most popular dedicated GPS device lines, all five new products are expected to ship with the latest TomTom maps, and both feature lifetime map updates so that users never have to worry about losing their way with an outdated map. The GO line is designed more for the connected consumer with a lineup of features aimed towards convenience, while the more advanced VIA devices have dedicated searching and navigational functions for the easiest and best routing.

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Garmin Introduces New 2017 Drive Line with Live Services

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At the most recent CES, Garmin introduced its newest line of navigation devices, the 2017 Garmin Drive product line which includes the Garmin Drive 51/61, Garmin DriveSmart 51/61, Garmin DriveAssist 51/61, and Garmin DriveLuxe 51/61. These personal navigation devices are focused heavily on drivers who are more interested in connected features and live services than actual navigation features, unfortunately, and the press release doesn’t actually have all that much information about the navigation features. There might be more once the devices are released, but at the moment, it’s a little slim. However, for the casual driver who is looking for a good alternative to phone navigation, these devices are probably right up your alley.

In addition to basic maps and navigation, all four of the 2017 Drive devices feature a handful of driver alerts including warnings for upcoming sharp curves, railroad or animal crossings, one-way alerts, red light cameras (where applicable), and speed cameras. The devices also all feature Garmin’s signature Read Directions, which uses easily recognizable landmarks, buildings, and traffic lights when giving directions to provide for ease of navigation. The devices also are capable of connecting with a Connect IQ compatible Garmin smartwatch to provide navigation to the driver’s wrist. I’m not sure how useful that’s really going to be, but it’s kind of nice to see connectivity between Garmin devices at the least. read more

Waze Tackles GPS Tunnel Blindness

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We’ve probably all had it happen. You’re driving along and your route takes you inside a tunnel where, suddenly, your GPS device is completely useless and you find yourself squinting along at signs trying to figure out which lane you need to be in. Because GPS signals are transmitted from satellites, dense cover and underground locations (like tunnels) have always been a challenge. While manufacturers have managed to improve GPS technology so many devices can keep signals in dense undergrowth and in canyons, having a signal underground is a different challenge altogether. But, it looks like Google’s secondary navigation company Waze has a solution.

The Waze Beacons Program uses modified Bluetooth beacons in order to communicate location with your device. From what it looks like, the beacons currently will only work with the Waze app, but the signals are unencrypted so other manufacturers like Google or even Garmin, could take advantage of them as well. read more

Dedicated GPS Devices Are Better Than Smartphones

Volvo Car Group initiates a world unique Swedish pilot project with self-driving cars on public roads

It’s true that smartphones are rapidly overtaking GPS technology, and since everyone has a cell phone, for some people it might seem like a waste of money to buy a device that does something your smartphone can already do. Heck, that mentality is exactly what keeps me from getting a tablet—I already have a phone and a laptop; how could I possibly justify the expense?

However, what many people don’t realize is that while smartphones do have a lot of overlap with dedicated GPS devices, there are things that really make it far more worthwhile than people realize. And yes, you could get around most of these if you really wanted to, but using a GPS device negates the need for all of those workarounds. read more

It is Illegal to Use Phone GPS While Driving in RI

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The Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal made a landmark decision recently that may have cemented the beginning of troubles for phone GPS apps. Recently, the ruling from the Tribunal’s Appeals Panel upheld a state fine for a man in Rhode Island who was given a ticket for looking at his phone while driving. The man claimed that he was checking his GPS, not texting.

“…Based on the plain language of the statute,” the judges wrote in their decision, “a reader may be looking at any visual display on the phone’s interface and be in violation of the statute. To hold otherwise would defeat the purpose of the statute: to prevent drivers from distractions caused by operation of a cell phone while driving.” read more

TomTom Introduces On-Street Parking Service

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We all know the struggle of trying to find parking. It’s especially frustrating to me when I am in an unfamiliar city, usually downtown, and one way streets are getting me turned around!

Fortunately, TomTom is working on a solution for its customers. The company recently announced an On-Street Parking Service. It seems TomTom is staying on track to further develop technology needed for self-driving, or autonomous vehicles. Of course, there are other benefits as well. read more

Built in GPS Disappoints Customers

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Technology in the world today is advancing so fast that it is sometimes hard to keep up. With that being said, more and more cars are coming equipped with a built-in navigation systems so that consumers won’t need to use a stand alone model or their smartphone.

Unfortunately, while the technology is becoming available for the public, not many people are utilizing it. In a survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, it was revealed that about 1/3 of people who had built-in navigation gave up on it after less than 2 weeks, and more than half never used it at all. Additionally, almost 2/3 of people with the built-in navigation said that they continue to use their smartphone as a GPS at least some of the time. read more

TomTom Announces New GO Devices with Auto Updates

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TomTom has announced its next generation TomTom GO devices this month, and the company claims they are the “most advanced” devices to date. While these devices will have many of the same features as other TomToms, the new TomTom GO devices will feature WiFi connectivity, hands-free driving, and route prediction.

The new TomTom GO devices will come in four models, the 520 and 620, which are 5 and 6 inches respectively, are the cheaper versions while the 5200 and 6200 are a little more pricey and include the additional feature of a SIM for live updates on the go. read more

Garmin Adds Driver Alerts to New Dash Cams

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This week, Garmin has released information on its next generation of dash cams, which will provide not only an impartial eyewitness but also some new safety features. Garmin’s dash cams aren’t a huge segment of the GPS company’s business, but it has been working in the market some this year with the release of several new updates earlier this year. While these new units, the Dash Cam 30 and 35 will not include GPS routing, they will come with new features including driver alerts.

The new driver alerts will only be available on the Dash Cam 35 and include: read more