Sunday, March 18, 2012

Magellan Announces New Navigation Platforms


It’s been a few months since we heard or saw anything out of the smallest of the three main GPS navigational companies and I admit I was starting to wonder what was going on. Well, in the last few days, Magellan has announced two new in-car navigation platforms aimed at both off-road vehicles and connected-car style vehicles. Both of the new services are only available to automotive OEMs, but I have seen no announcements of any particular manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon just yet.

The first of the two platforms announced is designed for off-road vehicles and includes smartphone integration for crowd-sourcing trails, sharing photos and commenting on each other’s tracks and trails. The platform will come with its own user community of like-minded enthusiasts and robust trail support. The ORV platform will have both in-dash equipment and smartphone apps and allow users to track and save trail rides and dirt miles, add pictures, search for new trails. It will also include a comprehensive outdoor trail map covering all 50 US states and Canada as well as 3D terrain information.

The second platform announced is called the Smartphone Box. This connected-car solution offers a midpoint between a car’s infotainment system, the smartphone and GPS information. It is designed to provide navigational information like turn-by-turn guidance, traffic information, preloaded POIs as well as other features like music playback.

“Infotainment systems have become an essential option for many vehicle owners,” Stig Pedersen, associate vice president of product management for Magellan said in the press release. “The easy-to-install Magellan Smartphone Box is an advanced and cost effective solution for vehicles outfitted with only a touch panel or a low-power head unit, or for vehicles without a pre-installed infotainment system. In addition, the Smartphone Box allows auto OEMs to reduce factory costs by enabling infotainment upgrades at the dealer, addressing the various regional demands for vehicle infotainment.”

It seems like connected cars are the way of the future as other GPS manufacturers like TomTom have also been looking into the automotive market. This is one of the first branches I’ve seen by Magellan into the automotive sector, however, and I’m curious to see how well it goes over as it doesn’t seem apparent that anyone is particularly interested at this point.

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