Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lifetime map updates coming to TomTom models

UPDATE: Our TomTom XXL 540TM page has been posted.

Well, well. In what could be the biggest news coming out of CES in terms of auto GPS this year, TomTom has announced that they will offer Lifetime Map Updates, a feature that will be incorporated into a range of TomTom units released in 2010.

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Hey Garmin – WTF?

Question mark small Garmin has apparently already made all their CES announcements. Lets see, we have a new golf GPS, a motorcycle GPS, a tool for high-tech grease monkeys and an app to make your nuvi curse like a sailor. The country’s biggest electronics show and this is all they have? WTF?

Well, actually, that’s a rhetorical question. I have some answers…

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Garmin ecoRoute hd

garmin-ecoroute-hd We first reported on Garmin ecoRoute hd back in November, when it was called ecoRoute ESP. Basically, this tool allows you to use your nuvi to monitor onboard vehicle diagnostics and performance data via a wireless connection with the car’s standardized onboard diagnostics port (OBD II). ecoRoute hd will be compatible with many current and future nüvi models, including the nuvi 1260, 1370, 1390, 1490 and 1690. This is a paid app (MSRP of $149.99), unlike the free, but more basic, ecoRoute feature included in many recent nuvis. It is expected to be available in March.

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Garmin zumo 665

zumo 665 XM weather

UPDATE: Check out our Garmin zumo 665 page for links to reviews, etc.

The motorcycle-friendly Garmin zumo 665 was announced today, adding to the zumo 660’s feature set with an antenna for XM Satellite Radio®, real-time XM NavWeather® and real-time XM NavTraffic®. Otherwise, the unit appears nearly identical to the zumo 660.

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Garmin Voice Studio

voice recorder icon Can you do a killer impersonation? Have kids? Want your GPS to curse like a sailor?  Well hang on, because the boys in Olathe have released Garmin Voice Studio, a free Windows application that will let you add your own voice prompts to most nuvis and a few other products.

Basically, you record a few dozen phrases and use Voice Studio to edit and load them to your device. The entire process is supposed to take less than 30 minutes for most folks. Sorry, no text-to-speech though, so you’ll have to give up on hearing street names, at least until the novelty of having your six-year old call out directions wears off.

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DeLorme PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator

DeLorme PN-60w SPOT
UPDATE: I’ve posted reviews of the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w and the PN-60w / SPOT Communicator combo.

UPDATE 2DeLorme has discontinued the SPOT Satellite Communicator in favor of their own product, the DeLorme inReach, which offers two-way communication and works as a standalone device or can connect with the PN-60w or with the iPhone or Android smartphones.

We’ve got some big news for backcountry types today. DeLorme and Spot have jointly unveiled the first combination ruggedized GPS navigator and satellite communicator. The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator can send customized text messages to individuals or groups. While emergency messaging or personal locator beacon capability is something I’ve been wanting to see in a handheld GPS receiver for awhile, plans are for the PN-60w to offer even more.

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