Monthly Archives: January 2013

Energy Micro – Gecko Microcontroller Selected For Market’s First GPS Avalanche Monitor

By: Electro Pages

Original Source: Gecko Microcontroller Selected For Market’s First GPS Avalanche Monitor

Energy Micro has confirmed that its EFM32 Gecko Cortex-M3 MCUs have been chosen by PIEPS GmbH for use in its top-of-the-range handheld avalanche transceiver, the PIEPS VECTOR.

The PIEPS VECTOR is a handheld device that weighs around 200g and is a little larger than a smartphone. It is equipped with an ultra-sensitive -160dB SuperSense GPS, and runs from a Li-ion battery. Working at a beacon frequency of 457kHz, the device has an exceptionally long range of 70m. Frequent back-country travelers and professional mountain guides rely on avalanche transceivers in the event of an emergency. In normal operation regular handheld devices provide beacon functionality should the user run into trouble, and a receive mode helps rescuers conducting a search.

The new PIEPS VECTOR is the most advanced product of its type. The VECTOR introduces the possibility to record and display the user’s location on a live map like a standard GPS and is a maintenance-free four-antenna beacon with rechargeable batteries. The device uses vector triangulation to pinpoint exact position and walking directions; the GPS-map displays and records exact co-ordinates for use either in emergency search or for later use on PC or laptop.

PIEPS chose Energy Micro’s EFM32GG990F1024 microcontroller as the heart of the VECTOR for its combination of ultra-low power and 32-bit Cortex-M3 processing power. The Giant Gecko MCU with USB also feature an array of energy friendly standby modes and autonomous peripherals, ideal for preserving battery life in critical applications such as the VECTOR, says the company.

“Energy Micro’s Gecko devices are uniquely equipped to satisfy our needs in terms of processing power and battery life,” said Wolfgang Platzer, R&D manager, PIEPS. “Transceivers like the VECTOR are unique in that they are used by those in distress, by rescuers and by those who simply want to record an expedition. The Gecko’s blend of performance and energy efficiency enables us to satisfy the needs of all of these users.”

Markus Florian, sales director for central Europe, Energy Micro, added, “We are proud to be able to help PIEPS in producing a world-beating avalanche transceiver product. It’s inspiring to have been part of a project that could potentially help to save many lives. The Cortex-M3 Gecko MCUs were designed to combine outstanding performance with extreme energy efficiency – and when used in the VECTOR these attributes will be tested to the extreme.”

Click here for home.

U-Blox Demonstrates Navigation Using BeiDou

By: GPS World

Original Source: U-Blox Demonstrates Navigation Using BeiDou

Swiss-based u‑blox, a provider of GPS/GNSS and wireless semiconductors, has achieved successful satellite positioning using China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. According to u-blox, the technical achievement establishes u-blox as the first GNSS component vendor to demonstrate compatibility with all globally deployed positioning systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and now BeiDou.
 
However, NovAtel has also announced support for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System on its OEM6 family and select OEMStar GNSS receivers.
 
Customer demonstration of the u-blox technology will begin during Q1 2013.
 
“We are thrilled to have achieved this milestone only three weeks after the BeiDou specification was published,” said Thomas Seiler, u-blox CEO. “China will become the world’s most important single market for devices relying on embedded satellite navigation, and u-blox plans to be a major player in this market.”
 
BeiDou-2 currently has 15 satellites in orbit, offering navigation and positioning services to users in China and Southeast Asia. It will ultimately consist of 35 satellites providing worldwide positioning capability over its open service to within 10 meters accuracy.
 
u-blox will be demonstrating BeiDou compatibility with their latest GNSS platform at embeddedworld 2013 February 26-28 in Nuremberg, Germany, stand 4A-325.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Luch-5B Starts SBAS Test Transmissions

By: GPS World

Original Source: Luch-5B Starts SBAS Test Transmissions

According to tracking data from stations of the International GNSS Service’s Multi-GNSS Experiment, the second Russian Luch satellite, Luch-5B, started transmitting GLONASS and GPS differential corrections on January 7, 2013, at around 11:07 UTC.

Luch-5B, launched on November 2, 2012, carries a transponder for the System for Differential Correction and Monitoring satellite-based augmentation system. The satellite, occupying an orbital slot at 16 degrees west, uses PRN code 125. Transmission tests are not continuous.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Manitoba Geocachers Uncovering Hidden Treasure

By: Chrisd CA

Original Source: Manitoba Geocachers Uncovering Hidden Treasure

The big project this term in Red River College Creative Communications program is the magazine project. Each of us is required to work in a small group and make a marketable magazine together. My group’s magazine is called Spruce and will showcase alternative outdoor sports and activities in Manitoba as well as healthy living. Spruce Magazine’s focus is on trying new things, staying healthy, and having fun. Our province has a seemingly boundless wilderness and plenty of sports/adventure enthusiasts so this seemed like a perfect option for our magazine topic.

Each member of my group is writing a feature article on a different alternative sport done in Manitoba. I chose to write about geocaching. Geocaching is a treasure hunt using handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) device. Smartphones can also be used when a GPS or geocaching app is downloaded. The name geocache comes from the word, “geo” which means geography and “cache” which means a hiding place, especially one used for hiding or concealing certain objects.

Containers are hidden all over the world by geocachers, from Antarctica to the far North Arctic. These are called caches. They all contain a log book or sheet of a variable size so that geocachers (or the people that find these caches) can sign in the log to record the date that they found it and their geocaching username. To fully participate in the activity, people must make an account on Geocaching.com. On this site you can keep track of all the caches you find or cannot find, leave comments for other geocachers on your experience of each cache, and plan out where to find new caches. Once a geocacher signs the log in the cache they put it back and hide the cache where they found it for the next geocacher to find.

Caches can also contain small objects of little value for trade like trinkets or toys. Children especially love the trading toy aspect of geocaching, making it a great activity for young families. If you take something out of a cache is it considered geocaching etiquette to leave something behind of equal or greater value. Geocoins or Geocaching Travel Bugs can also sometimes be found. These come with a tracking code so that their change in location can be monitored online by their owner. Geocachers can pick one up and take it to a different cache and register it online so that geocachers know the distance is had travelled and its goal. These trackables are often programmed with goals by their owner so that other geocachers know where to take them. For example, a shell shaped geocoin might have the goal of travelling around to different beaches around the world. Unfortunately, these are the things that go missing the most from caches because of their collectable nature and uniqueness.

Manitoba alone has more than 5,000 caches, about half of which are located in or near Winnipeg. So there is a good chance that there is a cache hidden in walking distance to wear you live or near places you walk past everyday. This is one of the main reasons I find geocaching so fascinating. A cache could be anywhere and you would not have a clue unless you went looking for it.

As luck would have it, the Manitoba Geocaching Association or MBGA had a geocaching basic training workshop at Cabela’s on Ellice Avenue. There were at about 60 people there, almost all of which had been geocaching before. I was one of a couple newbies in attendance. The speaker and event organizer, Sandy Welbergen took us through a thorough introduction to geocaching using a slideshow.

I interviewed Mike Neale, the president of the MBGA, as well as a few other seasoned geocachers. I found out many geocachers have been approached by police for suspicious behavior. This is understandable, considering that much of what geocachers must do to find a cache is to root around different places, sometimes at night, all the while trying to look inconspicuous.

Geocachers sometimes refer to nongeocachers as “muggles” since geocaching started around the time that Harry Potter was getting very popular in the year 2000. Geocachers try to use stealth when finding a geocache because they do not want nongeocachers to move or take the hidden cache. This would make it impossible or at least a lot harder for other geocachers to find. Before this time GPS was only used by the military. Public use of GPS was finally legalized in 2000. Geocaching started up almost immediately after the date it was legalized.

After my interviews I got to find my first cache hidden in the Cabela’s parking lot. The best part about geocaching for me is the thrill of the hunt. Jacques Bourgeois, an experienced geocacher and I set out to find it. We punched in the coordinates of the hidden cache into a GPS device and followed them till we were only a couple of feet away. I looked around my surroundings and finally saw something that looked a little out of place. Low and behold it was the hidden cache. We opened up the tube covered in duck tape and small toys, mini glow sticks and a log sheet were all contained inside. I signed the log sheet, put everything back in the cache, and returned it to its rightful hiding spot for the next geocacher to find.

Geocaching is a great activity on so many levels. People of any age can participate. It can be done all year, under all conditions. This of course depends on the nature of the cache’s hiding spot and the hardiness of the geocacher. It is not only a physical challenge to get to the cache, but it is a mental challenge as well to actually find the cache’s whereabouts. The difficulty of each cache is rated from one to five in terms of both the process of getting to the cache and the difficulty of finding it. This is great because beginners of the sport can start on an easy difficulty level and more seasoned geocachers can try their hand at a cache with a higher difficulty rating. It is also an activity people can do on their own or with other geocachers. Since going to basic training workshop at Cabela’s I’ve already found three caches on my own. Only time will tell how addicted to geocaching I become.

For more information on the Manitoba Geocaching Association visit their website.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Will GPS Change In 2013?

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

By: GigJets

Original Source: Will GPS Change In 2013?

For the past two decades Global Positioning Systems have become commonplace in peoples cars, and on many mobile phones. GPS has helped individuals in their personal navigation needs, and has also become fun entertainment with hobbies like geocaching. It is almost hard to imagine a time before GPS. Now with new technology there are emerging trends in the 2013 GPS models that will help people even more as they try to navigate their work days, vacations, or other general travel ventures.

The importance and reliance on GPS is continuously growing by commercial users today. As one quote put it, “It’s how we harness the power of location- not just for road directions, aviation, and seafaring navigation- but for finding the nearest restaurant, gas station, and much more.” Originally GPS was developed for the US military, but it has become so much a part of the everyday lives of people around the world, other countries are beginning to develop their own GPS so they do not have to be reliant on the US.

New international GPS manufacturers include:

■ Galileo- European
■ Glonass- Russian
■ Compass- People’s Republic of China
■ Irnss- India
■ QZSS-Japan

According to a recent interview with a representative from the TomTom GPS company, one of the emerging trends to watch for in GPS is where it is going to be placed. After such smartphone success, you will now start seeing GPS devices in laptop computers, dog collars, radar detectors, video cameras, and even kids’ sneakers. The idea behind all of this is that it is not just about navigation with today’s GPS, but it is about “location based services”. It is a movement toward real time information that is practical and useful to the everyday individual.

It is this new convenience of having GPS everywhere that has companies like Garmin looking for ways to improve the handheld personal navigation devices they sell. As a result of this need to adapt and change Garmin recently came out with four new Oregon touch screen devices. Garmin realized they had the chance to offer features that smartphone and Android GPS users wouldn’t be able to access, or easily access at any time. Some of the features that Garmin could offer include:

■ Numerous maps already in memory so there’s no downloading; maps that may not be accessible to phone users if they’re out of cell tower range.
■ Display size is larger which is especially helpful while driving a vehicle.
■ Longer battery life and better power supply.

Skygeek Aviation GPS has new Garmin technology as well with updated devices like their Garmin Aera 796 Americas Avaiation GPS with XM. A few of its new trendy features include:

■ XM radio capabilities.
■ Touch screen.
■ 3D imagery and weather data.
■ VFR Sectional and geo-referenced IFR Enroute charts are preloaded.

GPS manufacturers are realizing the importance of location services to people and are finding ways to adapt to changing technology as well as the desires of today’s customers. Over the next few years we can expect to see GPS technology being used for safety, practical real time needs, and numerous everyday uses beyond basic navigation.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Garmin Announces New Dog Collars, Talks Up ‘Bark Odometer’

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

By: Engadget

Original Source:  Garmin Announces New Dog Collars

Garmin’s not content with just a spot on your dashboard — the company’s also hoping to help you out with your pet problems. The GPS-maker’s got a couple of new additions to its line of dog collars, including the BarkLimiter series, which offers up an accelerometer-powered bark identification system and a Bark Odometer to help you keep track of your canine’s woof mileage.

The collar is lightweight and waterproof and promises to increase “stimulation” as barking continues. The collar’ll run you $80 for standard and $100 for the deluxe edition. You can also get the BarkLimiter technology in the company’s Delta series of collars, which let you set a virtual leash up to three-quarters of a mile. That line runs $200 without the bark limiting and $250 with.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Magellan Launches eXplorist 350H GPS For Hunters At The SHOT Show

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

By: Market Wire

Original Source:  Magellan Launches eXplorist 350H GPS For Hunters At The SHOT Show

Magellan, a leader in innovative GPS devices for outdoor, fitness, automotive and mobile navigation, today announced the Magellan® eXplorist® 350H Outdoor GPS for hunters at the SHOT Show. The eXplorist 350H provides the features a hunter requires including pre-loaded detailed base maps with Game Management Units (GMU), Digital Globe satellite imagery for virtual scouting ability, hunting specific waypoints, hunting geofences, trail camera waypoint marking, and a camouflage exterior.

“The eXplorist 350H was designed to meet the hunter’s requirements with tools and features that will assist them whether it’s pre-season scouting or the hunt itself,” said Warren Hewerdine, senior director of marketing for Magellan. “Magellan is committed to serving the hunting community with high-quality, dependable outdoor GPS devices that bring together the best-in-class content, features, and ease of use.”

Preloaded on the Magellan eXplorist 350H is a custom detailed base map containing features needed by the hunter including GMU boundaries for the contiguous 48 U.S. states and for Alaska, and a 1:100k contour layer. This unique map also includes water features, urban and rural land use and a complete road network for the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and major roads throughout the rest of the world.

Included with the Magellan eXplorist 350H is a one-year subscription to Digital Globe satellite imagery that gives hunters the ability to “virtually scout” a future hunt location from the comfort of their home by giving the hunter a satellite view of the area they plan to hunt. Hunters can quickly identify areas of interest such as game funnels, potential feeding areas, and suitable glassing locations. The areas of interest can be marked and waypoints loaded into the eXplorist 350H, ready for the field along with an area of Digital Globe satellite imagery.

Hunting-specific waypoints that can be used to mark animal tracks, rub marks, water and food sources while in the field are readily accessible on the Magellan eXplorist 350H and avoid the need to type names. Points marked in the field can be uploaded back into Magellan’s VantagePoint software application on a computer allowing any hunter, over time, to build up their own hunting specific database over time. In addition, the trail camera waypoint-marking feature makes it easy for hunters to mark the locations of each camera they place for monitoring their favorite hunting locations and then navigate back to them when needed.

When user-activated, the geofence feature of the Magellan eXplorist 350H will automatically alert the hunter when they are approaching any GMU boundary to ensure that the hunter stays within the area that they are permitted to hunt.

For maximum ease of use, the new Magellan eXplorist 350H comes with a totally redesigned user interface that offers a completely different way for the hunter to easily access the hunting specific features. Magellan’s eXplorist 350H is a lightweight, rugged, waterproof (IPX-7), handheld GPS receiver with a 2.2-inch color screen, and sports a camouflaged-colored exterior. Targeted availability is late Q2 of 2013 at $229.99 (MSRP).

The new eXplorist 350H will be on display in Magellan’s booth #3857 at the SHOT Show, Sands Expo & Convention Center.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Garmin Edge 810 GPS Cycle Computer Review

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

This is a review of the new Garmin Edge 810, which is a system we have yet to review on this site.

By: Bike Radar

Original Source: Garmin Edge 810 Review

Garmin has finally unveiled the new Edge 810 GPS-enabled cycle computer – the long-awaited successor to its flagship Edge 800. Although it looks virtually identical from the outside, it’s not until you delve into the new user interface that you begin to appreciate its more simplified operation.

The addition of Bluetooth and new Garmin smartphone apps enhances the Garmin 810’s capabilities even further, and will likely keep Garmin at the top of the GPS heap.

Features and design

Garmin has packaged the new Edge 810 into the same case as 800 model it replaces, so aside from some new graphics everything looks the same from the outside. Weight decreases a single gram, to 97g, but the exterior dimensions are still 93x53x25mm.

The button layout is identical, with just the start/stop and lap/reset triggers located on the bottom of the front face, where they can easily be hit with your thumb. The power button is on the upper left side, which also pulls up the screen lock and brightness functions.

Case and screen are carried over on the 810 from the 800

Other physical characteristics are carried over as well, including the Edge 800’s 66mm (diagonal measurement) backlit, color touchscreen. On the backside sits the now familiar quarter-turn mount interface, plus covered ports for the mini USB plug (used for recharging, data transfers, and software updates) and the mini SD memory card slot (for adding optional navigation and topographical maps).

Interface and performance

Many riders – ourselves included – were expecting a dramatic redesign of the Edge 800. However, as the name suggests, what Garmin has presented is an incremental update, not the major leap forward we predicted. That said, the new interface is a big upgrade from the 800.

Previously, Garmin designed all of its Edge computers to present the same information regardless of discipline. In other words, unless you were to laboriously configure everything manually each time, a road century, trail ride, cyclocross race, downhill session, or everyday commute would display the same data screens.

Sure, you could select different bikes (only after digging through several menu layers) but that was only to track total mileage and adjust wireless accessory settings.

The Edge 810, on the other hand, now allows users to predefine up to ten bike types and five associated sub-categories (up from five bikes and no sub-categories on the 800), each with its own customizable selection of data screens – ROAD>TRAINING, CROSS>RACE, TRAIL>RIDE, and so on. For each sub-category you can have up to five screens of data with 10 fields each (the same as on the 800), as well as workout, map, course, elevation and virtual partner screens.

The Edge 810’s home screen allows you to quickly select your bike and activity type

We could configure it to see elevation and percent grade information for general road riding but not during ‘cross races, where we prioritized heart rate and time. Similarly, time trial racers can set up yet another category with just power output and speed if desired.

As before, each category can also be configured with associated ANT+ wireless accessories such as power meters, heart rate straps, and speed/cadence sensors.

There is still a substantial amount of initial configuring to do, compounded by however many categories you desire, but at least you only have to configure everything once now. At startup, you simply select your bike and ride type, tap ‘RIDE’, and head off. Once you’re done, the Edge 810 even offers some supportive feedback, indicating personal records and similar notes based on stored ride history.

As the Edge 810 uses the same color touchscreen as on the Edge 800, our opinions on it haven’t changed – both good and bad.

The screen is fairly responsive – even with gloved hands or when wet – and it’s relatively easy to select screens using a quick swipe, because it’s a bigger target than tiny buttons. There are times when you need to single- or double-tap the screen, though, and here the Edge 810 is more finicky, requiring a firm stab as opposed to a light touch as you’d need for an iPhone or Android mobile phone.

We’re disappointed that Garmin hasn’t upgraded the screen resolution, though, which still seems grainy and crude for the asking price. As before, contrast and sharpness aren’t as good as the Edge 500’s impressive monochrome panel. Despite multiple setting variations, we still have difficulty making out the display in very bright sunlight, too.

The on-screen menus are easy to follow and intuitive to operate

Those of you who are researching Garmin’s new Edge 510 will note that the two units sound very similar, and you’d be correct, except for the 810’s additional navigational capability (with the two higher priced 810 units).

Unfortunately, Garmin includes only a very basic map with the Edge 810 so anyone looking for genuine turn-by-turn directions or detailed topographical data will want to purchase them separately.

That being said, you can still upload your own maps provided you can (legally) download the area in question in JPEG format and have access to Google Earth to align the coordinates. In use, what you then get on your Edge 810 display is your position overlaid on the JPEG image you’ve uploaded – and if you’ve done it right, the GPS data is properly aligned, too.

Unfortunately, we can only report on this feature in theory, as a software bug prevented our uploaded map from displaying on the unit. Stay tuned on this one.

One feature the 810 doesn’t get, however, is the 510’s ability to link to Russia’s GLONASS satellite network in addition to the standard GPS array. Our experience with the 510 has shown it to be remarkably adept at locking onto a signal even when indoors, as long as there’s a window nearby.

The Edge 810’s GPS-only system isn’t an issue in most cases – we generally had little trouble locking in our location – but users in mountainous regions or mountain bikers riding in areas with intermittent line-of-sight overhead might get slightly spotty data.

Claimed battery life on the Edge 810 has gone down an hour to 17 – perhaps a reflection of the added Bluetooth wireless connectivity. So far, our experience has been pretty close to that figure.

Connectivity

The major hardware upgrade on the Edge 810 is the addition of a dual band ANT+/Bluetooth wireless chip that enables you to connect the device with both iOS and Android phones using Garmin’s own Garmin Connect mobile app. Pairing the two devices is straightforward.

One offshoot of this expanded capability is exactly what many of us expected: once you’re done with your ride, and if you’ve set it to do so, the app will automatically upload the file wirelessly to your Garmin Connect online account. Unfortunately, this only transfers the data, so you still have to log on to a proper computer or tablet to edit ride titles and insert notes – not a huge issue, as you still have to plug in somewhere to recharge the battery anyway.

Wisely, Garmin has also integrated social media into the wireless upload. Once the data has been transferred from the Edge to your phone – which happens reasonably quickly – you can quickly share that ride via Facebook and Twitter, or just send it directly through email or SMS.

A new LiveTrack feature shares your ride progress in almost real time. Data transfers at regular intervals from the Edge unit to a connected smartphone, which then relays it to selected recipients – or to all of your Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

LiveTrack followers can track your progress almost in real time

This should be a boon for solo riders who would like to reassure loved ones they’re safe, or even racers who want to transmit their progress to fans during an event. It’s not thrilling to watch if you’re on the other end (“This is about as much fun as watching paint dry,” said BikeRadar technical writer Josh Patterson) but it’s useful information nonetheless.

Garmin Presents — The Edge : Let others follow

That wireless communication goes the other way, too. You can search courses and routes on the enormous Garmin Connect database through your phone, download them wirelessly to the Edge, and then follow that route with the added motivation of a virtual partner, so you know if you’re on pace with whomever created the route. This is all in theory, though – so far, we’ve been testing our Edge 810 units prior to the official app release, so stay tuned for an update later on.

One particularly slick feature is the automatic weather alert system, which can be especially useful for riders embarking on an epic day or in mountainous regions where a nasty front can come in quickly.

According to Garmin PR man Justin McCarthy, the system will send an alert directly to your connected Edge 810 display if a weather event is predicted in your location within a three-hour window. Again, we didn’t have a chance to test this feature as no adverse weather events occurred during our initial trial period.

While all of this is rather neat, one obvious question remains: if you have to have a connected smartphone with you to use all of these enhanced features, why not just use your phone for GPS?

For one, using the GPS feature on your phone devours battery life, while mirroring information back and forth via Bluetooth is far more energy efficient. In addition, many riders aren’t comfortable mounting a phone to their handlebar, where it’s not only visually bulky but also subject to damage.

Make no mistake – we love cycling-specific apps – but this seems like a better solution for serious cyclists.

Supporting software and hardware

Accompanying the new Edge 810 is Garmin’s long awaited entry to the forward-located computer mount market. Simply called the OutFront mount, Garmin’s version is made of molded plastic with a hinged clamp, rubber inserts for both 31.8mm and 26.0mm-diameter handlebars, and a quarter-turn interface that can be rotated 90 degrees for use with Garmin’s outdoor GPS units.

The Garmin OutFront doesn’t feel as sturdy as we’d like

As with other widgets of this type, we’re happy with the improved visibility compared to a stem mount, but given that Garmin’s version isn’t any cheaper, at around US$40 retail cost, we can’t help but be a little disappointed. The spindly mast is a little flexy, it’s tricky to get the narrow clamp mounted perfectly square on the handlebar, and, most irritatingly, the mount itself sits off-axis so the computer is slightly rotated.

Conclusion

We had heady expectations for the successor to Garmin’s mighty Edge 800, and in some ways the 810 is a bit of a letdown, especially given the bump in price. The screen is still just so-so, it’s just as big as before, and claimed battery life has actually gone down, not up.

However, Garmin has made substantial improvements in terms of the new Edge 810’s overall usability, unlocking more of its potential for riders who might otherwise have been intimidated by the sheer volume of data available. The new wireless communication and associated smartphone apps provide some handy new features, too, which also make living with the Edge 810 a little more seamless.

Aside from those modest improvements, current Edge 800 owners probably won’t find a compelling reason to upgrade. However, we expect the new 810 to be a big hit with GPS newcomers or owners of older Edge 205 or 305 units who were holding out for more.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Garmin K2: Can A GPS Company Make Your Next Car’s Dashboard?

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

By: The Verge

Original Source: Garmin K2: Can A GPS Company Make Your Next Car’s Dashboard?

Taking over the entire dashboard of your car might seem like a logical progression from the handheld navigation device — Garmin’s longtime staple product — and that’s exactly what the so-called K2 intends to do. Featuring a 10-inch center display paired with a 12-inch unit in place of a traditional instrument cluster, the system introduced today at CES is a lot like Cadillac’s CUE in principle: it’s trying to rid the driver’s line of sight of old-school analog gauges that have dominated cars for the better part of the last century.

Besides the expected features of a modern car cockpit like voice recognition, smartphone integration, and Bluetooth, there are a few stand-outs. The K2’s center display supports both multitouch and gloved hands (akin to Nokia’s Lumia 820 and 920), and the entire thing can be configured through a web portal that the driver accesses from his or her home computer — dozens of settings are probably easier to configure through a website than they are with a fingertip and a fiddly user interface on the road.

Interestingly, the K2 is one of the first products to be announced with TI’s next-gen OMAP 5 processor, a competitor to Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragons and Nvidia’s Tegra 3 and Tegra 4. You can’t simply buy the rig and install it in your car, of course: Garmin’s pitching it to automakers, some of which already use the company’s technology in production cars (Chrysler and Honda, for example).

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

Four New Oregon Touchscreen GPS Devices Pop Up On Garmin’s Website

Best Handheld GPS Reviews

By: Engadget

Original Source: Four New Oregon Touchscreen GPS Devices Pop Up On Garmin’s Website

As Garmin hasn’t made any official announcement, we can’t tell you when these sneaky handheld GPS navigators first showed up on the company’s website, but say hello to the Oregon 600, 600t, 650 and 650t. Aesthetically, they all look identical, with a 3-inch “transflective color TFT touchscreen” in portrait orientation (240 x 400 resolution). Similarly, they share the overwhelming majority of internal specs, and all track your jaunts into the great outdoors using GPS and GLONASS. The only major differences we can find on the spec sheets are that the t-marked models come with Garmin’s “TOPO US 100K maps” preloaded, and that both 650 units boast an 8-megapixel camera. As the Garmin pages note, the models cost between $400 and $550, but they won’t be available for purchase until our FCC overlords allow it. Head to the source link if you’d like to know more.

Best Handheld GPS Reviews