Garmin bring social networking to their SatNav range

September 9th, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Garmin Nuvi 1690

This is the new Garmin nuvi 1690, which launched a few weeks back in the US, but has now been launched in the UK as well.  The important part of this device is the use of a built in mobile phone connection, allowing it to have a whole range of “connected” services, like those of the TomTom LIVE range.

Garmin are providing the following services over that connection:

  • Instant Traffic information
  • Speed Camera alerts (continually updated apparently)
  • Fuel prices
  • Ciao! Friend Finder (Garmin’s Social Networking application which also features on the nuviphone range)
  • Google Local Search and Telephone Directory
  • Flight Status
  • Weather Forecast
  • Currency Exchange
  • White Pages

There are also two other useful services in the range; Send To GPS allows you to “send” your route direct to your GPS, although we believe this will involve a direct connection between your PC and the SatNav unit.  The other is Panoramio, which will allow you to plan ahead and “conveniently go online to set your sat nav’s destination”.  Little detail exists about this function right now, and even on a UK specific page it mentions this service may not be available everywhere.

Garmin nuLink Traffic

As a device it features a whole raft of standard features; Bluetooth (for Hands Free phonecalls), Lane assistance, photo navigation, Where Am I?, ecoRoute fuel saving routes, and Park Position Recall.  Also, Garmin will preload the device with Pan European maps, and have stated that the online nuLink services will be available in 15 countries (not all services are available in all countries though), which is better than TomTom managed when they launched their LIVE services, which were limited to the country the device was obtained from.

For example, England (sic), France, Spain and Netherlands all offer all the services mentioned, whereas Italy and Belgium offer all but Fuel Prices, and Germany offers all except Fuel Prices, Safety Cameras and Ciao! location sharing.  Some services (although Garmin do not state which) are also available in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland.

In terms of Ciao!, Garmin have stated “Ciao!, is a patentpending social network application that links multiple location-centric social networks onto one application, Ciao! currently aggregates information from GyPSii and uLocate’s Buddy beacon social network services. Ciao! is expandable and additional social network partners are expected in the future.”

The device ships with 12 months nuLink services, and will cost €79 per year to renew (no UK pricing released yet); unfortunately Garmin also failed to provide any indicative pricing for the unit either, but this unit is likely to be the first of many well connected devices from Garmin, and appears to be a good move for Garmin, especially in the run up to Christmas.


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