Car Tech: Three smarter ways to do GPS navigation
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Car Tech: Three smarter ways to do GPS navigation

3:44 /

Today's in-dash and handheld navigation gadgets leave a lot to be desired. But not for long; take a look at the future.

[ background music ] >> When I say GPS navigation, what do you think of? I bet you think of either a big buck in-dash car system, or maybe one of these PND devices, portable navigation device, a Tom Tom, a Garman. They're great, the price is much more affordable than they used to be. But you got the cables, the suction mount, all that paraphernalia. Let me show you three things that I think point to the future of GPS navigation. Inside this 2007 Acura RL I'm surrounded by technology, including a great nav system, big screen, bright, easy to control with the knobs here on the dash. Only one problem. It doesn't come out. What if I could do all the same stuff on a cell phone? You see, my Razr is running Tele-Nav Navigator, a software program that takes advantage of the fact that modern phones have GPS. The service is on here on a variety of carriers and many phones, and you pay to use it. A few bucks to maybe ten or twelve dollars a month for unlimited use. But the bottom line is it's always with you. One of the first questions you may have is how do I enter my address on that little thing? There are varieties of ways of doing it. You can type it using the keypad, that's a little cumbersome. Or you can speak it, they have a toll-free number you call right from the phone, and you tell it the address you want. Or you can go to the Tele-Nav website, log into your own page, and type in the address, and then that is sent to your phone. Now in addition to giving you directions, you can also search. There's a bit of a community here where other Tele-Nav users are letting you know where their favorites or, or you can search for gasoline by the best price for example. These are all part of the intelligent navigation systems that are starting to come out in a much bigger package. But because the intelligence of a phone-based nav is offloaded back onto servers on the web through the cellular network, you can get a lot of power in a small package, it all comes with a connection. Now another new wrinkle in navigation, is to take a nav device and give it connectivity. The Dash Express does that. This product's coming out Fall of '07. These units all talk to base, and base talks back to them to give you traffic, both predictive as well as real time, as other units tell you basically how the traffic is in your area. The other reason they use connectivity is for this, Yahoo local search. Let's say you're on the road somewhere and you want to get an iPod. You just go here and type in a very simple keyword search. iPod. And here are the possible choices you can go to. Note the star ratings there, that's Yahoo Community rating. Ha, there's the Apple store. Five stars, big surprise huh? Then you hit the Go button, and off we go to plot the course to the Apple store. Now it does that several ways. It gives you choices of how to go there, shorter or longer depending on the kind of road you want to take, if you want to avoid a freeway, go on surface streets, and also if there was traffic it would show up here on a color coded set of dots. Now here's one last idea in in-dash GPS nav that we're watching with quite a bit of excitement. This is an Eclipse car stereo. It's the AVN2210P. And it looks like a regular double DIN automotive stereo unit, except you see over here you've got a nav screen that's of decent size. It's a touch screen, and you may recognize that interface. That's a Tom Tom unit. Here's the part we love though. Press this little button here, and you undock the actual navigation part. Now that's cool. You can take it to different vehicles, or dock it back in your own. You got to like this idea. So whether it's connected navigation, cell phone navigation, or dockable in-dash navigation, these are all three important new trends that answer shortcomings in today's GPS nav marketplace. You'd be wise to keep an eye on all three.

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