Hitachi's plan B: upgrade GPSes

Just nine months after entering the portable GPS fray, Hitachi have announced that its two model line-up will be refreshed in mid-August.

Just nine months after entering the portable GPS fray, Hitachi have announced that its two model line-up will be refreshed in mid-August.

Amid the glitz and glamour of Hitachi's unveiling of its updated flat panel TV range -- 50-inch plasmas with frame rate conversion anyone? -- Hitachi told the gathered throng of journos that its line-up of GPSes would be replaced in mid-August. There are two "new" models -- the 4-inch MMP-401B which replaces the MMP-401 and, you guessed it, the 5-inch MMP-501B to replace the MMP-501.

Both models now come with text-to-speech, meaning that generic instructions, like "turn left in 50 metres", are replaced with more helpful ones, such as "turn left onto Parramatta Road in 50 metres". When they land on our shores they'll be fitted with the latest Sensis R14 maps. Externally they're almost dead ringers for last year's models, except that they sport the so-2007 matte black finish instead of grey.

The MMP-401B and MMP-501B

The MMP-501B retains the older model's Bluetooth support -- allowing it to act as an in-car hands-free kit -- and its AV input suitable for MP3 players and reversing cameras.

The big news, though, wasn't trumpeted quite loudly as it should've been: price cuts for the new models. The AU$549 MMP-401B undercuts its predecessor by AU$60, while the AU$799 MMP-501B is AU$150 cheaper than the soon-to-be-retired MMP-501.

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