Garmin has announced the next generation of its Nuvi line of GPS devices, the Garmin Nuvi 3700 series. Garmin set out to make the 3700 series its thinnest ever, measuring just under 8.95mm thick. For comparison's sake, the iPhone 3GS is 12.3mm thick.
The 3700 series takes a few cues from the current crop of touch-screen smartphones, with which it will inevitably have to compete. For example, the Nuvi line's plastic resistive touch screen has been replaced with a glass capacitive touch panel (4.3 inches, WVGA) that's more in line with Apple and Google's offerings and supports multitouch pinch-to-zoom and rotate-to-twist on the map screen. The device also benefits from an accelerometer, allowing it to be used in portrait or landscape orientation, as well as customizable wallpapers for the menu screens. The device's varied metal textures, such as a brushed rear panel and satin-finish edges, work well with the big glass display to make the 3700 not only the thinnest Nuvi ever, but also the sexiest.
The 3700 series will also include a new powered suction cup mount that makes it easier to hear text-to-speech voice commands thanks to its secondary loudspeaker.
The 3700 series will consist of three models, the Nuvi 3750, Nuvi 3760T, and the flagship Nuvi 3790T. The models with the suffix "T" will feature free lifetime traffic alerts and Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling. The top-of-the-line Nuvi 3790T also features 3D terrain and building data for maps that look more realistic and voice command technology with a customizable wake-up phrase to grab the device's so you don't have to take your hands off of the wheel to initiate a spoken command.
The new chassis also gets a new pair of features called nuRoute with trafficTrends and myTrends. TrafficTrends seems like Garmin's shot at TomTom's IQ Routes technology, aiming to provide efficient routing and realistic arrival times using historical traffic data and recurring trends at any given time or day. The myTrends feature remembers your frequent destinations and automatically predicts your arrival time and best route using traffic alerts without user intervention. For example, the Nuvi may learn that you always head in to work at 7 a.m. and automatically set that as your destination when you power it on in the morning. This could be a tremendous convenience or a huge headache depending on implementation, but we're hoping for the best.
According to Garmin's product pages, you can expect to pay $349, $399, and $449 for the 3750, 3760T, and 3790T, respectively. The new class of Nuvi is set to go on sale sometime later this year. For those who can't wait, we've included Garmin's introductory video for the Nuvi 3700 series: