Garmin International Inc., is announcing the nuvi, a Personal Travel Assistant that combines a GPS navigator, language translator and travel guide capability, an MP3 player, an audio book player, a currency and measurement converter, a world clock, and a digital photo organizer all in one device.
The nuvi's introductory screen lists two familiar options: "Where to?" and "View map," which offer the user Garmin's very popular and easy-to-use GPS navigation functions. A third option on the title page is named "Travel Kit" and contains the other functions that distinguish the nuvi from other solutions.
Inside the Travel Kit, users can access the optional Garmin Language Guide, with data provided by Oxford University Press. This software suite contains a multilingual word bank, phrase bank, and five bilingual dictionaries. The multilingual word bank and phrase bank supports nine languages and dialects including American English, British English, French, German, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, European Spanish, and Latin American Spanish.
The Language Guide lets travelers look up and translate more than 17,000 words or 20,000 phrases per language. Through the unit's text-to-speech interface, users can get a spoken pronunciation of each entry in the word bank, along with gender and part of speech information.
The Travel Kit will also support the new Garmin Travel Guide SD data cards. With information provided by Marco Polo, these guides bring in-depth travel information, helpful reviews and recommendations for restaurants, hotels, shopping, nightlife, sporting events, and tourist attractions.
Both the Garmin Language Guide and Garmin Travel Guide are available separately on SD data cards. Once the Garmin Language Guide is installed, users can remove the card to free up the SD slot for other purposes, such as the Garmin Travel Guide.
To pass the time on those long trips, the nuvi comes equipped with an Audio Book Player, with content provided by Audible.com. The nuvi also features an MP3 player that lets users browse music by artist, album, song, or genre, as well as the ability to build playlists.
Additionally, the nuvi offers a Picture Viewer for displaying digital photos, a World Travel Clock, Currency and Measurement Converter, and Calculator.
The device is approximately the size of a deck of playing cards, with a 3.5-inch (diagonal) color touchscreen display with a recessed power button, SD card slot, mini-USB jack, and headphone output. The flush flip-up GPS antenna houses an external antenna jack, and the unit's speaker is mounted within the unit - making the nuvi easy to carry in a jacket pocket, attache, or carry-on.
The nuvi has a battery life of four to eight hours, depending on backlight settings and GPS or application usage. The unit can be charged via the included AC power adapter, 12-volt power cable with suction-mount automotive cradle, or the PC/USB interface cable connected to a computer. The company says the device is equipped with a new high-sensitivity GPS receiver, capable of maintaining a signal in heavy foliage or "urban canyons" created by city skyscrapers.
Travelers can use the nuvi to navigate to an address or search points of interest (POIs) -- places like hotels, restaurants, shopping, and tourist attractions. The nuvi automatically calculates the fastest route and provides voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions along the way.
In Europe, customers can purchase one of eight regional map coverage areas (the nuvi 300), or opt for full European mapping (the nuvi 350). North American versions include pre-loaded maps of the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
The nuvi 300 comes with approximately 200 MB of internal memory, while the nuvi 350 has approximately 700 MB of internal memory.
The European version of the nuvi is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2005. The higher model has a suggested retail price of US$969.