GPS highlights from CES

Consumer Reports News: January 10, 2008 04:52 PM

What do Goodyear, German electronics giant Becker, and the For Dummies franchise have in common? They've all just gotten into the portable GPS business in the United States. Here's a quick look at what each brings to the table:

Through a licensing arrangement, a  New York-based electric accessory company called The NCC is bringing a total of eight GPS models bearing the Goodyear name and logo to market. Two Bluetooth-enabled models include a wireless remote for answering and disconnecting calls. Depending on the model, other features include MSN Direct service, MP3 player, an FM transmitter to enable playing music through your car stereo speakers, text-to-speech capability for spoken street names, and a walking mode. Due in the second quarter of 2008, prices have not been set.

Becker has been in the automotive electronics business for some 60 years and supplying navigation components to German automobile manufacturers for past decade. Now the company is bringing a line of four portable GPS units to the U.S. market. All Traffic Assist models include a lifetime subscription to Clear Channel traffic information, a built-in MP3 and WMA player, and the ability to speak 17 languages. More expensive models add features like Bluetooth technology for hands-free calling, an FM transmitter for broadcasting phone calls or digital music through your car's audio system, and up to a 4.8-inch screen. Prices range from $399 to $699, and all are expected in stores in early 2008.

Navigation for Dummies
It was only a matter of time. Navigation for Dummies—the hardware—uses the familiar colors, style, and cartoon character seen in the instructional book series of the same name. Marketed as being easy to use, there is one model on sale now: the FD-350. Features include text-to-speech capability, an MP3 and video player, photo storage, and 4.7 million points of interest. Three additional models are promised soon, with added features to include Bluetooth capability for hands-free calling. For now, the FD-350 is the only option for dummies. The price is $279.

Jim Travers

For more information on portable GPS navigation systems, see our Ratings and buying advice and watch our video guide. Discuss GPS devices in the forums. 

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