Garmin introduces “crossover” PND nüvi 500 Series



Garmin introduces “crossover” PND nüvi 500 Series
Garmin today introduces its first crossover PND, the nüvi 500 Series, targeting casual outdoor, boating enthusiasts and the many European scooter drivers. This rugged unit will be available in September at $499.99, GBP299 in the United Kingdom.

Clive Taylor, Garmin's Director of Product, said, "The nüvi 500 series is a true chameleon in the gadget world, it extends the use of GPS across the range, from walking to cycling to driving to boating. It's ideal for individuals or families who want to go and explore the great outdoors in every way they can."

With one touch, the nüvi 500 transitions between walking, biking, driving or boating mode. For the great outdoors, the nüvi 500 models display shaded digital elevation mapping on the 3.5" water-proof touchscreen. This series comes standard with a compass page, track log and a removable, rechargeable battery (up to 8 hours) for extended outdoor use. It also features an integrated Wherigo (GPS-enabled game) and Geocaching player for downloadable games and treasure hunts. Optional TOPO mapping will give additional detailed maps.

Interestingly, the nüvi 500 series also fit on a scooter or bicycle thanks to its rugged design with UVA/B & fuel resistant material. Directions can be sent to a Bluetooth headset and a scooter mount is available as standard in select European markets or as an optional accessory in other regions. In comparison to the Garmin bike specific “Zumo” product, it is more affordable - the suggested retail price of the Zumo 450 is $749.99.

The nüvi 500 is also good on the water for the occasional boating enthusiast. When loaded with optional BlueChart g2 Vision marine cartography, it provides detailed chart-specific information, spot soundings, inter tidal zones, wrecks, port plans and restricted areas.

The nüvi 500 and 550 for Europe come preloaded with either country-specific City Navigator NT Map Data (500) or full European City Navigator NT Map Data (550) with detailed street and topographic mapping.

“Crossover” market opportunity
With this device Garmin is finally targeting a segment of consumers which wants a single device for multiple uses, whether they have a boat or a scooter or want to go outdoor, without the need of a second GPS dedicated to this activity. While a “niche” compared to mainstream PNDs, This “crossover” category has been doing pretty well. For example, the Evadeo device launched two years ago by national mapping institute IGN in France is said to have cannibalized a significant part of the dedicated outdoor GPS handheld market. However, the Evadeo is only an in-car/ hiking device; the smart idea from Garmin is that adding the scooter drivers niche to casual boaters and casual hikers is likely to drive significant volumes.

Tuesday, July 22nd 2008


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