Magellan partners with Google for mobile search

Magellan partners with Google for mobile search
Magellan unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a new range of nine Personal Navigation Devices (PND), among them the Magellan Maestro Elite 5340+GPRS integrates a two-ways connectivity and features Google Local Search.

Google's real-time local search enables Magellan’s users to search the Web for businesses in a specific neighborhood, providing detailed, Internet-based information about those businesses - not just the business name or category.

Through the new Maestro Elite 5340's wireless GPRS connection, Magellan also delivers real-time traffic information, local weather forecasts, and makes it possible for users to wirelessly send addresses and notes to the GPS device directly from a PC with an internet connection. The user can send destination addresses to the Maestro Elite 5340+GPRS in advance of the trip or have someone at home or back in the office send information from the Magellan website directly.

“As the GPS category begins to expand beyond basic navigation and into more versatile exploration uses, the personal navigation device will become a primary resource for drivers and travelers to search for and access real-time information, monitor traffic information about their specific routes, and transmit data between communications devices," said Nelson Chan, president and CEO of Magellan.

Pricey device
However Magellan expects to sell this device for an estimated $1299. At this level of price Magellan might have difficulties to sell it in decent volumes, unless it is thinking about integrating in this price a free lifetime connection. Raphael Finelli, a Magellan spokesperson, said the company is still investigating how to charge a connection fee to its customers, on a quarterly or yearly basis. As a matter of fact Dash Navigation will sell its connected device at $599 plus a $10 to $13 monthly fee.

Internet giants get into the PND game
With Garmin PNDs syncing to Windows Live Local (read here), TomTom to Google Maps – however via USB, read here - and Dash partnering with Yahoo, it seems Internet giants are seriously taking position on the PND platforms with their local search offerings.

With around 30 million PNDs sold last year and probably 40 to 50 million expected this year, the PND platform is potentially becoming a credible medium for highly targeted advertising. Obviously serious advertising deals will not happen overnight; but at least the key players are ready to jump in the arena when the number of “connected PNDs” in the field is big enough to seduce marketers.

Sunday, January 6th 2008

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