Seen and heard at IFA

Miss IFA likes PNDs
Miss IFA likes PNDs
The IFA trade show in Berlin has closed its doors yesterday. As usual, the German Mecca for consumer electronics has been a good place to understand the trends in the consumer GPS market.

Many phones with GPS have been shown at the show: new Nokia N-series (recently announced or launched), Sony Ericsson phones, Samsung Omnia, etc… However, there are not that many “business” news in this field: in many cases GPS is a hardware feature “to have” rather than part of a strategy to offer convenient location-based services to customers. Nokia is probably the only one to have a strategy at this level and to execute it: during the show, as part of a global campaign in Germany, Berlin train stations where plastered with hundreds of advertising for the new Nokia 6210 Navigator.

There was nevertheless one GPS-enabled handset to be noticed of at the show: the LiFePlus GPS from Emporia, a company selling phones for the elderly market. This new handset has an emergency button which calls up to 5 preset numbers and sends text messages with GPS coordinates. The phone can also be used as a real-time tracking device to know the whereabouts of its user.

Seen and heard at IFA
Personal Navigation Devices
More than ever Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) took the stand at the show. Half of the hall 9 was dedicated to them, showing a high concentration of the “pure players”: TomTom, Garmin, Navigon, Mio, MyGuide, Falk and a few others. However, many other consumer electronics companies spread in different locations on the show, were also showing their own PNDs: Medion, Becker, Daewoo Electronics, to name only a few of them.

In the PND segment one of the most interesting announcements of the show has been made by TomTom with its range of connected PNDs for the European market, a topic we already covered last week (read more here1008).

Blaupunkt is also to be noticed with the launch of two innovative navigation devices that overlay navigation instructions to a live video feed of the road ahead taken by a camera integrated to the device. (We covered it in detail here1013).

Mio C728: 7 inches and DVB-T
Mio C728: 7 inches and DVB-T
Also interesting is the steady rise of mobile TV-enabled devices (DVB-T). Mio has presented the C728, a DVB-T, seven inches screen PND with stereo sound and AV input. This device should be for sale across Europe on the first of November, retailing at €399.

Daewoo Electronics, who introduced a line of seven PNDs at IFA, has two models: DPN-4390 and DPN-4391 with built-in DVB-T and a 4.3 touch screen. Blaupunkt also has DVB-T among the features of its TravelPilot 700.

Many “pure player” PND manufacturers are still reluctant at the idea of implementing mobile TV in a PND (Although Garmin is having a try with DVB-H in Italy). The little consumers interest for transferring movies, MP3 and images to PNDs has left many of them unwilling to test any other multimedia feature. However, unlike the cumbersome transfer of multimedia files to a PND, TV is immediate, available at the press of a button. Additionally, it is likely many of the use case will come out of the car (vacation’s homes, etc…). But will customers fall in love with it? This still has to be proved.


Thursday, September 4th 2008

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