Connected PNDs hot again at the IFA exhibition in Berlin
Navigon, Garmin and Medion launched connected PNDs for the European market.

Three new PND vendors to be added to the connected PND community:

1. Medion announced the GoPal P4635, which is their first internet-connected portable navigation device. The 4.3-inch GPS navigator features NAVTEQ-powered traffic updates, fuel prices, parking spot availability and weather updates. The PND also includes NAVTEQ maps of 43 European countries, an interchangeable SIM card with GSM/GPRS cellular support provided by Dutch operator KPN, voice-guided turn-by-turn directions with spoken street names and Medion’s GoPal Navigator AE version 5 browser. The price is set at € 350, and the user needs to pay a € 5 monthly subscription for live traffic services.

2. Navigon has today as many as 22 PND models on the European market. In September 2009, Navigon introduced its first connected PNDs. The connectivity is provided by an external GPRS modem with a SIM card that sits between the charger and the navigation device. The newly announced models Navigon 6350 Live (priced at € 350) and Navigon 8450 Live (priced at € 500) have these real-time services as standard. The Live module can also be purchased separately for € 100 to add connected services to the NAVIGON 6310 and NAVIGON 8410 models. The service is free of charge for three months and beyond this period the contract can be extended in selecting either a one-year contract for € 80 or a two-year contract for € 140. Navigon Live Services comprise traffic, weather, Google Local Search, speed camera and parking space availability. Roaming across Europe is included in the monthly flat fee.

3. Garmin introduced the nüvi 1690. It is a wirelessly connected PND featuring a large collection of online services and priced at € 400. The Garmin nüLink! Service includes Google local search, traffic, speed cameras, weather, fuel prices, flight status, white page telephone listings and Ciao!, Garmin's location-based social networking system. Ciao! today already aggregates information from GyPSii and uLocate's Buddy Beacon social network services. The European version comes with one year of free Garmin nüLink! service. After that free period Garmin will charge € 80 per additional year. The device can be used across Europe with the connected services and roaming is included in the price.

Will this new market segment succeed? TomTom has so far not sold its Go Live range according to plan in Europe demonstrating that it is not a given in the short time perspective at least, but it is an obvious and necesasary way for PND vendors to compete with online handset-based navigation services.

Johan Fagerberg

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