Jul 31 at 5:05am by admin
Users of MSN Direct-enabled GPS devices-like those currently offered by Garmin, Pioneer, and Alpine-can now send location information from web sites to compatible GPS devices, all thanks to a new API released by Microsoft. The API for the MSN Direct Send to GPS can send addresses, business listings, and other POI’s directly to your GPS unit eliminating the need to re-enter information already found on a website. The feature can be used either wirelessly or through a USB connection. A list of compatible devices can be found here and and user instructions can be found at MSN Direct’s website.
via pc world
Jul 31 at 5:05am by admin
Like GPS chipmaker SiRF, Garmin seems to be taking a battering in a tough global economy. The company’s Q2 earnings call today showed revenue increases virtually across the board in every sector except the marine category thanks to high fuel prices. And despite double-digit growth in both revenues and shipments year-to-year and quarter-to-quarter, Garmin still fell a bit short of Wall Street estimates and have downgraded their outlook for the remainder of 2008. Year-to-year, the PND maker posted revenues of $3.98 billion and profits before a one-time gain of $3.86/share. Wall Street expected revenues of $4.13 billion and profits of $4/share. Quarter-to-quarter, Garmin took in $912 million before expenses resulting in profits of $0.93/share compared to Wall Street’s forecast of $956 million and $4/share.
And so despite impressive growth in a tanked economy, Garmin’s stock fell. But it wasn’t just the missed earnings estimates which took their toll. Garmin also announced today that the company’s entrance into the mobile phone market, also known as the nuviphone, would be delayed until early 2009. This is a far cry from the nuviphone release originally slated for this quarter and the third delay overall.
The company says that the issue now is in meeting carrier-specific requirements. Exactly what those requirements are is unknown as are the carrier’s that’ll carry the Garmin nuviphone in the United States. It’s widely believed AT&T will carry the GPS-enabled mobile phone, but rumors also have T-Mobile as a possible partner despite the fact that the wireless provider doesn’t yet provide 3G coverage across the entire nation.
At the close of trading today, the combination of announcements resulted in a closing price of $35.19, down almost $10 or 22% in regular trading. That’s another 52-week low for the company spurring on all kinds of conversation regarding the intelligence in purchasing Garmin stock over the next couple of days. Despite the fact the remainder of 2008 looks weak for Garmin, that’s a function of the economy rather than an issue with company strategy or management. I think if earnings estimates are adjusted in accordance with today’s announcement, we’ll see the stock rise again and smart investors will find themselves very happy.
What we are beginning to wonder though, is whether or not focusing on releasing a branded handset is the best way to go for Garmin. Can the nuviphone compete with the iPhone’s of the world? We don’t particularly think so. Would Garmin be better off focusing on developing software and applications for existing mobile manufacturers? We think so, but what we really want to know is what you think?
Update: It looks like T-Mobile will be going 3G nationwide October 1.
Jul 31 at 3:03am by admin
The rollout of the 3G iPhone has been a tough one for Apple, plagued by issues ranging from overwhelmed update servers to applications causing browser crashes. Fair enough–though Apple has taken all kinds of heat for the flubbed product launch, if they can’t do it no company out there would have. But the latest problem, if it turns out to be widespread is more than inexcusable.
Owners of the white model 3G iPhone have noticed cracks appearing in the handset casing. Exactly how many owners have had this problem isn’t known yet, but several have come out of the woodwork over at the Mac Rumors forum. Chances are that if this is happening to the white models, black models are also affected though it’s obviously not as easy to tell. The problems started appearing only a week after the July 11 launch and so far Apple hasn’t responded in any way to the issue, so your best bet at the moment is to take your phone back to where you got it if cracks appear and get a replacement. We’ll keep you updated.
Jul 29 at 5:05am by admin
The fine folks at Mobile Mentalism have written up a comprehensive review of Nokia’s E90 Communicator smartphone concluding that every feature performed exceptionally…except for the assisted GPS. That’s right, the E90 which uses Nokia Maps finds your location easily enough no matter where you are in the world (it was tested in both the UK and San Francisco), will calculate a route for you and even guide you to your destination by voice (for a little extra coin), but in the end it’s just plain slow. In fact, says Mobile Mentalism, “horribly slow”.
If you’re familiar with the Nokia E90, it’s something like a UMPC. When closed it looks like a typical mobile phone with a small screen on the outside; when opened it looked like a mini-laptop with a larger screen inside. The GPS and Nokia Maps is a little faster on the small screen, but that’s the thing-it’s small. On the large screen, Mobile Mentalism says it’s “so slow…as to be unusable”. If anything the E90 Communicator’s GPS is useful for finding POI’s that you know are in the general vicinity or for geo-tagging pictures thanks to a downloadable application, but as for real-time navigation-absolutely useless.
via mobile mentalism
Jul 29 at 1:01am by admin
Samsung’s Blackjack III (SCH-M480) is apparently available in Korea priced at $600 and available through SK Telecom, and while that’s great many of us on the other side of the world are wondering if it’ll be coming our way. Rumor has it that it will, hitting the United States in October carried by AT&T although we doubt you’ll have to pay $600. The assisted GPS-enabled Blackjack III runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional and features 3G HSDPA high speed connectivity, a 2.6-inch touchscreen, 802.11b/g WiFi support, Bluetooth, microSD, QWERTY keyboard, a 2 megapixel camera with VGA resolution, video and audio playback, and Microsoft Office access.
Jul 28 at 6:06am by admin
There was some other Loopt news last week that we didn’t fill you in on, but if you’re a fan you definitely need to know. First of all, Loopt has joined Facebook Connect allowing users of the mobile social network to bring their Facebook friends to their Loopt network. Not only will you be alerted when your Facebook friends are near, but you’ll also be able to share and find recommendations for nearby businesses, restaurants and other related points of interests. You’ll also be able to feed your location to your Facebook profile. It’s all permission-based of course, so how tightly you restrict your privacy is completely up to you. This is an excellent strategy on the part of Loopt because not only does it exponentially increase its own user base indirectly, but it aligns the service with one of the most popular social networks on the traditional web. The Facebook Connect integration will initially be available as an iPhone app when it debuts later this summer, followed by Blackberry support on the Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and Boost Mobile networks.
If you’re a Facebook junkie, chances are you’ve also tried microblogging service Twitter. You can already “tweet” as they call it, using Loopt on your mobile phone, but now each time you comment using Loopt on Twitter it will be followed by a link to a Google Maps-supplied map pinpointing your location. While this is definitely a useful new feature, more than anything it shows how user-focused Loopt’s developers are. How did the company know this was a wanted feature? They noticed Loopt users would often talk about it when messaging each other using Twitter.
Collectively, this integration of web-based social networks and Loopt will be called Loopt Link and we know for sure it will also include RSS subscriptions in the near future. What other web-based social networks would you like to see included?
Jul 28 at 5:05am by admin
Last time we mentioned location-based social network Loopt, they’d just released a 3G iPhone app in partnership with Yelp. Now the mobile startup, which helps you locate your friends and nearby points of interest, has announced something even bigger.
One of the biggest issues currently in scaling a network such as Loopt’s is to get buy-in from wireless carriers. Problem is, most are leary of paying the huge fees generated by having to access massive amounts of GPS data, something called doing the “dip”. Even Loopt CEO Sam Altman agreed “the economic model had to change”.
And now it has. Loopt has entered into an agreement with both SiRF and Qualcomm to access unlimited amounts of GPS data for a fixed fee. Not only does this knock down Loopt’s operating costs a great deal, but costs carriers a whole lot less to run the app on their supported mobile phones. Rumor has it that this deal has more behind it than just their social networking application. Apparently the company is also working on a location-based ad network which will be more accurate and successful as the GPS data it accesses increases. Now that Loopt will only pay a fixed fee, they’re free to run and develop some really innovative location-based services. I wonder if main competitor, Pelago, the maker of Whrrl, is worried yet?
Related Points Of Interest
Jul 27 at 12:12pm by admin
Garmin continues to dominate the North American PND market with a 55% market share, well ahead of TomTom’s 18%, Magellan’s 13%, Navigon’s 4% and Mio’s 3% in the 2nd quarter of 2008. Garmin has widened its gap significantly since the first quarter when it only had a 23% gap on TomTom, now a full 37%. Back at the end of 2007, they held only a 9% lead. Research group NPD says this is all thanks to strong sales of Garmin’s 2xx-series PND’s. This is great news for Garmin, a company who’s suffered big hits on Wall Street this year, shrinking profit margins, and poor consumer spending in the United States.
PND prices also continue to drop like weight off a fad-diet-of-the-week fanatic, now averaging US$236, a 33% drop from this time last year.
Jul 27 at 6:06am by admin
An iPhone 2.1 software update is on its way, providing a number of fixes for the buggy iPhone 2.0 software released in conjunction with the 3G iPhone. Of interest is an upgrade to the iPhone’s GPS that enables the phone to not only find your current location, but also determine your velocity and direction. Could this be the beginning of the rumored turn-by-turn navigation we’ve been expecting for the iPhone? Remember the iPhone SDK prohibits developers from offering apps utilizing turn-by-turn directions and Apple product manager Greg Joswiak felt the need to publicly refute the New York Time’s David Pogue’s claim that the Infineon receiver inside the new iPhone is too small to handle such advanced navigational applications. It seems all signs are pointing to a “yes” response to the above question.
If turn-by-turn navigation for the new iPhone eventually comes, it will be a devastating blow for standalone PND manufacturers such as Garmin and TomTom. While reviews for the GPS functionality of the 3G iPhone have been mixed so far, the inception of turn-by-turn navigation combined with the increasing number of developers writing apps for the iPhone could prove a deadly combo that’ll outdo anything PND makers could come up with on their own.
On a slightly different note is another iPhone development that could have applications relevant to the mobile phone’s GPS. AT&T is working on a web-based platform called Speech Mashups that recognizes your speech via a remote server which translates your speech into commands your iPhone can understand. This way, say if you’re driving, you can control the handset completely by voice command. Right now Speech Mashups only works with web-coded apps, but nothing native to the iPhone. For GPS users this isn’t so bad; most of the interesting GPS apps will come from outside developers anyway. But once a variety of navigational apps come to be, the ability to “interact” with your iPhone in a human way in order to help it help you find your way seems truly futuristic.
So far AT&T has made no promise of an actual official product launch for Speech Mashups; currently it’s more of a research project. But iSpeak, which is an actual iPhone app, also promises voice activation for the iPhone and it’ll work where Speech Mashups doesn’t-anything native to the handset in the first place.
And so the advancement of mobile navigation continues…
Jul 27 at 4:04am by admin
HTC’s popular Touch Diamond, a GPS-enabled handset, will get an exclusive edition of GPS navigation software maker ALK’s CoPilot Live 7 mapping software across the pond in Europe. It comes on DVD, and simply transfers from your PC to the Touch Diamond. It then automatically recognizes the handset’s built-in GPS receiver. A true “plug and play”-type solution. Specially configured for the Touch Diamond’s display, the CoPilot Live 7 maps allow you to zoom in and out for a closer, more detailed look. The new ALK software is now available in Europe, priced at £60 for maps of the UK and Ireland and £90 for maps of the entire European continent.