palmOne Unveils GPS Navigator

palmOne has introduced a GPS (global positioning system) navigation accessory for its Treo 650 and LifeDrive products, transforming the devices into portable navigation units that may be mounted on an automobile dashboard or taken anywhere else where a user wishes to be. The palmOne GPS Navigator offers up mapping and directions functionality with a real-time, nationwide traffic flow analysis feature that has beaten rival Microsoft to the market.

Units are powered by Navigator 5 software developed by TomTom -- a manufacturer of portable car navigation systems -- and atlas map data is provided by Tele Atlas.

When combined, TomTom software and Tele Atlas map data provide real-time location information, turn-by-turn directions, 2-D and 3-D maps and several million pre-programmed points of interest. Directions are audible for safer use while driving.


Palm has beaten rival Microsoft to the market with real time information about current traffic conditions. Microsoft's next-generation MapPoint technology will incorporate traffic and weather patterns.

Although it is primarily intended to be used within a car, Bluetooth connectivity makes the GPS Navigator versatile enough to be used in the great outdoors so more than one model will be made available to consumers.

A spokesperson suggested that the units would be ideal for a bike ride when BetaNews was given a demonstration at a press event in New York on Monday. The GPS receiver is compact enough to fit into a pocket or backpack.

"Accessories let customers turn their handheld computer or smartphone into a mapping solution, or give a powerful product a personality to match its owner or an activity," said Jim Schwabe, general manager of palmOne Accessories.

"The growing popularity of our accessories at the time of device purchase and after purchase show that people love to expand and extend the usefulness of their mobile-computing products."

The palmOne GPS Car Kit is slated for release in August for an estimated retail price of $249.99 USD. The Car Kit docks Tungsten E2 or Tungsten T5 handhelds. A redesigned GPS Navigator receiver will accommodate a wider breath or models and provides more portability. This model is scheduled to arrive in June and sells for the same price as the aforementioned Car Kit.

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