Dedicated GPS brands have been facing stiff competition from GPS-enabled smartphones. In a case of "if you can't beat them, join them", Navman has launched its Smart Eco cloud service, which makes use of smartphones and tablets as companion devices.
The company also launched a 5in connected SmartGPS that is based on the Android operating system, albeit the outdated 2.3 Gingerbread version.
Users can search for addresses on their smartphones, tablets or computers and have the information synced to their SmartGPS over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi automatically.
When it is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the SmartGPS will update live information, such as traffic information, petrol prices, weather information and speed camera locations — including those of mobile speed cameras. These details can be updated when you're on-the-go through a limited sync over mobile hotspot. The information is cached for use when offline.
The SmartGPS generates localised recommendations and promotional offers — such as two for one coffee discounts — based on information gleaned from social networks Yelp and Foursquare. Navman has hailed the SmartGPS as "the first navigational device to integrate with social media platforms".
Navman Australia country director, Wendy Hammond, told Good Gear Guide the new device will be updated to support Facebook by the second half of 2014. She added updates to the device should be frequent as it operates on Google's Android software.
"Everything is now in the one interface with Navman SmartGPS, regardless of which device you used to find addresses," Hammond said.
"Data from different sources...are all also in the one place so there's no need to go in and out of apps. With the location-based Smart CloudEco, all the information sent to you is relevant to exactly where you are," she added.
The SmartGPS application also puts Navman's GPS software onto your Android or iOS smartphone. Navman representatives said the software features maps — and not turn-by-turn navigation. The application will support Android and iOS devices, with Hammond claiming the company has no immediate plans to support the Windows Phone platform.
The Navman SmartGPS app for iPhones
Navman's SmartGPS will be available from March 2014 from JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith and selected Harvey Norman stores. It will have a recommended retail price of $299.
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