Garmin NuLink Service
Garmin’s first “connected” GPS, the Nuvi 1690 is due to arrive before to long and now we know the name of the service, Garmin “NuLink”. The connected nature of this GPS opens up quite a few feature possibilities. How will it compare to existing connected GPS competitors like the TomTom 740 LIVE and the TeleNav Shotgun? While we don’t have all the answers yet, we now have a good idea of the services you will be able to get.
Obviously, the Garmin NuLink service will come with Traffic reporting. We don’t yet know which traffic service might be bundled with Garmin NuLink, however my guess would be Navteq Traffic. This also means that instead of being in range of a transmitting FM station with traffic data, you now need to be in range of the cellular network, and more specifically a GSM network (ala AT&T, T-Mobile– not Verizon).
The MSN Direct service that Garmin has worked with in the past offered limited weather data, so this service shouldn’t come as a surprise either. The MSN service provides limited weather maps and severe weather alerts for the area you are in. So it is probably safe to assume the Garmin NuLink service will provide similar data. The current temperature of the local area will also be displayed in the mini icon bar at the top of the main menu. (They also show the connected status of the NuLink service, and signal strength in this bar as well.)
This has been a recent trend in GPS and it can be a handy service. If there are deep fluctuations in fuel prices around your local area, knowing current fuel prices via the GPS can be very handy. Occasionally the data can be out of date from any of these services, but it is generally good and can save you a few bucks over time.
We also now know that flight times will be part of the NuLink subscription service. We presume that this will be a simple lookup of flight status by airline and flight number. I don’t expect any further integration such as updating any sort of “am I early/late” if you are driving to the airport, but it will come in handy while sitting at airports which have “cellphone lots”.
Google Local Search
Finally, what connected GPS would be complete without an internet connected POI search? The Garmin NuLink service will be able to search Google Local to find local restaurants, ATMs, banks… you name it through Google Local. You will also be able to use Google Local to drill-down into categories and subcategories of locations instead of simply a text search.
While technically not part of the NuLink subscription, the new line of Garmin connected devices including the 1690 will again feature what we call an “active mount”. This means the power cable plugs into the mount instead of directly into the GPS. This is handy when you want to quickly remove the GPS from the mount as you don’t need to unplug the power cable as well. The hardware/antenna for the NuLink service appears to be within the GPS itself so it appears you wouldn’t need the mount or power cable to receive the NuLink data– however that detail isn’t confirmed.