Motorola isn’t totally new to the GPS world– I’ve been seeing their devices popup from time to time in places like Stapes. But they’ve never really been that attractive or offered any compelling features. However at CES Motorola was showing off a few new GPS devices that just might offer something a little bit unique.
The first think you will notice about these devices is the super-widescreen display. The TN500 comes with a relatively standard 4.3″ widescreen display while the TN700 pictured comes with a 5.1″ display. They put the extra pixels to good use too… A passenger can be accessing the menu which displays on one side of the screen while the driver continues to glance at the moving map, still visible on the other side of the screen. That is pretty unique and a fresh way to look at it, though probably not a sole reason to go out and buy one of these devices. The devices are very sleek looking too– perhaps the most visually appealing GPS devices I’ve seen built.
Both devices come with Bluetooth and it is the implementation of Bluetooth that allows these devices to do some interesting things. Want to phone a contact in your addressbook? You can speak the name you want to call and the device will search for that name among the contacts in your phone… that’s pretty cool.
But more interesting is a feature dubbed MotoExtras. Using technology from Airbiquity, the GPS can use your phone to dial special numbers and get access to Flight status updates, Local fuel prices, Local weather information, and internet based POI searches. However unlike other similar services that might utilize the data plan on your phone, this technology has the GPS telling your phone to place a phone call to a service number and download the data through the audio response. So it is using your phone, but no data service is required– it simply uses your minutes. (Traffic data still comes from RDS-TMC style feeds.)
Pricing information isn’t available yet, although the Motorola reps we spoke with indicated they would be “competitive to other high end, premium GPS devices”. Hmmm… looks like you will have to save a few pennines wherever the price lands.