Garmin's New Nuvi 500 GPS Does Driving, Walking, Boating Nav in One Unit

Garmin has just announced a new member of the Nuvi GPS range, the 500 series. In a first for Nuvi, the rugged, waterproof 500 units are specifically designed to be multipurpose, with maps for driving, walking, cycling and boating built in. For out-doorsy types, there's a shaded digital elevation map option, and a dedicated compass page and tracklog. Plus the battery is a swappable 8-hour Li-ion type, so you can carry a spare for extended trips away from a power source. The 500 comes with City Navigator, and topographic maps of the US, while the 550 has highway coverage of the US and Canada, but no topographic data. The units are on show at the British International Motor show in London form today, and go on sale soon in the US for $499. Press release below.

SOUTHAMPTON, England, July 22

Garmin the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced its first multi-use nüvi portable navigation device (PND) dedicated to walking, cycling, scootering, driving and boating in one rugged easy-to-use unit. The nüvi 500 series comes equipped with the latest technology from Garmin including NavTeq sophisticated mapping data and the ability to accept different types of mapping including TOPO for outdoor navigation and Blue Chart cartography for marine usage.

Clive Taylor, Garmin's Director of Product, said, "The nüvi 500 series is a true chameleon in the gadget world, it extends the use of GPS across the range, from walking to cycling to driving to boating. It's ideal for individuals or families who want to go and explore the great outdoors in every way they can. With the built-in compass and integrated Wherigo(TM) and Geocaching player the sat-nav's use is extended beyond just navigating: Users can enjoy the fun of the many family treasure hunts and adventures available online."

The new waterproof nüvi 500 series combines the latest Garmin navigation technology including Hotfix(TM), detailed NavTeq mapping, millions of points of interest (POIs) and traffic avoidance compatibility, for the times when sitting in a traffic jam is not an option. In addition, the nüvi 500 series comes standard with Garmin's popular "Where am I?" safety feature. At any time, with a single tap of the car icon, drivers can display their exact latitude and longitude coordinates, the nearest address and intersection, and the closest hospitals, police stations, fuel stations and recovery service telephone number. In addition, with Garmin Connect Photos, users can choose from millions of geo-located images provided by Google's Panoramio to photo-navigate on land or water.

With one touch, the nüvi 500 transitions between walking, biking, driving or boating mode;

Walking and outdoor pursuits

Ready for the great outdoors, the nüvi 500 models display shaded digital elevation mapping on the 3.5" water-proof touchscreen. This series comes standard with a compass page, track log and a removable, rechargeable battery for extended outdoor use. The integrated Wherigo(TM) and Geocaching player means the nüvi 500 series is ideal for getting the family to enjoy the great outdoors with the many downloadable 'adventures and treasure hunts' available online. Optional TOPO mapping will give additional detailed maps.

- Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. Use GPS technology to guide you to physical locations and interact with virtual objects and characters. http://www.wherigo.com

- Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game where individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, the visitor may be provided with a wide variety of rewards, all a visitor has to do is ensure that if rewarded, they leave a gift for the next person who finds the cache. http://www.geocaching.com

Cycling/scootering

Where the nüvi 500 series stands out is in its ability to fit comfortably on a scooter or bicycle. Its user interface is easy to control and, with directions via Bluetooth and a scooter mount as standard in select European markets or optional extra everywhere else, it's a great fit for getting around the busy town centres of Europe. The nüvi 500 series has a rugged design with UVA/B & fuel resistant material and bright clear screen that can be seen even in strong sunlight. If the weather turns and the rain comes down, its waterproof body ensures that the turn-by-turn directions get you to your destination using the most direct route and in the quickest time.

Driving

The nüvi 500 series' intuitive interface greets you with two simple questions: "Where To?" and "View Maps." Touch the colour screen to easily look up addresses and services and get voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions to your destination. It comes preloaded with City Navigator(R) NT map data European region or individual country. It's packed with millions of POIs and features digital elevation maps that show you shaded terrain contours at higher zoom levels. With the nüvi 500 series, you can also upload custom POIs such as 'The Good Pub Guide' and 'Falk-Marco Polos Travel Guide' offering thousands of great places to drink, eat and visit.

Boating

When loaded with optional BlueChart(R) g2 Vision marine cartography, the nüvi 500 series is great on the water, providing detailed chart-specific information, spot soundings, inter tidal zones, wrecks, port plans, restricted areas and more. The nüvi 500 is ideal for the occasional boating enthusiast who wants one navigational device for foot, car, bike or boat.

The nüvi 500 and 550 for Europe come preloaded with either country-specific City Navigator NT Map Data (500) or full European City Navigator NT Map Data (550) with detailed street and topographic mapping.

The nüvi 550 will be available in the UK in September at a RRP of GBP299

See the Garmin nüvi 500 series on Stand N118 - British International Motor Show at ExCel, London - 23 July - 3 August 2008: http://www.britishmotorshow.co.uk

[GPStracklog]