The Bottom Line: Sony's new 4.3-inch touchscreen GPS with gesture-based commands like circles and swipes, the ability to determine your position when the device loses contact with the satellite and a SiRF Star III Chip.
The Catch: Radio traffic is a lot slower than IP delivered traffic reports from Dash Express.
Other NV-U83T features include a SiRF Star III GPS chip, live traffic updates via radio frequencies and text-to-speech capability for audible driving directions (including street names). Sony also implemented a new dash mount system that uses a redesigned suction mechanism and a layer of gel between the suction cup and the dash, which Sony claims the dash kit becomes easier to attach and less likely to fall off.
The gesture based commands are as simple as drawing circles or arrows on the screen, which allow for functions such as zooming in/out or bringing up a preset location as your destination.
The accelerometer-based positioning system is called POSITION Plus, and offers an approximate location in areas where the NV-U83T cannot connect to the GPS satellite. The accelerometers and pressure sensors are able to determine your rate of speed as well as the incline degree of any hills you may be driving on.
In addition to the gesture controls, the touchscreen interface has also been redesigned from the ground up, making creative use of the hardware. Dual View is now available on the NV-U83T, which splits the screen into a map view and a street view. The street view offers a visual look at the road, such as upcoming onramps, offramps and less-than-obvious streets. The map also lists businesses and services that can be found in the immediate area; should you ever need gas, or decide on a whim that you want a bite to eat, the map can place icons for nearby gas stations and restaurants on the screen.
The NV-U83T will start shipping in February for $500. Sony will also offer the NV-U73T for $350, which has a smaller screen and lacks the Bluetooth and POSITION Plus features.
SONY'S LATEST NAVIGATION DEVICES COMBINE NEW TECNOLOGIES AND UNQUE SAFETY FEATURES
LAS VEGAS (CES Booth # 14200), Jan. 6, 2008 - For drivers focused on ease-of-use, Sony Electronics is unveiling its latest nav-u™ personal navigation devices (models NV-U73T and NV-U83T).
These in-car portable systems contain navigation features that drivers have come to expect, such as text-to-speech voice commands and real-time-traffic capability. They also add new, Sony original safety features, such as the super suction cup mounting system.
"Our aim was to develop the easiest-to-use navigation devices to get you to your destination," said Brennan Mullin, vice president of marketing in Sony Electronics' Digital Audio and Imaging Division. "We are also focused on safety."
Sony's new super suction cup comes with both models. It is easy to mount on the windshield or dashboard, providing a tight, virtually unmovable attachment. Made with a flexible non-adhesive gel, it grips the rugged surface of the dashboard so the touch screen can be mounted closer for an easier reach.
Designed to stay put even in the most extreme temperatures, the super suction cup can also be easily removed and transferred to another vehicle.
Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone Calls
The high-end NV-U83T model adds another safety feature—Bluetooth technology—for making hands-free phone calls. With a built-in microphone, drivers can use voice commands to initiate calls via compatible Bluetooth-enabled cell phones. The nav-u system connects automatically so drivers can keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road.
With a large, 4.8-inch (screen size measured diagonally), 16 x 9 aspect ratio touch-screen display and ultra-thin footprint, this new model has a design similar to Sony's BRAVIA® LCD TV.
With anti-glare coating, it is easy to see the screen in any lighting conditions. With its high resolution, the device maintains a clear image even when the screen is split into two images.
This unique dual view feature helps drivers navigate visually so they don't have to rely solely on street signs. It zooms in and shows certain landmarks to help drivers make the correct turns at the right time. On the freeway, dual view shows a 3D rendition of the approaching intersection with lane guide information to let drivers know exactly where they need to be to negotiate the junction.
Low GPS Signal...No Problem
When the GPS signal is weak, the nav-u device will still be able to keep drivers headed in the right direction. Another unique feature, called POSITION Plus™, provides constant, more accurate positioning and assured interruption-free guidance. In addition to the SiRF Star III GPS chip, POSITION Plus includes a pressure sensor, gyro sensor and an acceleration sensor. The nav-u device uses these additional sensors to calibrate where drivers are so they can safely plan ahead and won't miss turns coming out of tunnels or from in-between tall buildings.
Touch Screen Shortcuts
Yet another unique new Sony function, gesture command, lets drivers jump to commands with one stroke on the touch-screen display, eliminating the need to dig down on the menu. If drivers want to go home, they just draw a roof (or inverted "V") and the destination becomes home. Other gesture command features include take me home, zoom in or out, call home, and user pre-set destinations.
The nav-u device is the first Sony portable navigation device to show brand icons for restaurants hotels, gas stations and stores. In addition to proactively selecting a point of interest, drivers will automatically see brand icons appear on the screen so it fast and easy to find favorite locations while driving in unfamiliar cities.
Text to Speech
Ready to use right out of the box, both nav-u devices help drivers map a destination, locate points of interest and find home again. Both models come with text-to-speech technology, which enables the voice prompts to actually say the name of the street or highway. A powerful speaker ensures that voice prompts are clear and audible.
The nav-u systems come with nearly 5 million points of interest, making it easy to find destinations nationwide. The devices come with U.S. and Canadian maps on their 2GB flash memory. Maps of Alaska, Canada, Hawaii and Puerto Rico also come pre-installed.
About as deep as a deck of cards, the new devices have a thin, portable design. They also come with a Memory Stick Pro Duo slot for future expansion capabilities.
The NV-U73T model comes with a 4.3-inch (screen size measured diagonally), 16 x 9 aspect ratio display. Its features include text-to-speech functionality, super suction cup mounting system and gesture command.
The NV-U83T device features all of this plus Bluetooth hands-free calling capability, the dual view feature, a larger display and POSITION Plus signal management.
Pricing and Availability
Pre-orders for the nav-u portable navigation devices are now being accepted at HYPERLINK "http://www.sonystyle.com/navu" www.sonystyle.com/navu. The devices are expected to be available in February direct at HYPERLINK "http://www.sonystyle.com" www.sonystyle.com, at Sony Style retail stores nationwide, at military base exchanges, and at authorized dealers around the country. The NV-U73T and NV-U83T models are expected to sell for about $350 and $500, respectively.