Yesterday Garmin revealed its 2012 line of Nuvi personal navigation devices (PNDs). Garmin (NASDAQ: GRMN) is simplifying its entire product lineup down to three tiers, plus it is upgrading its navigation and traffic engines.
Choosing the best nuvi for any given lifestyle has never been easier as the 2012 models are categorized as Essential, Advanced and Prestige. New to the 2012 line are the advanced Guidance 2.0 and 3.0 navigation engines for a faster, more intuitive user interface and enhanced features that result in Garmin’s most capable navigators yet.
This year’s rollout represents the first time the company has introduced all its products in one fell swoop, a company spokesman said. The usual practice was to push out a new model every few months, but the company found this confused customers, who could not tell which model in a store was the most recent.
The new practice will ensure only the newest models are on display at any one time. Older models for the most part will be pushed out of the market during blowout sales, he said. Garmin has even restructured its online store to segregate the older models from the newer versions.
Here’s how it all breaks down, according to PC Mag: the Essential tier, which consists of nüvi 30/40/50 series devices, will offer basic navigation, text-to-speech, and 3D maps, but not much else. A company spokesperson told us that the goal here is to offer the “Black Friday” special price year-round, in a clear reference to the past couple of years, where various $99 PNDs turned up at big box stores the day after Thanksgiving.
The Advanced tier, which launches with the nüvi 2405 and nüvi 2505, is where the real action begins. Advanced tier devices add the Guidance 2.0 navigation engine, which features faster routing and map displays, faster destination searches, and the ability to view and select businesses on the map instead of in a list of submenus.
A few of these models may also offer voice-activated navigation, but all will feature photoReal, a new, more realistic junction view that shows road signs and other road features for nearly 60,000 locations throughout the U.S. Guidance 2.0 devices in the Advanced tier also get 3D traffic. It checks traffic conditions 2 billion times per month across other Garmin nüvi owners, cell phone users, news stations, radio feeds, historical traffic data, and fixed traffic sensors, plus the company’s trafficTrends adaptive routing data.
Finally, the Prestige tier will feature the company’s high-end devices and Guidance 3.0, which adds myTrends for remembering favorite route destinations and figuring out where the driver is headed without having to program it in first. No word on whether they can also figure out what you want for dinner after work.
The Prestige line also includes Safe Texting, which lets you send and receive texts hands-free using your voice, plus Bird’s Eye, an upgrade of photoReal junction view that highlights the right lanes in complex highway interchanges from overhead instead of just in 3D. In addition, Prestige devices also get HD Radio-infused, digital 3D traffic, which offers updates every 30 seconds.
The 2012 Garmin Nuvi product line should be available in October 2011.