updated 02:10 pm EDT, Tue May 8, 2007
Panasonic Strada NVD905U
Panasonic on mid-Tuesday put the new Strada nav unit (known as the NVD905U) for frequent long-distance drivers. As with a few high-end GPS receivers, this entry chooses a 30GB hard drive over the DVD-only systems often found in cars. The storage is both faster than the optical format, Panasonic says, and gives a far richer map: in North America, the Strada covers 12 million points of interest as specific as individual ATM units. Especially detailed maps are provided for 86 US cities.
Media playback options are also more diverse than most DVD models, the company points out. Satellite radio receivers from either Sirius or XM can hook into the Strada for control. Sirius owners in particular can also view optional traffic warnings on the map. The system can also play a fifth-generation iPod's videos and other iPods' music directly from its 7-inch screen, play MP3 and WMA CDs, and turn the head end into a hands-free speakerphone through Bluetooth.
Panasonic's system fits into the double-DIN slots of most cars and should be available later in May for $1,800.