updated 09:20 am EDT, Thu May 7, 2009
Garmin GPS with 3.2MP cam
Garmin on Thursday announced the upcoming release of the Oregon 550 and Oregon 550t touchscreen handheld GPS devices, unique in that they offer a 3.2-megapixel camera, complete with geotagging capabilities. The autofocus camera has a 4x digital zoom and stores images on the device's 850MB of built-in storage space, Other common features include a 3-inch touchscreen viewable in direct sunlight, a 3-axis compass and a waterproof design.
A microSD card slot allows users to expand the integrated storage and quickly share photos with other devices. A USB cable is included with the devices, and the interface allows for quick downloads of photos to a computer and for uploading them to Picasa.
Among the extras, City Navigator mapping provides detailed street maps, "millions" of points of interest, and turn-by-turn driving directions. There is also an Auto Nav kit consisting of a suction mount and car charger. A TOPO US 24K DVD or microSD card adds 1:24,000 scale USGS-like maps that provide terrain contours, elevations, summits, routable roads and trails, parks, coastlines, rivers, lakes and geographical points. For navigation on the water, the BlueChart g2 maps give depth contour, navaids and harbors information. Finally, the devices are compatible with Garminís heart-rate monitors and speed/cadence sensors, while a bike handlebar mount lets riders view their speed, distance, elevation and location.
Power comes from a pair of AA batteries, with a pair of NiMH rechargeable sticks and a charger included. A carabiner clip for the device is also included.
The difference between the two devices is in the Oregon 550t's inclusion of preloaded 100K topographical maps for the US in a 3D elevation perspective. The Garmin Oregon 550 will be priced at $500, while the Oregon 550t costs $600; neither has been given an exact release date.