updated 01:45 pm EDT, Thu September 3, 2009
New nüvi gets online search, social networking
Garmin on Thursday said it would soon begin shipping its latest portable navigator, the nüvi 1690. The device has a built-in wireless module that connects to Garmin's nüLink service which allows users to access Google local search as well as traffic, weather, fuel prices, movie listings, flight status and more information. They can also connect to Ciao!, Garmin's location-based social networking system. In the US, buyers will get two years of free nüLink access.
There is also an integrated white pages telephone directory and users can browse by category as well as typing text into a box. Results return a business address, phone number, popularity rating and description. Local events can also be looked up, as well as movie listings and up-to-date flight times. As expected, a traffic update feature informs users of any congestion.
There is also a comprehensive points of interest database from NAVTEQ that provides users with turn-by-turn, voice prompted instructions. A junction view helps users keep track of which lane to stay in at complex intersections.
Using the Ciao! network lets users find their friends and family and navigate to their location. The nüvi 1690 also has Garmin's ecoRoute feature, which can find the most fuel efficient route that may not be the shortest or quickest. Hands-free phone calls can be made thanks to the nüvi 1690's Bluetooth support.
Due for a US release before year's end, the nüvi 1690 will cost $500. After the two free years of nüLink! Service, subscribers will be billed $5 per month.