updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon April 2, 2012
Garmun makes in-car info system for 2013 Suzukis
Garmin branched out into in-car GPS and media systems for the first time Monday through a deal with Suzuki. "Most" 2013 model year Suzuki cars will get a 6.1-inch touchscreen interface that both covers the prerequisite GPS navigation as well as support for playing back from phones and iPods through USB, the aux-in jack, or Bluetooth. The system supports voice control to keep hands on the wheel, and smartphone links that include Pandora radio access for iPhone users and broader tools for gas, parking, traffic, and weather drawn from Android phones.
Using Garmin helps lower the practical price of GPS in the car: instead of needing a high-end custom system with map updates coming from the car manufacturer, users can just update the maps from an SD card like they would a stand-alone GPS device. Built-in storage also exists along support for a backup camera when present.
Navigation itself supports the usual lane assists and extras like speed warnings, although traffic is optional, not included as it often is with dedicated GPS units.
Neither Garmin nor Suzuki has said how much the in-car system will cost when it ships, but it's likely to carry a small premium relative to the price of the car. Garmin isn't the first dedicated GPS designer and is following TomTom, which has efforts such as Blue and Me in the Fiat 500, into reducing its dependence on the waning dedicated-but-removable GPS market as smartphones take over.