Garmin has taken the wraps off the iQue 3600a, a bundle of products designed to help pilots navigate.
At its heart is a Palm OS Handheld with a built-in GPS receiver.
To this, Garmin has added a cradle that mounts to an airplane's yoke. Instead of using a stylus for data input, users can put the handheld into the cradle and navigate using the dedicated Direct To, Nearest, Menu, Escape, Enter and directional rocker buttons -- giving it the same functionality as other Garmin aviation portables.
Also included with the iQue 3600a is a suite of navigational software.
"It's like flying with a portable MFD," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's director of marketing. "Pilots will fall in love with the rich color, the high-resolution display, the Sectional chart-like presentation, the terrain-mapping and obstacle-alerting functions, and the overall ease of use. They'll also have the peace of mind knowing that, when they snap their iQue 3600a into the smart cradle, they take to the skies with an enhanced awareness of surrounding terrain."
Unlike typical aviation navigation aids, the iQue 3600a continues to be useful once the user lands the plane and gets in a car.
This handheld will have all of the same features as Garmin's other handhelds, including the ability to handle route planning and give the user verbal and visual cues on when to turn.
The iQue 3600a will be able to automatically generate a route from the current location to any entry in the Address Book.
It will ship with maps of either selected U.S. or European cities. It will use the company's MapSource maps so many additional ones are available.
The heart of this setup will be a handheld that will run Palm OS 5 on a 200 MHz Motorola MXL ARM 9 processor. It will have 64 MB of RAM.
Of course it will come with the standard Palm OS apps, and will be able to run other software written for the Palm platform.
This handheld will be 5.0 by 2.8 by 0.8 inches and weigh 5.8 ounces. It will have a 320-by-480 pixel color display which measures 3.8 inches diagonally. It will have an SD slot for storing additional maps and a voice recorder.
The iQue 3600a will be available later this month. The suggested price is $1,099.
It will come with a USB HotSync cradle, the yoke-mount cradle, a GA27C external GPS antenna kit, an AC adapter, a 12-volt adapter, and additional software.
More information on the iQue 3600a is available on the Garmin web site.
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