Garmin Announces Less Expensive GPS-Enabled Pocket PC

by Reads (15,626)

The iQue M5, which Garmin introduced earlier this year, includes a lot of accessories that push its price up to $750.

This company has just announced plans to release the iQue M3, a second GPS-enabled Pocket PC with a somewhat lower price.

GPS Functions

For its GPS functions, this handheld will use the same interface as Garmin’s StreetPilot C series. This will offer in-car navigation capabilities with automatic route calculation to any destination.

Users will be able to see where they are on an electronic map, look up an address or point of interest, and route to it. The software will offer a three-dimensional navigation view, or the more traditional “bird’s eye” overhead view.

An integrated speaker will give voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions to the destination.

A built-in basemap of North and South America will show major highways, thoroughfares, railways, lakes, rivers and borders. Garmin will include its MapSource City Select CD as a standard accessory, so users can download detailed street-level map data, look up nearly six million points of interest (POIs), and navigate to addresses throughout the U.S. and Canada.

World travelers will be able add a European or Pacific Rim basemap from the installation CD, but they will have to purchase detailed maps separately.

The GPS antenna on the iQue M3 will fold flush with the back of the unit. Garmin has patented this device’s antenna release switch that simultaneously powers up the device, initiates the satellite-acquisition sequence and launches the navigation software. The antenna will be adjustable for optimal GPS signal reception.

Unlike the more expensive iQue M5, this model won’t come bundled with a car cradle.

Pocket PC Functions

The iQue M3 will be more than just a GPS receiver, though. It will be a full-fledged Pocket PC running Windows Mobile 2003 SE on a 312 MHz Intel XScale processor.

Garmin iQue M3 It will have 64 MB of RAM and an SD slot for additional storage.

Unlike Garmin’s earlier model, it won’t include Bluetooth. The M3 also won’t have Wi-Fi, but its SD slot will support SDIO cards, so wireless networking functionality can be added.

This handheld will have a 3.5-inch, 240-by-320-pixel display that will support both portrait and landscape modes.

The iQue M3 will be 5.0 inches high, 2.8 inches wide, and 0.74 inches thick. It will weigh 5.9 oz.

Garmin says its 1,250 mAh swappable battery will last for 5 to 7 hours of continuous PDA/GPS use on a single charge.

Pricing and Availability

Although the iQue M3 will cost less than its predecessor, it will be far from cheap. The suggested price will be $500.

Garmin says this Pocket PC will go on sale before the end of this month.

Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

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