New Handsfree Palm GPS Kit Announced

Palm has introduced another product in their rapidly-evolving personal GPS solutions lineup. Hot on the heels of last month’s GPS Navigator Smartphpone Edition 3 bundle, Palm has announced a new GPS Navigator Car Kit for the Treo 680 and Treo 700p models.

This new GPS solution eschews Palm’s previous usable-but-fiddly adjustable mounting bracket and separate Bluetooth GPS receiver in favor of a all-in-one solution with a GPS received integrated into a charging cradle with integrated speakerphone capabilities and improved charging capabilities. Given the sometimes unreliable nature of the Palm OS Garnet devices’ Bluetooth stack, this hardwired GPS solution looks to offer a faster, more reliable navigation experience.

Treo GPS Car KitFrom a hardware standpoint, this new cradle looks to have the same “innards” as the previous Bluetooth receiver (see review here), so performance with the SiRFStar III chipset should be excellent. The speakerphone portion of the cradle features DSP sound processing for noise cancellation. No word if there is an additional audio-out port to route through existing car stereos or speakers or if the user must use the integrated speaker.

The standard freebies — a pre-loaded 1gb mini card with full size SD adapter with the superb TomTom 6 software and the USB card reader/writer — are still included in the box.

You can read our review of the previous Palm GPS bundle and I also reviewed the latest TomTom software with updated maps recently.

Palm has attached a reasonable $299.99 MSRP to the bundle, with projected retail availability around the third week of April 2007.

Two curiosities still remain in regards to this new bundle:

Palm mentions the Treo 680 and 700p as the only devices compatible with this new GPS kit. The Windows Mobile-powered Treo 700w/wx and flagship 750 are curiously absent. This is despite the fact that the 700w/wx/p enjoy shared formfactors. The 680 and 750 are similar designs as well. Previous versions of the Palm GPS Navigator line shipped with both Palm OS and Windows Mobile compatible versions of the TomTom software in the box. Perhaps Palm is planning a separate bundle with enhanced software exclusively for Windows Mobile-powered Treos or a Windows Mobile Treo with integrated GPS capabilities in the near future?

Like the GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 3 package, Palm ships this bundle’s included TomTom software on a 1gb miniSD card with a full-size SD adapter. Yet Palm currently offers no Palm OS-based Treos with miniSD slots. Furthermore, Palm’s only current miniSD-enabled Treo is the WM 5/6-powered 750. This could be a sign of an upcoming but unannounced Palm OS-based Treo utilizing the Treo 750 formfactor.

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The mini-SD

Dera @ 3/27/2007 3:15:40 PM # Q
It could also be what TomTom is providing.

"Like the GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 3 package, Palm ships this bundle’s included TomTom software on a 1gb miniSD card with a full-size SD adapter. Yet Palm currently offers no Palm OS-based Treos with miniSD slots. Furthermore, Palm’s only current miniSD-enabled Treo is the WM 5/6-powered 750. This could be a sign of an upcoming but unannounced Palm OS-based Treo utilizing the Treo 750 formfactor."

RE: The mini-SD
hkklife @ 3/27/2007 3:45:10 PM # Q
Possible but unlikely. My GPS Navigator 2 kit came with a TomTom-branded fullsize SD card.

It's probably a change Palm requested. It's easier to omit a fullsize SD adapter in future boxes than it would be to have to mess with having essentially the same software on dual card formats.



Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

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TomTom navigator

a_nonamiss @ 3/27/2007 3:47:09 PM # Q
This is something that I've considered purchasing, but have wondered something that I think is reasonable important. What's the advantage of using this package over, say, this package:

http://www.tomtom.com/products/product.php?ID=259&Category=0&Lid=4

They both cost $300, they both have ugly, somewhat ungainly windshield mounts. Both use, from what I can tell, the same basic interface. I don't see any glaring differences in capabilities, except that the TomTom ONE seems to have a lot more features, and a bigger, easier to read screen.

So what's the motivation to pay for a unit that requires a phone to operate? As much as I consider myself a hardcore geek, I'm not a fan of "Let's do it because we can." I like the idea of having GPS on a Palm device, but it should be either a) substantially cheaper. b) more convenient or c) more features. This seems to be none of those, and I can't figure out why I'd want to have this on my Palm versus a standalone unit.

I'm not posting this to be snide or difficult, I'm just wondering if there's some justification out there that I'm not considering...

Arthur

Palm Pilot 1000 > Palm Pilot Professional > Palm III > Palm M100 > Sony Clié PEG-T415 > Palm T|T3 > Samsung SCH-i730 > Palm 700p

RE: TomTom navigator
freakout @ 3/27/2007 4:37:26 PM # Q
Having a permanent unit on the dash makes your car a magnet for thieves...
RE: TomTom navigator
batmon @ 3/29/2007 8:47:26 PM # Q
Good Point! I am so ready to buy this until you mention that TomTom one pretty much does the same thing. I think I will go with TomTom one instead.

RE: TomTom navigator
freakout @ 3/29/2007 10:03:36 PM # Q
You should also take into account the usefulness of having the TomTom software with you all the time - I've often used it for directions and map information when I didn't want to have to pay the data charges to use Google Maps. It's very handy having it on your phone.

Tim
I apologise for any and all emoticons that appear in my posts. You may shoot them on sight.
Treo 270 ---> Treo 650 ---> Crimson Treo 680
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