New Personal Navigation Devices from Clarion are out, and they are the first PNDs capable of mapping buildings, landmarks and elevation changes in 3D. The devices are the MAP780 (available in Europe) and MAP680 (available in UK & Ireland). One of my favorite features turns buildings transparent as you get closer, helping you see around the corner and down the street. If you are vaguely familiar with your landscape, or if you use landmarks to help you navigate, this feature can be helpful. Elevation information is laid into the application allowing for the rendering of shadows, roads, and bridges at their correct height. For commercial truckers, knowing this kind of information in advance can help a great deal. Iâ€™d like to see Clarion or others in the personal navigation space developÂ a LBS application to provide enhanced landscapes with pertinent stores, gas stations, etc. in addition to the buildings. Who hasnâ€™t traveled an unknown city wondering where stuff is?
But thereâ€™s more â€¦
Clarionâ€™s product also has comprehensive lane information. It can show you all lanes available (rendered in 3D) with your route highlighted. Their latest PNDs are Bluetooth-enabled allowing for text messages to be displayed on-screen. Users also have access via touch-screen to a paired phone or PDA, audio streaming (A2DP), and a MP3/WMA playback via a built-in music player. An entertainment suite includes features such as a movie player, which lets users download up to 4GB of MP4 video via MMC or SD card, and a digital photo album where pictures can be uploaded via SD card or the built-in USB port. The interoperability is cool, as is the 3D aspect of the device.
I still get the sense that this latest PND is more utilitarian and practical then cutting edge, but maybe thatâ€™s where we are right now. I mean a kid can dream right?