Help is at hand for those needing better directions, with New Zealand-based Navman and US-based TravRoute both launching new talking navigation products at CeBIT this week.
TravRoute also revealed it is ramping up its channel business by taking on Gosford-based Belkin as master distributor for its navigational software.
Managing director, Andrew McCrudden, said TravRoute had previously been supplied direct to retailers including Harvey Norman, Harris Technologies and AutoBarn.
The addition of a distributor would allow TravRoute to concentrate on software development, he said. Belkin would also launch new PDA and Bluetooth-based products using TravRoute software.
The other navigation product debuting at CeBIT was the Navman PiN Pocket PC, a fully-fledged Global Positioning System with integrated Pocket PC capabilties.
Navman Australia national sales manager, David King, said the new $1049 device gave directions by voice, thanks to a GPS receiver tucked in at the back.
A slightly larger version for use in cars, costing $1999, was launched in Australia about eight months ago and had just been released in its third version.
Sales of the car-based product have been fantastic, Sydney-based King said, although he declined to give numbers.
Buyers of the car product, he said tended to be older people who just wanted directions, while younger tech-savvy people would be more inclined towards the new, smaller product.
Sydney-based Brightpoint is master distributor for these car and personal navigation aids.
Resellers typically included high-end car audio dealers, specialist electronics retailers, and the Dick Smith Powerhouse retail stores.
Australia is the first country to get these map-based navigation products.
King claimed that New Zealand has no in-car navigation since its data providers were slower than their Australian equivalents at providing electronic map data.
Navman uses UBD and should new roads be built, upgrades are regularly available for $170, King said.
US-based TravRoute claims its Co-Pilot product is better thanTravman because its offers more detailed directions, according to Brian Summerville, head of Mona Vale-based reseller GPSOZ.
The Co-Pilot product, launched in Australia a year ago, has been selling to tech-minded consumers, or people who tour and need help with their directions.
The device works using pocket PCs and maps supplied by Cousins.
The software retails for $1000-$1300, including GPS capability, but the laptop or PDA is not included.