I’m going to go back in time to about a decade ago. I rented a car for CES 2008, and for some extra money, I could get a GPS unit. This was back in the days before everyone had a smartphone, and the unit that I was using was quite huge, too big for the glovebox. This was the days when companies like Garmin and TomTom were making a killing, and I thought that had ended when Google put their Maps up for free. Clearly, this is not the case as I have recently reviewed TomTom’s GO 52.
Just opening the packaging really took me back, even though the GO 52 looked like your average smartphone. Granted, it was one with an easily reversible mount, but you can see in the image what I am talking about.
The GO 52 is set up for Wi-Fi, but if you don’t have one of those cars that is also a Wi-Fi hotspot, don’t worry. You can link your smartphone to the GO 52 thanks to the MyDrive app.
Not only will you get all the functionality of a GPS device, but this device will allow you to hear your text messages from your smartphone. This way, you can keep your eyes on the road and not on your device.
Oh, and if you want to access Siri or Google Now, you can do that. As it so happens, the TomTom GO 52 has a built-in microphone.
Now, just to let you know, this device only has one hour of battery life. I guess some cuts had to be made somewhere, but there is a charging cord and charger with your purchase.
You can purchase the GO 52 on the TomTom site for a price of $179.99.
This is Chipolo, and I just covered a product just like it, and just click the “Previous” tab (assuming it is there) to get it. The Chipolo can be attached to anything like keys, pets, backpack, and syncs with Bluetooth.
The Chipolo sounds like some kind of Mexican dish, but it is a definite tracking app that works with some ringing. In fact, you can shake the Chipolo in order to find the device that is connected to.
It is a range of 200 feet or 60 meters, and has a community search by locating on a map. It has a battery life of about 6 to 12 months, and this device has a replaceable battery that comes with it.
The Chipolo comes in nine fun colors, and there is a new feature that allows for tracking the same Chipolo on two phones at the same time. Then there is this last feature that allows for shaking the Chipolo to take a selfie.
You can get the Chipolo for $29.99 on the official site.
I’m going to review two devices today that pretty much do the same thing, and the TrackR Bravo is one of them. The Bravo is the size of that 50-cent piece that you see there, and it allows for tracking any lost or misplaced item.
This is possible with an application and it displays the distance between you and the item, whether it be a keys or a pet. Yeah, this TrackR bravo can be put on just about anything, and with a tap of a finger on the app, the bravo will ring so finding the product will be simple.
If you can’t find a phone, hit the TrackR device to ring the phone, even on silent. Also included is a GPS network when you find it with 100 foot range, and there are separation alerts to when you leave an item behind. This application has a serious map, which is quite helpful for trying to find whatever it is the TrackR is attached to.
This is quite an amazing product, and it can be bought at a very inexpensive price. One device costs $29.99, with 3 with 2 free for $89.99, and buy 5 and get 5 free for $149.99. It is available on the TrackR site.
Remember those days when people had stand-alone GPS devices in their cars? That all changed when people could get map apps on their smartphones. Unfortunately, these types of apps led to all kinds of distracted driving accidents, which leads to the now-obvious solution of the Navdy.
The Navdy is a heads-up with a tiny projector on a 5.1 inch transparent screen. You can put the Navdy on your dashboard, and still read the information on it while you are looking through it.
With the Navdy, you can use your favorite apps from your iOS or Android smartphone. As an added bonus, the Navdy has an option of gesture and vocal controls so you can answer a phone call, send a tweet, and even send a text.
The Navdy is trying to achieve funds privately, and I don’t seem to have a Kickstarter or Indiegogo page for it. You can find out more about it here, and even pre-order it for a price of $300. Check out the video after the jump.
Remember a few years ago how the standalone GPS market was doing pretty good, with Garmin and Magellan being the leaders? Oh, those were the times, before every smartphone had a mapping App, at least more than one.
Garmin is still around, and it is cool to see that they are responding to the threat of distracted driving. This Hud, or heads-up display, sits on a vehicle’s dashboard and project the direction you will need to go and when you will need to do it.
That is a lot better than just viewing it on your smartphone, and puts that the numbers that you want in a place where you need to look at them. As a bonus, the HUD has an integrated USB port so you can keep your smartphone plugged in.
I am not certain whether these Garmin HUD’s are set to sweep the nation, but it will become available this summer for $129.99.