zumo navigation device for motorcycles

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July 20, 2006 Just when we figured the established GPS navigation systems had given up against the Tom Tom juggernaut in the motorcycle market, Garmin has announced the debut of zumo, a new from-the-ground-up design that even at a distance has some commendable features that indicate it’s more than just a ruggedised automotive unit. Firstly, the oversized touchscreen buttons can be operated with gloved paws and secondly, the thing is designed so it can be used with the left hand while your right hand keeps the go-juice flowing. There’s also display which can be easily read in sunlight, a Bluetooth “hands-free-to-helmet” wireless technology capability, and a rugged, dependable locking mount. The Zumo is expected to be available in October 2006.

Zumo boasts a 3.5-inch (diagonal) high-bright, sunlight readable touchscreen display, encased in a waterproof (IEC 529 IPX-7 standards) housing made of plastics that resist damage from fuel splashes and UV light. In addition to the touchscreen, it has four dedicated left-handed buttons for quick input. Zumo is equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, which acquires and maintains a GPS signal even in heavy foliage or “urban canyons” created by city skyscrapers. The navigator also features solid state memory, which mitigates the effects of vibration, shock, cold, heat and displays and redraws maps faster. Zumo is secured to the motorcycle with a locking mount that has waterproof power and data cable connections and is able to withstand the severe vibration environment commonly experienced in motorcycle riding. A rechargeable user-removable lithium-ion battery (three hour typical use) is integrated into zumo for trip planning or use on foot.

Bluetooth capability makes it possible for riders to retrieve and dial numbers using a supported phone’s contact list or from the phone’s call history log. A user can also make calls from zumo’s huge points of interest database that includes hotels, restaurants, stores, and much more. In addition, the Bluetooth connectivity also gives motorcyclists the ability to receive and place phone calls as well as receive turn-by-turn voice prompts wirelessly to Bluetooth enabled headsets or helmets. More than 200 Bluetooth phones are supported.

Zumo features a 10-thousand point tracklog, allowing users to record even the longest of rides and the included MapSource DVD even lets motorcyclists relive a memorable tour on their home computer through the 3-D Google Earth interface. Riders can also plan upcoming trips on their computer, and swap routes and waypoints with other zumo owners via the unit’s SD card slot.

Users can also access zumo’s trip computer page for trip information like speed, heading, and a customizable fuel gauge that allows users to define their motorcycle’s maximum fuel range. When zumo calculates that the motorcycle is low on fuel, it automatically reminds the rider and suggests a route to a nearby gas station. Zumo even has a compass page and accepts electronic topo maps -- making it the ultimate off-road navigator. For those long trips, riders can stay entertained with zumo’s built-in MP3 player.

Zumo comes pre-loaded with full North American data, and includes millions of points of interest – places like hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and attractions. Full and partial European map versions are also available. Zumo gives turn-by-turn directions via multiple language and gender voice guidance with spoken street names and either 3-D or 2-D maps. The map data is provided by NAVTEQ, a world leader in premium-quality mapping. The device also allows customers to load customized points of interest (POIs) such as safety cameras and school zones, and zumo is compatible with Garmin’s Tour Guide – a free utility that allows users to build and upload a database of POIs that are encoded with photos and MP3 files. For added versatility, zumo is also compatible with Garmin Travel Guides, and SaversGuide.

Real-time traffic is an option through either an FM RDS-TMC (Traffic Message Channel) traffic receiver or XM NavTraffic (U.S. only) receiver. When the optional traffic service is activated, zumo calculates routes that navigate around traffic. Accidents, road construction, or other incidents affecting traffic are graphically represented as icons on the navigation map. Information relating to a traffic incident is also available including the precise location, lanes affected, and the predicted duration. Customers selecting the XM NavTraffic receiver can also access XM’s weather forecasts, current conditions, and county warnings as well as over 170 channels of XM Radio.

Riders can personalize zumo to match their particular bike’s color scheme and attitude with custom caps. Silver and black caps come standard with the unit, and others are available on the Garmin website. Owners can also customize zumo’s opening splashscreen to depict a one-of-a-kind photo with the help of the unit’s jpeg picture viewer. And because even the most dedicated rider sometimes travels by car, zumo comes with an automotive mount and speaker – making the unit ideal for virtually any type of road trip. Zumo is also equipped with Garmin Lock, an anti-theft system that disables the unit until the owner types in a specific 4-digit PIN or takes the unit to a predetermined secure location.

Anyone attending the MotoGP U.S. Grand Prix this weekend can see zumo firsthand at the Garmin booth (#77) at the Laguna Seca Raceway infield, located between turns two and three.

Zumo comes with pre-loaded City Navigator NT map data and companion DVD-ROM, a motorcycle mount and mounting hardware with 12/24 volt power cable, an automotive mount with 12v cigarette lighter power cable, carrying case, logo stickers, AC charging cable, dashboard adhesive disk, USB interface cable, owner’s manual on disc, and quick reference guide.

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