Tagged With suna

TomTom's HD Traffic service has finally arrived in Australia with the launch of four new 'Go Live' in-car GPS devices starting at $299. (Yes, they've also updated the TomTom iPhone app). And unlike the Suna traffic service used by Garmin and Navman, TomTom uses a built-in SIM card (not FM) to track and update user data, official incident reports, and real time traffic flows. HD Traffic also works in both metro and regional areas.

SUNA traffic updates are fairly common in portable GPS navigation devices, but not as common with the built-in head units. That's changed a bit today, with Clarion announcing it will be sporting the Intellematics traffic channel in its new range of devices launching in April.

The SUNA traffic channel is now in pretty much every high end satnav on the market, but it turns out what we've seen so far is just "phase one". This week the company behind SUNA, Intelematics, has taken the lid off phase two, and it means a big improvement over traffic accuracy.

One thing the iPhone's multitude of proper satnav apps don't offer is live traffic updating from the SUNA traffic channel. If you have a dedicated satnav with traffic support, you can now avoid traffic in Canberra comfortably. And not just by getting the hell out of Canberra...

The iPhone may not have a turn-by-turn navigation option yet, but that doesn't mean you can't stay up to date with the latest traffic information on your iPhone. The SUNA traffic channel - the same company behind the TMC traffic updates on all the high-end satnavs in Australia - has recently launched a version for the iPhone called Traffic Australia, which offers real-time updates on traffic for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

It's been a year since Intelematics launched their SUNA traffic channel in Melbourne - since then it's been extended to Sydney and Brisbane and is available on six of the top satnav manufacturers units. Wait... better make that seven brands, with today's announcement that selected Uniden satnavs will now play friendly with the SUNA traffic channel.

The Uniden Trax 436 is SUNA compatible straight out of the box. Considering it has an RRP of $500 and comes with bonus mapping for all of New Zealand, it actually sounds like a pretty good deal. At the moment it isn't clear whether or not any other models are traffic-compatible with an external TMC antenna, but it would surprise me if they weren't.

In any case - more satnav options with Traffic is a great thing no matter which way you look at it.

Satnavs have been fairly stagnant feature-wise since the SUNA traffic channel launched in Australia - each company has their own version of the same thing, so ultimately it comes down to a UI or design choice on the part of the consumer. But the new Go 730 and 930 from TomTom looks to change that with their iQ Routes technology.

Essentially, it analyses every possible route and works out the fastest trip, not necessarily the shortest, depending on speed limits, roundabouts, traffic lights and other stuff that will slow you down. Then it will recommend which route will take the least amount of time.

In addition to this new tech, both the 730 and the 930 let you enter your destination address by voice - simply say where you want to go, rather than keying in the details. The 930 stands apart thanks to the inclusion of world mapping (meaning you don't need to pay extra for maps on your driving trip around New Zealand (or Ireland, Europe, the US etc.) and a Bluetooth remote control.

Both models will be hitting shops in November, with the 730 costing $549 and the 930 going for $849. Or, if you want traffic straight out of the box, you can get a version of each for an extra $100.

Intelematics, those traffic-lovin' Victorians who created the SUNA traffic channel for your satnav, are bringing their traffic updates to digital radio when it launches in May next year.

While the service won't be anywhere near as comprehensive or practical as the navigation built-in to your satnav (which lets you reroute to avoid congestion), this service will instead act more like the traffic updates you get from the radio already, except in text form on new DAB+ radios.

It won't cost anything to the user, so long as they have one of these new radio receivers in their car. And while most people aren't going to head to the local auto shop and buy a new radio for their car, within a few years pretty much all the new cars will come standard with these new radios, meaning traffic information will be readily available for people who own shiny new cars.

Actually, even though this is a pretty cool service for digital radio (which is almost certainly going to struggle to gain traction here), it'd still be cheaper to just buy a traffic-enabled satnav...

Mio has come out all guns blazing with the release of three new satnavsfor the Australian market. They all look exactly like the Moov 380 we saw from the US back in June, although none of these local models have a built-in SIM card slot to let you make calls from the device.All the new models are using Navteq maps, which (I believe) is a first for a dedicated device in Australia (I'm sure you'll let me know if I'm wrong). There's also a cool tech called instant GPS fix, which recalibrates the expected position of the satellites in the sky every three days to get your position quicker. Plus, each of the new models has a 2 year warranty.The entry level Moov 300, which will have an RRP of $349, has a large, 4.3-inch widescreen display. They've rejigged the interface as well, so you get large icons (like TomTom and Garmin devices). There's text to speech (so it reads out street names for you), which is a nice addition to an entry level unit.But it's the mid and high-range units that make the new Moov range interesting.

The biggest thing holding satnavs back in this country has been a lack of real-time traffic information. Even though Intelematics launched the SUNA traffic channel in Melbourne last year, the other capital cities haven't had the same luxury.

It looks like all that's about to change, however. I received an invite to the official launch of Sydney and Brisbane's first real-time traffic information service. It's an extension of the Melbourne SUNA offering, which is currently supported by most of the major satnav providers (albeit via an optional extra antenna, in most cases).

They're also promising to announce some new local partnerships at the launch event, which happens on August 13. We'll be there, so stay tuned for updates then.