Consumers’ embrace of smartphones is taking a bite out of many electronics categories—like point-and-shoot cameras, MP3 players, and GPS units. However, GPS maker Garmin is convinced there’s still a market for dedicated navigation systems, today announcing its new flagship nüvi 3500 GPS series.
The new 3500s have the ultra-thin form factor of the company's "prestige" range, while adding an inch of screen space, taking it up to five. As these are the new top-of-the-line, all the nav-goodies you could want, like the Guidance 3.0 nav engine, Digital 3D Traffic and photoReal junction view (covering some 60,000 junctions in the US and Canada), as well as compatibility with its latest Android app (3590LMT only), but more on this shortly. The 3550LM gets free lifetime map updates and will cost $369.99 when it launches in February. The Bluetooth enabled 3590LMT gets all the same, plus lifetime digital 3D traffic updates plus that Smartphone Link support for an extra $30.
Plus, the nüvi 3500 series will be compatible with Garmin’s new Smartphone Link app for Android, which enables Bluetooth-enabled Garmin navigation units to tap into services such as traffic information, traffic camera images, weather and fuel prices can be piped in via the app (and your cell data plan) instead of being bundled into the GPS itself at an extra cost. Makes sense. Prices for each service will vary, but range from $4.99 to $19.99 for a year's access. Even better for GPS users tired of being dinged for subscription services and fees just to keep using their devices—the price of Digital 3D Traffic service and free lifetime map updates are built into the device cost—no subscription required.