The ultimate in hands free navigation?
If there is one area where GPS has yet to fully take off it is – perhaps rather surprisingly – voice command, so all hail Magellan.
Today the company has announced its ‘Maestro’ line comprising three units: the 4050, 4040 and 4010. All sport 4.3in widescreen WQVGA touch screen displays, the ubiquitous SiRF Star III GPS chip, POI and speed camera databases, integrated antennas and ‘QuickSpell’ – a form of portable spell check – to reduce errors during text input.
The headliner grabber here however is obviously the voice control and all three will enable the user to speak to plan journeys, adjust settings, alter the route while travelling therefore removing the need to take one’s eyes off the road and reduce the likelihood of an all mighty smash.
The difference between the models is that the 4050 carries real time traffic services and Marco Polo sight seeing information as well as full European maps, the 4040 loses the traffic alerts while the 4010 loses both and contains on partial European mapping.
The entire line will debut next month for 449 euros, 349 euros and 299 euros respectively and while I suspect it may be one of the first voice operated GPS series, it certainly won’t be the last.
That said, I have to wonder how the units differentiate between device instruction and passenger conversation:
”Driver 1:” You agree?
”Driver 2:” Oh yes, you’re right
”Magellan:” *Beep* TURN RIGHT
”Driver 1:” No not YOU dumbass!
”Magellan:” *Beep* Looking up streets called ‘Dumbass’ *Beep* No streets found matching ‘Dumbass’
”Driver 1:” Stop it!
”Magellan:” *Beep* Cancelling route
”Driver 2:” Sweet device
”Driver 1:” *sigh*
…I’m sure it works better than that. Hopefully.