Thursday, September 27, 2007

Budget in-car GPS runs Windows CE

Sep. 27, 2007Taiwanese device-maker Holux Technology has announced a low cost, in-car GPS system that runs Windows CE 5.0. The "GPSmile 55" features a 4.3-inch wide touchscreen and Bluetooth.(Click here for a larger view of the GPSmile 55)Holux says the GPSmile 55 is based on a Samsung S3C2440A processor clocked at 400 MHz. Its memory complement includes 64 of DRAM and 64 MB of flash, plus the option of expanding storage via an SD slot.The unit's resistive touchscreen display features 480 x 272 pixel resolution and an auto-backlight adjustment. And, while the company's data sheet provides no information about supported formats, the device is said to display not only maps, but also still pictures, video, and eBooks.The GPSmile 55 can pair with a phone to offer hands-free calling via Bluetooth, says Holux. In addition, purchasers get the expected speaker and 3.5-mm headphone jack, though a microphone is not listed.According to Holux, the GMSmile is also available with an optional Traffic Message Channel (TMC) module. Using the FM Radio Data System, this plays back only those audio alerts that are relevant to a user's present position. (TMC is currently broadcasting in several western European countries with others expected to come online soon, according to TMC Forum, the TMC trade association.)While Holux's data sheet does not name the device's GPS chipset, it is rumored to be the 20-channel SiRF starIII receiver found in a host of other handheld navigation devices. This seems likely, since SiRF's part is used in Holux's GPSmile 52, an otherwise-similar device that has a 3.5-inch screen.Key specifications that have been released by Holux include:
Processor -- Samsung S3C2440A, clocked at 400 MHz
Memory -- 64 MB DRAM; 64 MB flash
Storage expansion -- up to 2 GB via SD slot
Display -- 4.3-inch touchscreen TFT LCD, 480 x 272 pixel resolution
GPS receiver:
built-in antenna, plus MMCX connector for 2.8-V external antenna
20 parallel channels
Speed of operation:
reacquisition of signal -- 0.1 second average
hot start -- 1 second average
warm start -- 38 seconds average
cold start -- 42 seconds average
Other I/O -- mini-USB connector
Battery type, life -- 1150 mAh lithium-ion battery, 3-5 hours
Dimensions -- 4.7 x 3.2 x 0.9 inches (122 x 80 x 22 mm)
Weight -- 6.7 ounces (190 g)Holux has provided no software, pricing, or availability details. However, a likely indicator of cost is the fact that the earlier GPSmile 52 is currently available from various U.S. retailers for under $140.

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