Philips returns to SatNav

Next month Philips will be returning to the personal navigation device market with a product range that claims to combine “the most comprehensive array of GPS-based navigation features with unrivalled portability”.

The Philips Personal Navigation System (PNS) series initially comes as three devices. They weigh just 0.16kg, measure 10cm long and less than 2cm wide, and feature a ‘smart cradle’ to be mounted on the car windscreen. When the navigation device is placed on this docking station all the main functions can be accessed through the docking station controls. Drivers can alter the volume, zoom in on map information and access the menu by means of large, easily visible buttons.

Philips regards this as more convenient and safer when driving than touch-screen operation. The docking station also incorporates a built-in amplifier and loudspeaker, which it says gives a clearer and (if required) louder description of the route and other information.

It’s also very easy to remove – simply lift it out of the docking station; no disconnection of wires or plugs required. That should cut down thefts (it is of course still functional when separated from the docking station) and its little sun visor can be folded down to act prevent the screen being damaged during transit.
Philips is pitching the PNS series at first-time buyers and others who are looking for navigation functionality combined with simple installation and straightforward operation.

The entry-level PNS 100, due next month, has preinstalled maps for a single country and the main roads of Europe.

The other two should be available in October; the PNS 120 has the same pre-installation but gets more memory so detailed maps of other Western European countries can be loaded from the supplied DVD. It also has a TMC receiver to warns of roadworks or traffic jams and suggests alternative routes.

The PNS 150 also gets TMC, comes pre-installed with detailed maps of all countries in Western Europe, and can be operated by a remote control.
There’s no word yet on price.

Philips used to sell high-end car navigation systems but sold all of its in-car entertainment business in 1999.