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.