Navigon Adds Reality View to its 5100 and 7100 Portable GPS Units


The Digital Life trade show won’t hit New York till October, but the boys and girls at Ziff Davis had a small (but very crowded, might I add) preview on Thursday, which I’m just getting around to writing about today.

While it seemed like every other company there was tacking GPS onto its products, Navigon wants to distinguish itself. Its two new portable GPS units, the $499 5100 and the $649 7100, are ready for your “I’m lost, what do I do?” scenarios. The units both offer the same standard GPS features you’d expect to see nowadays like built-in places of interest (though with Zagat-supplied “how good is this place?” information, which is unique to Navigon) and text-to-speech (“turn right onto Main Street in 50 feet” not “turn right at intersection in 50 feet”). But it’s Navigon’s Reality View that merits the most attention.

Much like what Google did to get its Street View up and running, a crack team of hippies went around the U.S. and took pictures of busy intersections. When you approach such an intersection, rather than just showing a bland, nondescript map, the GPS device shows a digitized, Nintendo 64-like 3D render of the area. Above, my awful photography sorta shows this.

Both the 5100 and 7100 will be available online later this month.