One of the most popular sellers of navigation and smartphone GPS software is buying one of its strongest competitors. Garmin has announced today it has signed an agreement with Navigon AG to acquire the privately held company.
“This acquisition is a great complement to Garmin’s existing automotive and mobile business. Navigon has invested significantly in the European automotive OEM business, and we feel that we can rapidly expand our automotive OEM footprint and capabilities through this transaction,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and COO.
“With Navigon, we are also acquiring one of the top-selling navigation applications for the iPhone and Android platforms – something that we expect will help drive revenue for the combined company going forward. Combining Navigon’s and Garmin’s strength also improves our competitiveness and standing particularly in Europe.”
The deal will require regulatory approval. Garmin is headquartered in Switzerland, with a large US presence. Navigon is based in Germany.
It will be interesting to see how the two companies combine, especially for fans of the Garmin and Navigon apps. The Garmin StreetPilot app requires over the air downloads for maps as you travel. The Navigonfamily of apps have all maps self-contained, but the software uses a data connection for destination related Google searches and weather. It isn’t known yet if the Navigon name will vanish, or be retained.
The Garmin iPhone app has not been as
It will be difficult to charge your iPhone after the zombie apocalypse destroys the power grid, but a new product from TES NewEnergy Corporation can make topping off your battery as easy as heating up a can of SpaghettiO’s over an open fire.
The company has created the Hatsuden-Nabe, a US$278 cooking pan with a built-in USB port and a thermoelectric device to turn wasted heat into power. As the company notes, the heat of a wood campfire could reach over 900°F, but water requires only 212°F to boil so a lot of the extra heat is either retained in the pot or escapes to the atmosphere, wasted.
The cooking pan converts some of that waste heat into power that is then used to charge up your electronic gizmos. An iPhone can be fully charged in just 3 to 5 hours.
Since every minute counts when attempting to escape a zombie attack, the Hatsuden-Nabe could be just the thing to keep you moving. Competing solar chargers take longer to do their job and are dependent on bright and constant sunlight. This charger pot can also let you cook up some stew or brew a nice cup of tea to energize you for the next round of zombie-slaying. All attempts at bad humor aside, this actually is a rather good idea for an emergency or camping kit.
There’s no word on when the Hatsuden-Nabe will be available outside of Japan.
The iPad is certainly one of the most well-known devices in the world. A possible prototype has been spotted at Display Taiwan that seems to be of a 3D-capable iPad.
The device, which was spotted at CPT (a display vendor’s) booth, has the Apple logo and all the iPad-related wording covered up with duct tape, although the iPad’s form factor, the aluminum back casing and the iconic connection plug made the device immediately recognizable.
Aside from 3D support, there were no clear differences between the current shipping version of the iPad and this prototype. 3D, however, seems to be fully functional on the device, although it required glasses, a requirement Apple would probably never accept on a widely distributed version of any of its portable devices.
Other than that significant caveat, the device clearly works:
Updated with information about AT&T plans.
As we posted earlier, Apple is selling an unlocked version of the iPhone in the US starting at US$649. To help clarify questions about this development, we’ve put together this little FAQ. We’ll explain what the unlocked iPhone means to you as a customer and how you’ll be able to use it both at home and abroad.
What is locking? Locking (also called “SIM locking”) is a limitation of some phones, preventing their use outside of the issuing carrier; it is generally implemented in software and phones can be ‘unlocked’ either by the carrier or by third parties. Until now, the US GSM iPhone has been exclusively locked to AT&T. Another iPhone model, which uses CDMA technology, is available from Verizon in the States; there is already a second US carrier (Cricket) supporting those phones via unlock.
What has changed is that Apple now offers a GSM iPhone to US buyers that is not locked to a specific carrier (many overseas carriers have offered unlocked iPhones before now; in fact, we’re told that in the UK it is the act of selling the phone with a SIM on the same order that tags the phone’s unique identifier as ‘locked,’ but the phone itself is unlocked at the factory and then locked in the sales process).
Is unlocking the same as jailbreaking? Jailbreaking is a process that opens the full underlying iOS operating system to end-user control (‘breaking out’ of the chroot jail, hence the term). It has been a pre-requisite for running third party unlocking software until now. The new Apple unlocked iPhone does not require jailbreaking or third-party unlocks to be used with non-AT&T carriers.
What carriers can you use with the unlocked iPhone? For right now,
As rumored, Apple has started selling factory unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S.
Though Apple has sold contract-free iPhones in the U.S. before, they were still locked to AT&T.
This is first time Apple is selling factory unlocked iPhones, which will allow users to use a SIM card from any GSM carrier.
Here’s the product description on Apple’s website:
If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide.
Apple is selling the 16GB iPhone 4 model for $649 and the 32GB model for $749, which works out to a premium of $450 for the freedom to use it on any GSM carrier.
However, as we’ve pointed out before, iPhone 4 will work on T-Mobile’s voice network but doesn’t support T-Mobile’s 3G network, so it will work only over its slow EDGE network. Apple has also clarified in the FAQ section that an iPad micro-SIM card will not work with the unlocked iPhone 4.
Despite the high price, factory unlocked iPhones are popular among international travelers who may need to frequently switch SIM cards to avoid the exorbitant international roaming charges.