Toyota techs up the 2008 Toyota 4Runner with an available Urban Runner Package, an experiment in integrating a portable navigation device into the car's dashboard. The navigation device is a TomTom, branded as a TomTom Toyota, and it does much more than simple navigation, potentially catapulting the 4Runner into the ranks of the most technically advanced cars. But the inclusion of the Urban Runner Package affects the 4Runner's electronics and cosmetic details, without changing the SUV's off-road capabilities. The ride height is unchanged, and our four-wheel-drive version included a locking center differential and a hill descent program. … Read more
When it comes to in-car GPS, TomTom has always been of the philosophy that its products should be about navigation first. The company doesn't spend much time fussing over extras like multimedia, but rather focuses energy on navigation tools that will help the driver. The TomTom GO 930 is a good example of this as it brings some new functions, such as advanced lane guidance, address entry via voice, and smarter route planning based on historical traffic data. Though there are some kinks that need to be worked out, they're all welcome and useful additions. Plus, the portable … Read more
Infiniti delivers a unique new car with the 2008 Infiniti EX35 Journey, packing it full of over-the-top technology that all proves useful. The EX35 fits the crossover mold, a segment in which Nissan/Infiniti has plenty of experience from prior models, such as the Murano and FX45. But the EX35 leans more toward the car side, with a front end designed after the G35. The roofline of the EX35 isn't much taller than a typical sedan, and the quick drop-off at the rear leads to minimal cargo space.
But the EX35 wins us over with driving tech that includes … Read more
Former Microsoft spin-off Inrix on Tuesday will launch a new, nationwide traffic-prediction platform.
A new routing service combined with traffic data available for more than 800,000 miles of U.S. roads and location-based information is all part of the Connected Services platform Inrix hopes Web and mobile application developers, gadget makers, and car companies will be driven to adopt.
Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele says he thinks the new platform will lower the barrier to entry for developers and device makers.
"By wrapping it all together, this can do for telematics and navigation what YouTube did for video," … Read more
The new Mini continues its automotive archeology by bringing back the Clubman version. The 2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman shares the same powertrain and cabin gadget options with the Mini Cooper S, yet the Clubman gets a bit more cargo space and easier access to the back seats. With its extra length and weight, we expected it to lose that fun Mini driving character, but it maintains its sprightliness. Mini's BMW owners let it share excellent cabin technology, including navigation with live traffic and HD radio. But the only significant cabin tech option on our Clubman was Mini's … Read more
Sports fans boosted ESPN's status in ComScore's latest measurements of Web site traffic, but the top sites kept their rankings unchanged during March.
ESPN jumped from 46th place with 17.8 million page views from U.S. visitors in February to 34th place with 22.4 million page views in March, the month of the March Madness college basketball tournament and the Major League Baseball season opening, ComScore said.
Sports-related online gambling sites also saw a surge, with Sportingbet's visitor tally jumping 35 percent to 975,000, ComScore said. Upickem.net and SportsBetting.com, while smaller, also … Read more
Today Microsoft announced a new feature on its Live Search Maps service: Clearflow, an option that will alter driving directions based on traffic, not just on the usually metered major freeways, but on adjoining connector ramps and streets as well. See news story.
I find the Clearflow product of only marginal usefulness on a PC, since traffic patterns change quickly. I'd trust it to get me on to a freeway in the most efficient way, but if my route takes more than 20 minutes, I'd worry about its accuracy at the other end. If this technology can be … Read more
News sites carrying coverage of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's resignation faced an onslaught of traffic Wednesday, but demand on the servers paled in comparison to earlier in the week when news of the sex scandal first broke.
Spitzer, who developed a reputation as a bulldog while attorney general for the state of New York, was a hot news topic on Monday, when allegations surfaced that he had hired high-priced prostitutes.
And on Wednesday, the former attorney general turned governor announced his resignation, a move that comes early in his term.
Don't have a missing iPhone, but want another Twitter-aided tool that can save you from life's annoyances? Check out Commuter Feed, a network of Twitter users tying to help each other avoid traffic backups and accidents faster than some official city transportations systems are able to update.
The system works by having users follow a Twitter bot that in turn follows their direct messages and sorts through the ones including an IATA airport code and incident information. This code designates which city they're posting for and the rest of your message can simply describe what's wrong. … Read more
There's been a lot of buzz this week about Facebook's traffic leveling off or declining, and naturally, it's been accompanied by schadenfreude over the fact that the hottest start-up in Silicon Valley may soon be losing its laurels.
Blog chatter, unsurprisingly, is at a fever pitch.
Earlier this week, the U.K. arm of audience measurement firm Nielsen reported that traffic from several social-networking sites, including Facebook, had dipped from December 2007 to January 2008. Now, numbers from ComScore (reported Friday on TechCrunch), suggest that Facebook's U.S. traffic may be in trouble as well. Graphs … Read more