Harman Kardon is best known in the automotive world for its audio equipment, but here at CES 2007, the company has taken a leap into the crowded world of portable GPS devices with the unveiling of its Guide + Play GPS-500. Like most portable navigation devices on the market nowadays, the GPS-500 is more than a digital wayfinder: it can play a range of audio (MP3/AAC/WMA) and video (MPEG-4/WMV9) media formats and will even display album artwork in glorious Technicolor. Media is played from a 4GB SD card that slots into the top of the bezel. Maps and movies are displayed on the unit's 4-inch wide-screen touch-screen display, which presents a crisp series of menus for programming navigation or selecting media.
Navigation features include a route simulator (which lets drivers preview a route before setting out) and 2D, 3D, and split-screen views. Harman reps tell us that the device also features text-to-speech technology, which will enable it to read out road names during turn-by-turn voice guidance. The GPS-500 will go on sale sometime in March and will retail for around $500, putting it squarely into competition with the Magellan RoadMate 2200T and the Garmin StreetPilot c550.