Just what we needed: another competitor in the portable navigation market. Panasonic is using this year's SEMA show to launch the CN-GP50U, its first portable navigation device, and the second product in its Strada navigation series. The CN-GP50U features a 5-inch display, and comes with text-to-speech technology for reading out road names when under route guidance. An optional real-time traffic service from Clear Channel is also available on the device with the purchase of a separate receiver.
For in-car connectivity, the CN-GP50U comes with a built-in Bluetooth hands-free calling interface, which copies over full cell-phone address books. Like the Strada-CN-NVD905U in-dash navigation system that we saw recently, the portable device has an SD-card slot on which its maps are stored. Unlike the in-dash system, the CN-GP50U allows users to use their own SD cards to display digital photos on it screen. A mini-USB port gives drivers another option for uploading photos (curiously, MP3 and other digital audio files are not supported), and for updating maps.
Look out for the CN-GP50U to drop in December with a price of around $500.