Garmin zumo 550 GPS Aims At Two-Wheelers

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Leading navigation device maker Garmin has introduced its new zūmo 550 GPS unit designed specifically for use on motorcycles. The zūmo features a glove-friendly touch screen with left-handed controls so its simple to operate on the road, along with otherbike-friendly features like a motorcycle mount, special bike console, waterproof and fuel-resistant construction, and Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free voice prompting and calling.

“The Garmin zūmo is designed by motorcyclists for motorcyclists, so it naturally includes hardware and software features that make the device stand out from any other navigator on the market,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president of marketing. “Garmin has long been known as a pioneer in satellite navigation in aircraft, boats, cars, so we’re proud to be able to offer a unit that stands up to the demands of motorcyclists and a motorcycle’s demanding environment.”

The zūmo 550 weighs under 11 ounces and sports a bright, UV-resistant 3.5-inch sunlight-readable LCD display, along with four dedicated left-hand buttons for input in addition to touch-screen controls. The unit can be secured to a bike with a locking mount (standard 4-hole AMPS pattern) which handles waterproof data and power connections, and stands up to serious vibrations so riders don’t have to worry about the unit dropping off to the side of the road mid-trip. The zūmo also sports a three-hour lithium-ion battery, so riders can set off on foot for a while.

Built-in Bluetooth wireless technologies enables riders to boh retreive and dial numbers using a Bluetooth wireless headset; riders can talk on the phone without removing gloves or helmet, and the zūmo’s Bluetooth interface even enables riders to place calls to points-of-interest included in the zūmo’s database; the zūmo can also transmit directions and voice prompts to riders wirelessly. Optional XM satellite radio capability enables riders to receive traffic (in selected cities) and weather information along with satellite radio programming.

The zūmo 550 comes with City Navigator NT street maps of North America and Europe, along with a sizable point-of-interest database. The zmu offers SD card storage, and can act as an MP3 player and JPEG viewer.

Sound good? The zūmo 550 is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2006 for a Garmin-normal “suggested” price of $1076.91.

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