Sony scores GPS hat-trick

Looks like Sony is after a larger slice of the sat-nav pie – it's just announced three new GPS units. The 'Nav-U' series, which follow on from its GP

Looks like Sony is after a larger slice of the sat-nav pie – it's just announced three new GPS units.

The 'Nav-U' series, which follow on from its GPS debut back in July (story here), look not unlike TomTom's successful Go series, and sport 3.5in screens.

All three are essentially the same unit with different mapping abilities. Of particular note is that their speakers have both a 1.6 Woofer and a Tweeter, which should mean they can bark instructions clearer than a opera singer's voice coach. They also all have an 80-degree viewing angle to avoid dangerous neck-craning, use Navteq mapping software and decent 4 hour battery lives.

The basic unit is the NV-U50, which has maps of the UK and Ireland, plus France down to Paris in you're planning a trip on Eurostar. If you're worried about traffic disasters, though, you might want to check out the NV-U50T version, which offers support for Traffic Message Channel (TMC) to help guide you round bumper-to-bumper zones.

The top-end NV-U70 has the same traffic features plus a 1GB flash memory drive, which allows it to hold maps for 27 European countries.

A final plus is that Sony is promising the traffic support for the lifetime of the product. The trio will be available in January next year – prices for the NV-U50 and NV-U50T will be £320 and £450 respectively. There's no official price for the NV-U70 yet, though our Sony contact said it will be in the £550 area.

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