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Dec 9, 2005

Santa Expected To Pack Lots Of GPS Receivers In His Sleigh

Manufacturers of Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation units believe that this Christmas season will be the year their technology goes, "mainstream." Over the last four years, average prices have been cut almost in half, and features have been added, resulting in a doubling of sales.

The latest units feature real-time traffic information, weather updates and new radio channels, features the industry is counting on to drive sales among consumers who already know their way around town. As the Detroit News reports:
"This will be the first season it's tested," said Ted Gartner, a spokesman for Garmin International Inc., a major GPS manufacturer, of the real-time traffic features. "We think people who know their cities will use it to avoid traffic tie-ups or when they commute to work. GPS isn't just GPS anymore. Traffic is the new frontier."

Garmin and others say their surveys show traffic information is the most coveted advance sought from GPS units, and several products have been launched in recent months, beamed via satellite or FM radio waves. The updates warn drivers of road closures, accidents and other problems and offer alternative routes before they get stuck behind them.