Swiss satellite navigation device maker Garmin has teamed up with Japanese auto maker Suzuki to outfit most 2013 American model vehicles with a fairly robust infotainment system featuring a 6.1 inch hi-res touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora radio and, of course, GPS navigation (among other things).
“By leveraging our long-standing experience in developing navigation software, user interfaces and hardware design,” said Matt Munn, Garmin’s managing director automotive OEM, “we created an integrated system that is easy to use and makes driving more enjoyable.”
Garmin’s Suzuki system includes the following functionalities:
- Media and music integration: Integrated AM/FM radio and CD player with interfaces allowing users to play from external devices such as a mobile phone or iPod, including a USB and AUX jack, Bluetooth and a SD card slot. Pandora supported, as well (via iOS smartphone).
- Navigation: Premium road guidance with spoken turn-by-turn directions and street names; PhotoReal Junction View with lane guidance; speed limit and current speed displays, millions of points of interest, and more.
- Full voice control: Users can control the system with voice commands, which helps reduce driver distraction.
- Connected services: Real-time information, such astraffic, dynamic parking, weather and fuel prices, will be available through Garmin Smartphone Link (added to the system with an update after the initial launch).
- Backup camera support: Backup camera displayed on the screen, giving drivers better view of what’s behind vehicle.
- Hands-free Bluetooth: Integrated Bluetooth calling function
This partnership is being seen as a move that could boost both Suzuki and Garmin in different ways. Suzuki, like many auto makers, has seen a rough few years with sales figures tumbling with the auto market. For Garmin, this ain’t their first dance with auto makers, but it is the most versatile device they’ve put out so far – packing several features into one unit.
Either way, the in-car/in-dash infotainment industry is widely viewed as running full-steam ahead as the technology is gathering popularity with more consumers expecting it in higher-end vehicles.