Suppliers are beginning to develop back up cameras designed especially for portable navigation devices (PNDs), and to sell combo PND/camera packages.
And Steelmate USA says it is planning to launch products that combine GPS with a camera, parking assist system and an optional tire pressure monitoring system.
Steelmate’s Lombard said a PND is “another opportunity for the end user to add a backup camera without needing an additional monitor.” About 49 million PNDs are already in use in North America, estimates Strategy Analytics.
In-dash navi systems are often bundled (at least by retailers) with a back up camera, but now the trend is spreading to PNDs.
Magellan’s camera will be introduced in a few months. When used with the RoadMate 9055, the PND automatically switches to camera mode when the car goes into reverse. The 9055 is a 7-inch PND aimed at drivers of large SUVs and pickup trucks. At a suggested retail price of about $299 (without the camera) it includes Bluetooth and free lifetime traffic. There’s no word yet on pricing for the camera.
Another PND bundled with a camera goes on sale this month in the Israeli market.
Called the Comodo Console, it’s a high tech affair that also delivers Internet Radio and movies over 3G. See the full story here. The Comodo is not slated for the U.S. at this time, but we view it as a sign of what’s brewing.
Steelmate’s system is a bit different; instead of converting a PND to a camera monitor it works in reverse (no pun intended). It actually creates a PND out of a backup camera system, by adding GPS software to the camera monitor. The package will be sold in Q2 in modular steps. You start with a backup camera and monitor. Then you can add parking assist with on-screen data. Then you can add tire pressure monitoring with on-screen data. And finally, you can add GPS software.
The monitor/PNDs will come in 3-, 5- and 7-inch sizes.
PNDs have long offered the capability to work with a backup camera. But Garmin and TomTom have not yet marketed their own cameras. Also, at least in Garmin’s case, the PND does not automatically switch to camera mode when the car goes into reverse.
Both Garmin and TomTom said they don’t comment on future products. A Garmin spokesman allowed, “Garmin is working closely with a number of different auto manufacturers around the world on different navigation and infotainment systems, but we’re not at liberty to discuss anything we haven’t already announced.”
Image of Steelmate’s upcoming backup camera system that can become a PND