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Sure, the portable GPS may still have a home among multi-car families, or drivers that have yet to make the jump to a smartphone, but we wouldn't be surprised to see the dedicated device's share decline over the next few years. At the same time, in-car infotainment systems are clearly gaining in popularity, so it only makes sense for one of the world's largest handheld GPS makers to make the jump to in-dash. Garmin's partnering with Suzuki for its first factory-installed infotainment system, which includes a 6.1-inch "high-res" touchscreen, a CD player and AM/FM radio, internal flash memory, along with USB, AUX jack and Bluetooth connectivity. The voice control-enabled system also includes backup camera support, Pandora integration and an SD card slot for loading updates. One benefit of vehicle integration is access to the car's speed sensors, allowing the GPS to follow along accurately when it doesn't have a signal, such as in enclosed areas or tunnels. You can also use Garmin Smartphone Link to access traffic, weather and fuel price info. The in-dash system will ship with most American 2013 model year Suzuki vehicles, along with select cars sold in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Russia. I'll also be on display at Suzuki's New York Auto Show booth next week, if you happen to be planning a trip to the Big Apple.
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Garmin® Enters In-Car Infotainment Market with Factory-Installed Suzuki System

OLATHE, Kan./April 2, 2012/Business Wire - Garmin®International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced that it will provide a fully integrated, factory-installed infotainment system for most American 2013 model year Suzuki vehicles. Garmin's infotainment system combines a 6.1-inch high-resolution touchscreen display with a full-featured infotainment platform, including AM/FM/CD radio, multi-media playback, backup camera support, Bluetooth® hands-free connectivity, Pandora radio and Garmin's award-winning navigation. The intuitive user interface with advanced voice control makes it easy to operate the system and switch between functions. The Garmin infotainment system will be on display at the Suzuki booth (#1507) at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at the New York International AutoShow during the press days (April 4-5, 2012).

"We're pleased to extend our cooperation with Suzuki Motor Corporation by providing our fully integrated infotainment platform that goes beyond GPS navigation and provides a whole range of information and entertainment functions," said Matt Munn, Garmin's managing director automotive OEM. "By leveraging our long-standing experience in developing navigation software, user interfaces and hardware design, 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:Music and media is integrated in multiple ways,providing users a wide range of options to choose from. This includes an integrated AM/FM radio and CD player as well as several interfaces that allow user to play music from external devices such as a mobile phone or iPod, including a USB and AUX jack, Bluetooth and a SD card slot.Also included is an integration with Pandora (via a connected smartphone[1]) that allows users to easily browse and select their personalized radio stations, skip a track orgive a song a thumbs-up or down.

Navigation: The system integratesGarmin's intuitive and award-winning navigation, providing premium road guidance with spoken turn-by-turn directions and street names, PhotoReal Junction View with lane guidance, optional traffic via TMC, speed limit andcurrent speed displays, millions of points of interest, a customizable datamenu and many other features. The navigation system has access to vehicle speed sensors to provide precise location information even when a GPS signal is not available, for example in tunnels. When switching to other menus, such as the music player, navigation directions will continue and visual cues will be displayed at the top of the screen. Map updates can easily be downloaded to a SD card from a Garmin Web portal.

Full voice control: Users can control the system with voice commands, which helps reduce driver distraction. This includes all the integrated functions, such as navigation, radio, CD player and Pandora. Garmin's one-shot address entry technology allows user to speak a full address at once without going through multiple steps. Additionally, the system includes steering wheel control buttons on selected vehicles to activate voice recognition or directly control certain functions, such as the volume, switching between radio stations or accepting and ending calls.

Connected services: Real-time information, such as traffic, dynamic parking, weather and fuel prices,will be available through Garmin Smartphone Link[2]. This app can easily link an Android phone to the Suzuki infotainment system via Bluetooth. It utilizes the existing data connection of a smartphone to bring live services to the vehicle, so users don't have to pay for an extra data plan.

Backup camera support: When backing up, the system automatically displays the backup camera on the screen, so drivers get a better view of what's behind the vehicle.

Hands-free Bluetooth: The integrated Bluetooth calling function allows users to make calls hands free. A phone can easily be synced via Bluetooth and then controlled with voice commands.

The hardware of the Suzuki Infotainment System is designed and built by Garmin and includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, an AM/FM tuner, a CD player, a USB and an AUX jack, a SD card slot and internal flash memory. Garmin's infotainment system will be available for selected Suzuki vehicles in Australia and New Zealand,Europe, North America and Russia.

Garmin's automotive OEM business segment provides a broad range of in-vehicle electronics for the automotive industry, including automotive grade infotainment and telematics systems, navigation software, location-based services, and integrated portable navigation systems. Garmin has agreements with leading brands in the automotive sector such as BMW, Chrysler, Honda, Kenwood, Panasonic, Suzuki and Toyota, among others.

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Garmin partners with Suzuki for company's first in-dash infotainment system