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The big news in the tech world right now is the World Wide Developer's Conference which Apple just concluded. That's where the House that Jobs Built unveiled its latest operating systems for both computers and mobile devices, its latest laptop computer design and more. But what does this all have to do with cars, you ask? Plenty.


For those of us testing dozens of in-car navigation and infotainment systems each year, J.D. Power's 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study comes as no surprise.


Way back when, animated characters were voiced by anonymous folks with great pipes. These days, you need A-list celebs to sell pixelated fish and other playthings. The disembodied and slightly stilted voices of navigation systems appear to be going the same way, and Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson is the latest talent to contribute his voice to giving directions – ironic, considering he's made his disdain for GPS clear in the past.


It's one of the great ironies of our age that many of the devices that were crafted to make our lives easier are more prone to catapulting us into fits of blinding rage. Anyone who's been led astray by satellite navigation knows exactly what we're talking about. But what if your devices knew that you were upset with them and could alter their behavior accordingly? Researchers at Cambridge University are working on new technology that could create emotionally-sensitive robotics to reduce driver d


Garmin has recalled a total of 1.25 million portable GPS units for a possible fire risk, with 796,000 of those sold here in the United States. According to Consumer Reports, the problem stems from a faulty battery that may cause the device to overheat while in use. So far, there have been no injuries or property damage due to the defect, and fewer than 10 units have been reported with the problem.


Darth Vader TomTom voice recording session – Click above to view the video after the jump


Want an interesting voice on your satellite navigation system but tired of the Yoda, Stewie, Arnold and Homer themes you've already downloaded? Good news, then. Bob Dylan has just announced on his "Theme Time Radio Hour" show in the U.K. that he may be providing his distinctive vocals to a GPS unit near you soon. Says Dylan:


Click above to view high-res gallery of the Toyota Yaris SR


We've all gotten lost at some point trying find some place we've never been to before and it certainly goes without saying that we waste a lot of gas driving around aimlessly trying to figure out where we are. A new study in Britain estimates that drivers there waste 812,500 gallons of fuel a year thanks to getting lost. Given that the study was funded by Becker, a manufacturer of vehicle satellite navigation systems, it makes perfect sense that their solution would be to use a navigation system


Having reviewed many vehicles in my day, I can tell you unequivocally that not all satellite navigation systems are created equal. Just checking the sat nav box on the options sheet doesn't guarantee you'll be getting a system that's easy to use and will get you where you want to go. Those who know me will tell you that I've often sung the praises of Ford's sat nav systems, specifically the ones found in Lincoln models. My first experience with these factory-installed Pioneer units came from a r


We're kicking ourselves because we didn't get a chance to play with the DashDaq onboard computer at SEMA last week where it won a Best New International Product Award. Actually, to call it an onboard computer is generalizing its capabilities a bit too much. The small handhelt unit plugs into your vehicle's OBD-II port and can be used for data acquisition, diagnostics, as an extra set of gauges and as a good old fashioned handheld computer. The secret to this little guy's high must-have quotient


Garmin has scored a major coup by buddying up with Hyundai to sell its nüvi 360 personal navigation device at all of the automaker's 725 dealerships across the U.S. The nüvi 360 not only navigates, but also features hands-free Bluetooth calling and other travel specific features like a database of over 6 million points of interest, a currency converter and an MP3 player with picture viewer. The small pocket-sized device mounts on your vehicle's windshield, though it can be detached and


In a gesture of unwavering generosity, Cadillac announced yesterday that select 2007 models would come equipped with free satellite navigation. The offer will end on January 2nd 2007 and is only available on "specially-equipped" models.


Aftermarket navigation systems are not cheap, though neither are the nav units that come bundled in your car. Aftermarket units can start in the $500 range but easily skyrocket up to $2,000 depending on how many features you demand. Delphi's consumer electronics division has just announced a new hand held nav system called the NAV200 that packs most of those popular features in a small form factor at an easily digestible price of $349.


Martha McKay of the Wichita Eagle recently tested the VZ Navigator, a GPS navigation system offered by Verizon for its Motorola V325 cell phone. The service became available in January.


Garmin, the well-known maker of portable GPS systems and other devices, has announced it will start offering a version of its popular StreetPilot c330 (pictured) that will provide directions in five different Asian languages. The 'StreetPilot c330 Asian Americas', which goes on sale in May, is the first in the North American market to offer such capability. Garmin had developed it in response to census data showing that over six million Asians live in Canada and the U.S.


"Where did they find those wonderful toys?"

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