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Garmin announces 3500 nüvi GPS line, Android app to add online features to GPS units

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Garmin announced a new series of nüvi GPS navigators today, along with a new Smartphone Link Android app that adds some of Garmin's online features to the standalone units.

Garmin CES
Garmin CES

GPS manufacturers have been shifting their focus away from dedicated units and toward smartphone apps, but that doesn't mean they've forgotten their roots: Garmin announced a new flagship line of GPS navigators today at CES, the nüvi 3500 series. The 3500 series comes with all of Garmin's best in-car features, like Digital 3D Traffic, which provides traffic updates every 30 seconds and on a much larger number of roads than the normal traffic system. It also has a new navigation engine and an improved user interface — it's the same one found on all of Garmin's Prestige line of nüvi devices. For $369.99, you'll get the nüvi 3550LM with free lifetime map updates, while $30 more buys you 3590LMT, which adds free traffic updates, voice-activated navigation, and Bluetooth connectivity.

You might want to spring for the Bluetooth, too, because Garmin also announced the Garmin Smartphone Link app for Android phones today. The app allows you to use a lot of Garmin's online services — live traffic, traffic camera feeds, weather updates, and the like — and stream the data to your in-car GPS via Bluetooth. The app is compatible with the new 3590LMT plus the nüvi 2475LT, 2495LMT, 2595LMT, and 3490LMT models, and is free, though a few of the online services cost extra.