October 26, 2007 Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. is set to roll-out a new widescreen digital car navigation device that doubles as a portable digital television for use almost anywhere.
The newest in Sanyo’s “Gorilla” series is an effort by the company to position itself with a broad array of products for the lead-up to Japan’s new digital broadcasting era, legislated to start nationwide in late 2011 (when analog broadcasts in Japan will end).
The “Gorilla NV-HD880FT” is the first portable car navigation device internally equipped with a terrestrial digital tuner (Seg-12 + Seg-1), enhancing portability and eliminating the need for unsightly wires normally required to connect a separate external tuner. The new Gorilla is designed to double as a terrestrial digital television inside the home or elsewhere (depending on reception quality, an antenna separate from the unit’s rod antenna may be required). The device is equipped with a 30GB HDD and automatically converts from its Seg-12 tuner, used when image quality is good – even reproducing high-definition programs at standard quality – to a Seg-1 tuner in locations where the signal is weak, and back again, maximizing digital broadcast reception. Despite its expansive 8-inch touch-screen TFT-LCD (thin film transistor liquid crystal display), delivering resolution of 336,960 pixels, the Gorilla NV-HD880FT measures just 38mm in thickness, 121mm in height and 206.8mm in width, weighing in at just 950 grams.
The new Gorilla also is equipped with Sanyo’s “Eco Drive Data II,” a “green” software technology that instructs the driver on energy-saving driving techniques, significantly lowering CO2 emissions and cutting operating costs by improving fuel economy on average 12.3%, based on tests of five vehicles both with and without the technology. The unit comes with FM multiplex broadcasting-based VICS (Vehicle Information and Communication System) for display of maps indicating real-time road conditions such as traffic delays and accidents. When used as a television inside the vehicle, the device transmits audio through the car’s own sound system via an internal FM transmitter.
According to Sanyo, the domestic portable navigation market in Japan is expected to grow dramatically in fiscal 2007, with sales projected to total around 5.5 million units, an increase of 167.7% over the figure for fiscal 2006 of about 3.2 million units (102.6% of fiscal 2005 sales).
The company plans initial production of 5,000 units, and will sell the Gorilla NV-HD880FT at a suggested retail price of 225,750 yen (including sales tax). The product is slated to hit the market in Japan on November 26, 2007.
Sanyo’s Gorilla series, including this most recent Gorilla iteration, and its other car navigation devices is currently on display at the 40th Tokyo Motor Show.