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ViaMichelin Launch the X-970T and X-960 SatNav systems

Date 12th April 2007

Article by Mike Barrett


Yesterday ViaMichelin launched 2 new SatNav devices in the UK, the X-960 and X-970T. The launch was one of the most interesting that I have been involved with. Not only was it unusual it was also a Green navigation event, of which I am sure that Ken Livingstone would approve.


When I heard that the launch would take place in the centre of London I thought: "Oh no. Congestion, traffic jams, this is going to be a nightmare...". How wrong I was! The launch was a Rickshaw race around the West End of London. Peddle power rules!!!


The concept was quite simple there were a number of teams of 2 in a Rickshaw, piloted by a professional rider. We had to use the new X-970T to find 3 locations in the Michelin Guide and then return back to base. We all started at intervals and the fastest team wins the race. I teamed up with "Honest John" a columnist from the Telegraph.


Finding the first location was a doddle. Straight to the Michelin Tourist Guide to navigate to the Covent Garden Royal Opera House. Our guide got us there weaving in and out of the stationary traffic and we received our instructions for the second destination: Richard Corrigan's restaurant from Michelin Restaurant guide.


As we approached the restaurant we found that we had caught up with the team in front of us. We quickly got our instructions and started on our way, chasing the girls in front. Oops our planned route was blocked, we had to continue on the road. This wasn't a problem for the X-970T and it had recalculated a new route before we reached the next junction.


Mike and Honest John with "Bib"

Off we hurtled down Shaftesbury Avenue, and had to stop at a set of red lights (no red light cams!!) where we found the girls...


Well our pilots gave each other the evil eye, and waited for the green light. We took off side by side and it was pretty level until we got to the first turn. Our rider was brave and forgot to brake as he took the bend... John and I both leaned into the turn, and up on two wheels we screamed round the corner (well at least John and I did :D).


As we approached Picadilly Circus we had to slow for lights again and were caught by the girls again. When the lights changed it was going to be a drag race to the finish, and with a lot of shouting and encouragement we tore up Regent Street with a little pushing and bumping until we were able to dive down the alleyway and back to the start point.


Taken with the "'shawcam" this candid video shows the level of competition on the streets of London. Rickshaw racing is a FULL CONTACT sport!!!

Needless to say that John and I arrived first, thanks entirely to the supreme efforts of our rider. It turned out later that not only had we managed to beat the team behind us we had come in with the fastest time as well. First prize: we both got a ViaMichelin X-980T. Well as PocketGPSWorld.com already has one of these systems we have decided to add it to the Prize Draw in the PocketGPSWorld.com SatNav Expo at Sandown Park on the 21st April.


Anyway, back to the reason for the launch the New X-960 and the X-970T.
Both come equipped with SiRF Star III chipset and new navigation software. The new software boasts the simultaneous display of the current route alongside a zoom view of the next junction as well as new guidance modes for bicycles and pedestrians.



Sorry girls: close, but not close enough...

Both devices are available with either UK & Ireland or European mapping and can make use of a new online service called ViaMichelin Advantage (an online hub for downloading content such as maps, advanced route planning (personally colour-coded), themed POIs and new route information). Both also come with the ViaMichelin mapping pledge. If there are newer maps released within 90 days of your purchase then you get a free map upgrade, subject to a nominal shipping and handling charge.


ViaMichelin also give you peace of mind with the most up to date mapping with the new map update service, for a charge (dependent on map coverage) you get maps and content updates for 2 years.


An integral part of the Navigation software is the unique integration of the Michelin Guides, this includes both the Michelin Red Guide and the Michelin Green Guide. There is also lifetime Safety Camera updates (available in 14 countries).


The X960, weighing just 136g, is compact, rounded and “an ideal GPS device for even the greatest technophobe”. It retails at £159 for the UK & Ireland version and £199 for the European version.


The X970T offers the more advanced functions like Bluetooth handsfree calling, fully integrated in the software – touch the screen to answer a call. The mount includes a built in speaker for amplifying the devices output and all leads are plugged into the base (TMC (provided by ITIS), power) allowing fast removal from the vehicle. The TMC is worthy of it’s own special mention as this unique design removes the need for trailing wires around the windscreen; Click here for more... The X970T retails at £239 for the UK & Ireland version and £279 for European.


Manufacturers Website


Pocket GPS Contributor

Mike Barrett

Pocket GPS Contributor Website





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