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With a variety of global positioning systems available for automobiles, mapping out driving directions has never been easier for today’s business traveler. You can even locate gas stations and restaurants along the way. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could also use the navigation system for getting around on foot?
That’s the idea behind a new generation of travel — friendly personal digital assistants. Not only can they manage your contacts and download e — mail, but they can remind you where your next appointment is and tell you how to get there — whether you’re driving or strolling .
Three new Pocket PCs are good representatives of this new class: the iPAQ rx5915 Travel Companion from Hewlett — Packard, the Pharos Traveler GPS 525 from Pharos Science & Applications Inc., and the Mio P550 from Mio Technology Ltd. What makes these devices notable are their GPS receivers and street — mapping software. Each device provides street — by — street driving directions for the United States and Canada.
Mio P550; $499
This device provides access to maps, a points — of — interest search function, and a contacts list. The Mio P550 has 2GB of built — in flash memory for maps and other data and Mio’s WorldMate navigation software.
Pharos Traveler GPS 525; $549.95
The Pharos Traveler GPS 525 has a 300 — megahertz Samsung SC32442 processor and comes with the company’s Ostia mapping software as well as a 2GB Secure Digital memory card preloaded with street maps. Also included is a copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005.
Ostia includes Smart Traffic, a real — time traffic information feature, and Smart Finder, which can help you find a point of interest. The unit measures 4.3 x 2.3 inches and is 0.69 inches thick.
Mio Technology Ltd., 510 — 252 — 6950, www.miogps.com
Hewlett — Packard Co., 800 — 752 — 0900, www.hp.com
Pharos Science & Applications Inc., 888 — 742 — 7678, www.pharosgps.com
HP iPAQ rx5915; $599.99
The HP iPAQ rx5915 Travel Companion uses a 400 — megahertz Samsung SC32442 processor and is bundled with Navigator 6 street map software from TomTom. Navigator 6 can speak driving directions in more than 30 languages and provides a choice of 50 different voices. The iPaq unit measures 4.74 x 3 inches and is 0.65 inches thick.
The six — ounce iPAQ can also be held in a landscape orientation. A Travel Assistant icon links you to features such as a currency converter, a world clock, and access to global weather forecasts.