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Hit the Road with these New Devices

Category: Hardware Published on Tuesday, 28 February 2012

New Products from Magellan, Escort and Livio can Sweeten your Ride

What's in your automobile???

Backup camera?


Radar dectector?

Internet radio receiver?

None of the above?

In many cases, the answer is "none of the above," especially when it comes to safety devices such as backup cameras.

According to a recent article in The New York Times, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration will be pushing Congress to pass a law mandating that backup cameras be built into every car manufactured after 2014. This is a result of a report from that says two children die and about 50 are injured every week when someone accidentally backs over them.

But what do you do if your car is an earlier model and didn't come equipped with one of these devices?

I've been playing with a combination GPS and wireless backup camera from Magellan that can remedy the problem.

The Magellan RoadMate 9055LM GPS ($249.99) works with a Magellan Wireless Backup Camera ($149.99) to provide a clear picture of what is up to 45 feet behind your vehicle.

Installation for most vehicles is as easy. Just attach the backup camera to your rear license plate and tap two wires extending from a wireless receiver to the wires connected to the backup lights on your vehicle.

Other vehicles, such as my 2005 Audi, require professional installation, which can be costly. But it's worth it.

Once connected, the 9055LM communicates wirelessly with the transmitter attached to the camera and you instantly get a rear view on the GPS unit every time your automobile is put into reverse.

Also, the 9055LM has a seven-inch color touch screen, so you get a large, clear image from the camera.

The camera features:

  • A wide-angle view lens so you can see people and objects coming into view behind your vehicle.
  • It's user adjustable to 45 degrees, which means it can be used with any type of vehicle.
  • It's dustproof and waterproof.
  • The transmitter is water resistant.

Plus the 9055LM adds the following GPS features:

  • Free lifetime map updates.
  • Bluetooth enabled hands-free calling with a built-in microphone.
  • An A/V input to enjoy movies or music when you're not driving.
  • It shows highway signs so you can be in the correct lane before taking an exit.
  • Spoken street names and directions (often not found on other GPS systems).
  • Six million points of interest.
  • AAA Member Roadside Assistance which shows your exact location and the phone number for AAA.
  • Plus all of the features you expect from a premium GPS system such as automatic rerouting, a built-in address book and route customization.

The next two items will never be mandated by law, but can make your trips more enjoyable and safer.

Escort's new Passport 8500 X50 Radar Detector with Escort Live ($379) not only delivers superior radar/laser detection, it also can communicate with other Escort users to give you advance notice of speed traps, etc.

The Escort SmartCord Live cable, which sells for $99.95 when not purchased with the radar detector, links you to what Escort calls its "real-time ticket prevention network" which warns you of alerts received by other users in the area. It also links to a database that contains verified speed traps, speed cameras and red light cameras.

In addition the SmartCord links to your iPhone via Bluetooth and its Escort App. This will enable the SmartCord to send alerts to your phone. You will also see a flashing red alert light on the cable's lighter adapter whenever you receive an alert.

Plus, there's a USB connection so you can charge another device when the cable is plugged into your vehicle's lighter/accessory socket.

Also the SmartCord can work with the Passport 9500ix and RedLine radar detectors. Older Passport 8500 models may not be compatible, so you should check with your dealer to make sure they'll work well together.

Lastly, Livio has brought Internet radio to the automobile with its new Livio Radio with Grooveshark car Kit ($99.99), which is controlled by your Android smartphone and a Grooveshark app. You can also use an iPhone by downloading the Livio Radio app.

Basically this unit is plug and play. It wirelessly links to the FM radio band on your car radio and then links to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can choose the station you want to listen to. Since it's Internet radio, you get to choose between thousands of stations grouped by many different genres ranging from classical to rap.

You simply tune your car's radio to the station displayed on the Livio and the unit plays your favorite music through your car's speakers. It can also be used to listen to any other audio application installed on your phone or for hands-free calling.

In addition, you can charge and addition device by connecting it to the Livio's USB port.

More information on these and other products can be found by going to, and

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