Magellan marks 25th anniversary of handheld GPS

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GPS device maker Magellan is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its NAV 1000 handheld GPS, the first commercially available global positioning device.

It was initially introduced to consumers at marine industry events.

The NAV 1000 was the first commercial handheld GPS receiver, and it entered the market in 1989. Developed for the marine market, the NAV 1000 made the accuracy of GPS available to a large commercial and recreational boating community.

The Magellan NAV 1000 was publicly introduced at the International Marine Trade Exhibition Conference, which took place Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 1988, in Chicago and at the Fish Expo, Oct. 12-15, 1988, in Boston. The device entered the market in May 1989.

“Magellan was built on innovation with the NAV 1000, the first handheld GPS to be available commercially,” MiTAC Digital Corp. Peggy Fong said in a statement. “We are proud to continue this tradition of innovation with current products such as Echo, the Smart Sports Watch and SmartGPS, a cloud-based connected car navigator.”

The latest version of the SmartGPS Eco System was unveiled at the Telematics Detroit show June 4-5.

An article posted in late May by Mashable described how the unwanted military GPS technology found its true calling after Magellan produced the NAV 1000.

The NAV 1000 is on display in the “Time and Navigation” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Its contribution to the development of GPS technology has been recognized by numerous publications, including:

• Time Magazine, “All-TIME 100 Gadgets”

• Popular Mechanics, “101 Gadgets That Changed the World”

• Outside Magazine, “The Most Influential Gear of All Time”

• Maximum PC, “The 50 Most Important Handheld Devices of All Time”

• Complex, “The 80 Best Gadgets of the ‘80s”

The handheld unit measured 8.75 inches by 3.5 inches by 2.25 inches and weighed 1.5 pounds. It was waterproof, non-corrosive, buoyant and constructed of a durable compound to withstand shock, vibration, humidity and temperature extremes.