Garmin (which now owns Navigon) just announced some new features for the NAVIGON app on iPhone and Android. For iPhone, starting later this spring, Navigon will provide street-level photo of users’ destination which they pull from Google Street View. We’re not sure if this is such a big deal since this street level photos of your destination were already available on your Android device if you used Google Maps or just your computer and this Street View photo some times does not help at all to get to your destination.
As far as improving the Navigon app on the Android side you’ll soon get the active lane assistant which provides animated views of complex intersections so you won’t miss a turn. Other improvements are the NAVIGON widget on your home screens to search for POIs, bluetooth integration for voice announcements, and a traffic check function.
This phone is supposed to only cost around $250 and with its vibrant colors it should be very attractive to the young crowd. Nokia Lumia 610 is a Windows phone obviously running version 7.5. It has some pretty impressive specs for its price. Take for example the 5MP auto focus camera, 800Mhz processor, 1300mAh battery, LED flash, 3.7″ display quad-band GSM/EDGE/WCDMA connectivity. Other specs include 256MB RAM and 8GB internal storage.
As far as location capabilities Nokia Lumia 610 offers A-GPS, G-sensor, as well as a digital compass, and a 3-axis accelerometer. Which means you’ll have a great time getting your maps from Nokia Maps, and with Nokia Drive 2.0 you should be able to get turn-by-turn GPS driving directons.
CoPilot GPS is now a FREE route planning and on-board mapping app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. CoPilot GPS App now offers detailed street maps of an entire country or any part of the country and lets you store them on your mobile device – even when there’s no data connection. It comes with multi-stop trip planning too. What’s not free is voice guided turn by turn navigation with 3D maps, etc. You can buy these features from within the app for $20 which gets you lifetime update.
Some of the other features include:
- maps store on your device for offline use
- million of points of interest
- multi-stop trip optimizer
- walking mode
TeleNav Scout is a new GPS navigation system that works across the web, your phone, and in-dash systems in your car.
- available free on iPhone
- provides real-time commute times to work or home
- real-time traffic during daily commutes
Scout.me is the web interface to your navigation solution with Telenav which lets your start planning your trip in front of a computer. There’s also Scout for cars and the first to integrate this system will be Ford.
Czech company Dynavix just came out with a GPS navigation app for iPhone and iPad. It includes voice instructions and comes with maps which are stored on your device’s internal storage.
It offers some traffic avoidance features giving you the best option for time of the day, day of the week, etc. Unlike most other GPS navigation apps out there Dynavix lets you customize your app a great deal. For example you can choose a black or white style to match the colour of your iPad, as well as map colour, what information is displayed in the info panel, a theme, or one of the 3D cars. There is also a wide range of background options, which also allows you to select a photo stored on your iPhone to use as a backdrop.
Another cool feature is that you can import POIs from iTunes to expand your database to include radars or other landmarks.
This is one of the ways Garmin is still staying relevant when every single smartphone on the market offers practically free GPS navigation. Stand alone automobile navigation is not their only market. They’ve got aviation too. Just recently they announced a new app for the iPad 2 called GTN 750 trainer. Pilots can now train on the ground, and practice basic operations of Garmin’s new all glass GTN aviation systems.
GTN 750 Trainer app allows pilots to pan the map, enter waypoints into the flight plan, load airways, graphically edit flight plans, radio tune and more. It even has hi res terrain maps, worldwide NavData, and simulated traffic targets and simulated XM weather data for a more realistic experience. Some other options include TAWS-B audible alerts, transponder control and remote audio processor control, and other demo settings that lets users to simulate flight scenarios by changing altitude, speed, location, etc.
$25 is small price to pay to get your training while still safely on the ground.
TeleNav recently announced the HTML5-based navigation service that works on any platform since it is browser based. It claims to be a full pledged voice guided turn-by-turn navigation service with moving maps and automatic rerouting in case you miss turns. Oh yeah.. it will also be completely free. Take that Google Maps!
With this technology any mobile website (say a restaurant) can provide an address and from within your browser you can start navigating there. Or you run a website with many address and with only one line of code you’ll give your users the ability to start navigating without leaving the browser.
Currently the service is only available for developers for testing but their blog says it should be available publicly in early 2012.
Recently there was an article in NYT which claimed GPS watches can be unreliable and give you the wrong distance. One example is running around a track and then downloading the map data to your computer. You’ll see that none of your laps will actually overlap and they may not even look like ovals. This is mostly true but there are always workarounds. I’m not talking about a certain kind of GPS watch but more about GPS apps for tracking. For example with Google’s own My Tracks app there’s are several settings that help you keep tabs on your accuracy. The most important one of these is the “time interval” which is defined as the smallest distance between two recordings of your position. You want this value to be as small as possible (and it is by default set at 1 seconds we believe).
Another important setting is the distance interval. If your path is filled with switchbacks or just a lot of turns this setting may help you smooth out the turns and make it more realistic. The recommended setting for this is by default 5m but if you’re crazy about collecting the most realistic data you should set this to it’s smallest value which is 1m.
A third setting that helps you keep track of your accuracy is the “GPS accuracy”. Google My Tracks has this setting at 200 meters by default. This means when that blue circle around you is at 200 meters or less your data will be recorded. Now to be honest 200 meters is a long distance and may make a big difference if you’re running. You can set this at 10m accuracy which is a pretty darn good signal. But this means your phone will stop recording your workouts when the signal gets even a little worse. I’d rather have the app record my workout rather than it stop and complain about the signal.
One final thing you can do to test your GPS devices’ accuracy is to measure your path on Google Earth. In one window bring up the path you uploaded from your tracking app and on a another window bring up Google Earth. Now go to Tools->Ruler->Path from the menu bar. Using your mouse start clicking on the path you followed. Make it as accurate as possible. Now compare that distance to the distance reported by your GPS app. Is it off by a lot? Probably not. 99% accurate? If that makes you happy great. Nothing to worry about. If not you can bring up Google Earth every single time, correct your path, and record the actual distance.
Navigon’s newest MobileNavigator is out for Apple’s iPhone. It is called the Navigon MobileNavigator 2.0 and will be a free upgrade for those fans who already owned it. One of the biggest change in this version is that you have the ability to load the states you select so Navigon’s not a huge space hog on your precious phone.
Other improvements include a newly designed user interface and the ability to update maps from within the app.
- Navigon North America: $40 (iTunes)
- Navigon U.S. East: $20 (iTunes)
- Navigon U.S. West: $20 (iTunes)
- Navigon U.S.A: $30 (iTunes)
Windows Marketplace now has GPS Tuner Turn by Turn GPS Navigation app which contains onboard maps so you can find your way around without a data connection. The US version already came out couple of weeks ago. Navigon is also in the same market; costs twice as much but includes map to most of Europe.
Here are the main features:
- Voice-Guided Turn by Turn Navigation
- Navteq maps
- More than 4 million Places (POIs) in Europe
- Automatic Map rotation according to your heading
- Route calculation based on Time or Distance
- Supporting Portrait and Landscape mode
- Automatic re-routing if you miss a turn
- Speed dependent Volume control
- Driving and Walking directions
- US and Metric units are supported
- Itinerary (turn list for planned routes)
- Avoid Highway/Toll roads option