Garmin Launches iPhone App - StreetPilot
Garmin has announced the new StreeetPilot App for Android and iPhone today. While a latecomer to the App Party, Garmin is here to fight, with a $39 list price in the iPhone App store, and a list of features that took others several upgrades to achieve.
In their recent earnings announcement (November 3, 2010) when they told of the Nuvifone discontinuation, they mentioned that those developers would be moving into smartphone App development. It appears that they were already working hard on these Apps at the time, and that they are in for the long fight with upgrades and new features coming.
At a high level, the Garmin StreetPilot App has Text to Speech (says Street Names), Lane Assist, iPod controls inside the App, Google Local Search, Local Weather and Traffic Alerts. The traffic appears to be provided by NAVTEQ and their Nokia owners, which is configured to alert you on traffic around you or on your Route. You are also able to set the StreetPilot App for pedestrian use which changes how it navigates you - which includes walking you through pedestrian only areas and up One Way streets the "wrong" way.
Finally, in an interesting move, the Maps are not resident on your smartphone, but are streamed to the phone over the air. This has stirred up loads of debate relating to the data download demands for those on a limited data plan and folks who may venture out of coverage areas where this could pose an issue. On the plus side, I was able to download the <8MB App over the air and start cruising with it in about a minute. Also, upgrades won't come in the form of a 1+GB file that takes 30+ minutes to load onto the phone every time a new feature shows up.
First Impressions - Garmin StreetPilot App
I have used the App on my iPhone 4 for running around town today and like the interface - native Garmin layout. The App did crash once, but when I restarted it, it remembered where I was navigating to. The StreetPilot App has a nice little Page Curl at the bottom of the map that offers you easy access to several important functions while navigating: Route Overview, Directions. Walking Mode, Stop Navigating and Cancel (Return to the Map Screen).
The lone text to speech voice is OK, but a little quick in its pronunciation rendering a few road names a little less distinguishable than normal. I like the ability to navigate to a contact's address - the format of the data entry screen is a little odd with the data parsed out into different fields: Number, Street, City, etc, versus the Google web standard of all in one blank.
I'll dive deeper into the App in the coming days.
Garmin StreetPilot App is $39 - Available now.
The full press release is below......
Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced its first turn-by-turn navigation app for iPhone, StreetPilot, as well as its full lineup of new smartphone applications for both iPhone and Android. Garmin's new mobile applications -- including StreetPilot for iPhone, Garmin Tracker, myMechanic, and My-Cast Lite -- will be on display in the Garmin booth (South Hall #35831) at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"Providing consumers with mobile applications is yet another way they can experience the benefits of Garmin - be it our navigation expertise or bringing the capabilities of our niche market products to a smartphone. GPS is an extremely helpful tool, but we recognize it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. We decided to introduce a new line of smartphone applications so that we can give customers a quality Garmin experience in the format of their choosing," said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales.
The StreetPilot® App: Designed specifically for iPhone, the StreetPilot App gives iPhone owners unlimited use of Garmin's industry-leading navigation with traffic alerts. The intuitive interface greets users with two simple options: "Where to?" and "View Map." Customers can easily look up addresses and services and get voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions that speak street names to their destination.
The StreetPilot App includes many of the same high-end features available on Garmin's standalone automotive GPS devices like free traffic alerts that enable drivers to steer clear of traffic accidents, road closures and construction; lane assist with junction view that directs drivers to the preferred lane and displays realistic images of upcoming complex junctions; and speed limit indicators that display speed limits for most major roads. It is an off-board navigation system so that customers always have the advantage of the most up-to-date mapping information available.
The StreetPilot App also integrates with a driver's iTunes music library so they can access and control their music while on the move; integrates with their address book so they can navigate directly from their contact list; and uses the multitasking ability of iOS 4 to allow them to take a phone call while the navigation continues to work in the background.
The StreetPilot App is available now for $39.99 from the App Store on iPhone or at www.itunes.com/appstore.
Read More in: CES 2011 | Garmin GPS News | Mobile Phone GPS
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Posted by Scott Martin at January 4, 2011 9:02 PM