Navigon with a Glympse icon showing in the lower right; note the countdown clock showing on the icon that tells you how much longer your location sharing lasts before shutting off.
Garmin has teamed up with Glypmse, the temporary location sharing App that allows you to transmit your location on the way to a destination. It's a great way to send your location to someone you're traveling to see, whether it's a night out, or a weekend trip. Don't worry, the location sharing is temporary, and you set that up before you send the notification. Glypmse is one of my favorite location based Apps, and it's good to see them team up with Garmin.
This new feature is available on the Garmin StreetPilot Onboard App (the one with the maps resident on your mobile device), and Navigon's mobile Apps.
Right now, Garmin is also offering a 25% off sale through the iTunes store and Android Marketplace. Prices for these Apps vary from about $25 - $45 depending on map coverage needed (East/West US to All North America)
More information and Press Release after the jump......
TomTom has released their new iPhone App, version 1.10. The updated includes new maps, always a good thing, and integration with Facebook, allowing you to find a Facebook event and navigate to it, while also finding Facebook locations (AKA points of Interest) and navigating to them. When you let TomTom access your Facebook feed, it pulls in where your friends have last checked in, then offers you the ability to navigate there.
The other notable update includes the ability to share your destination with Facebook, Twitter or simply to text your destination with friends; not bad. This is a Glympse type idea, where without the realtime updating so they see where you are in the meantime. When sharing TomTom posts a plain message indicating that you are navigating to a certain destination with a planned arrival time. Not bad.
While this is all well and good, the change getting most of the attention is the App icon change. Cruise the iTunes store and you'll see the criticism piling up. There must pretty good brand awareness of TomTom, but the hands wrapping around the earth logo must not be cutting it. Slap a car in there and now people get it?
Below are how your sharing your route will look in Facebook and Twitter:
Above: Posted into Facebook
Above: Destination as seen as the full twitter post.
Navigon is adding a street view capability to its iPhone App, letting users get a view of exactly where they are going for many of the medium to larger cities that are covered by Google's Street view capability. While the whole street view feature in the Google ecosphere has created a bit of controversy over its privacy concerns of a truck driving by, catching people doing things they don't want you to see, the feature should prove useful to wayward navigators who need help recognizing where they want to go. The new feature will be available later this Spring.
On the Android side, Navigon users will be able to access Active Lane Assist capabilities, offering an animated view of the upcoming turns. They will also be able to use a Navigon widget that allows them to see turn by turn instructions right from the home screen. The widget allows you to ignore the map and just see the turning instructions, a kind of advanced, and concise level of navigation (see below).
Waze is giving you a hand on Valentines Day by offering you some free coupons for some inexpensive gifts. So while a Free Tank of Gas or a Free Car Wash might not be the most loving and intimate gift, it might just be the gift that is really needed instead of some crappy box of stale WalMart chocolates. The coupons come in English, Spanish, Italian, French and Hebrew - maybe you can spice things up by using one that's a little more romantic. ("Hebrew?" you ask. You all knew that Waze is based in Israel, right?)
The Coupons are available on their Waze Facebook Page. on top of that, the millions of users will be abel to hit up their Extra Points game icons around the map soon: Red Roses +5 extra Points, Red Heart Balloons +3 Extra Points, and Pink Heart Balloons +2 Extra Points
We've written about EveryTrail and other outdoor GPS Apps for smartphones before, but the makers of EveryTrail have what I would call an Urban Hiking Guide or more normally called a City Guide which are available for a handful of cities. Since they were bought by TripAdvisor, the hybrid of the two properties had to crank out an App like this; walking style, Points of internets, and guided tours.
The App uses your smartphone GPS and compass to use location based services and offer you insight about what's around you. Not only can you get information about places like restaurants around you, but you can also get city facts written by professional editors so you can enjoy your self-guided tour around the neighborhood or city.
Once you get the App you can download additional content (iPhone), including maps, photos of points of interest, reviews, and more. Android appears to have an App per city; download each individually and off you go.
The current North American Cities Include:
Hawaii - several cities across the islands
New York City
Washington, D.C., as well as a few European and Asian cities.
There are a lot of iPods, iPhones and iPads that were gifted this year; I saw the iTunes servers slow down on Christmas day, did you? There are a lot of navigation and associated Apps out there these days, here are a few to consider:
Start with a free/almost free navigation App (iTunes App Store Links):
Waze - They used to bill themselves as a crowdsourced mapping program, but now talk of themselves as a traffic app "Outsmarting Traffic. Together." Good navigator, not great, but worth a try if you are looking for free.
GPS by TeleNav - A free navigation App that is a little hobbled as a free version - but you can try it out and if you like it, you can upgrade for just $10 in the first year. Good little App from a company that knows navigation - they make the navigation for the Ford Sync system.
MotionX GPS Drive - OK - this one is $0.99, but packs a lot in. It's an award winning App that delivers a lot for a low price. The interface is new and different, but well worth checking out.
All of the above require that you have a connection to your network so you can download the maps. The Apps do not come with maps, which means the App is only a few MB, whereas the Apps with US maps are over a GB.
If you want to move up, there are a few very good navigation Apps you can consider:
Garmin StreetPilot - on Sale at $39 - this is a very good App with a lot of the best features from their standalone personal navigation devices: Junction View showing you details of which lane to be in when you come up to difficult interchanges, Trip Computer, Google Search for points of interest, and more.
TomTom - Also $39, and a pioneer in the iPhone Navigation space. Still a fantastic application with a lot of features. A big plus is that you can add their HD Traffic on for a few dollars more through in in-app purchase allowing you to route around the worst traffic issues.
Navigon - various prices - Navigon was a German company, but they are now a subsidiary of Garmin. What I like about them is that they offer lower priced regional Apps where you can get the Eastern US, Central or west for just $19. The navigation is good, with lots of options for customization - a plus if you want it, a downside if you want simple.
One more App for you to consider is another freebie that lets you see some of the best traffic coverage out there:
Inrix Traffic has potentially the best traffic coverage out there and is the engine that feeds a lot of the navigation traffic information that you see on a regular basis (TV Stations, etc). With millions of miles of coverage, down to secondary roads, it can give you a great picture of what's happening in a traffic-jam situation. Award winning and well worth the price.... it's Free.
Wahoo Fitness is coming out with a Bluetooth-based Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) strap that will work over the Bluetooth 4.0 protocol which allows for very low power consumption on the strap side, and a direct connection to the iPhone 4S without a dongle. Cost is going to be about $80. The new protocol and its lower power consumption should allow a lot more fitness devices to use the bluetooth standard, while maintaining their small size. Wahoo Fitness has a set of products for connecting your fitness regimen to your iPhone - what else is in the wings waiting after the HRM strap? Wireless Speed and Cadence Sensor for cycling and a stride sensor for running maybe?
I like my Fisica ANT+ key dongle that allows me to connect my iPhone to a Garmin-standard HRM strap, but this direct connecting technology looks great.
MapMyRide just released a new version of their App which is compatible with the coming Wahoo Fitness Blue HR strap; so things look like they are falling into place.
TeleNav has been a big GPS player for a while now, but maybe not as well known as some others. They have navigation apps available on numerous mobile phone platforms, and also power the navigation for Ford - which I recently checked out at the Telematics conference in Novi, MI.
Well if you are interested in checking them out, they have a great deal on right now - try their Ap for $0.99, and if you buy the yearlong subscription, you can get it for $9.99, which is half off the regular price.
New features include:
My Mileage - track your mileage and export to excel for tracking and expense reporting
Traffic Flow Indicator - you will see the impact of traffic on your route
Upgraded look and feel on maps for easier use.
TeleNav also has a useful gas price feature that is updated daily so you can find the cheapest gas near you. Use that once or twice and you'll save the cost of the App for the year.
If you've been paying attention to the telematics game, you've probably noticed that pushing the Blue Onstar button to use its cellular connection is so 1990's. The future is headed in the direction of infotainment (Ford's Sync and MyFord capabilities) and the concept of using your smartphone as the center of your infotainment universe while porting it to your car's dashboard.
Pioneer is doing that now with AppRadio, bringing select Apps to the screen while you drive. Being able to interact with the large touchscreen of the AppRadio while having the connectivity of your iPhone is pretty powerful. Of course it will play your iPod music too. The AppRadio will also plug into your iPod Touch (latest version) to play music, but you obviously lack the connectivity piece.
inrix Traffic (shown above)- Their top notch traffic is ported to the screen giving you the ability to see in large, full color beauty the traffic snarls you get to run into or around on your outing will make the experience much better. With the App's prediction engine, you can also see what life will be like if you start to run into that traffic in a few minutes to a few hours if the trip is just a bit longer than usual. inrix Traffic at iTunes.
MotionX Drive Navigation (shown below) - The navigation capabilities that you bought on your iPhone, get ported to the AppRadio.It's the best $0.99 you'll spend at the App store; really. Unfortunately that only covers the first 30 days, then the price is $19 a year. Still a bargain. MotionX Drive at iTunes.
The other Apps at iTunes available on the Pioneer AppRadio are Rdio and Pandora. The AppRadio is going to be available in about a month and cost $500.
There are a few million people hitting the roads this weekend to enjoy the three days off, and I thought I would pass along a list of a few free iPhone apps that can help make the weekend a little bit better. Main links are for iTunes - use Developer Website links for other platforms.
Inrix Traffic - The best traffic app there is gets its data from a vast network of road sensors, anonymous GPS probes and anonymous mobile phones. Crunch it all together and out comes a pretty accurate depiction of what traffic looks like and what it WILL look like in the near future. Part of dealing with traffic is avoiding it, and sometimes part of it is just knowing how long the current back-up is. Inrix is great at telling you where traffic is bad, but isn't a turn by turn App, "Just the traffic mam, just the traffic." - More at Inrix Site - Available for iPhone and Android.
Waze - part driving app part social game this navigation app allows you to use crowd sourced maps to navigate here and there. Join the community and report police traps, random traffic jams and more. More at Waze Site - Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Win Mobile and Nokia
AAA Triptik Mobile - App that can give you turn-by-turn directions and a look at reviews and discounts on local hotels, restaurants and more.
Gas Buddy - Open it up, use the GPS to find cheap gas around you; it's that simple. It also will find gas prices by grade, and reports on Diesel too. More at Gas Buddy Site - Available for iPhone, Android and WinMobile
Trapster - Best police trap App out there with tons of current traps and frequently used hiding spaces marked. Join the community and alert them to the ones that you find. Let's face it, a $200 speeding ticket puts a dent in the fun bucket any day. More at Gas Buddy Site - Available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry
Three Free Bonus Apps
When you get there, what are you going to do? Here are three bonus apps that I like.
North Face Trailhead - going on a hike? The Trailhead app gets you community sourced hiking trails. Record your own track and save it for yourself or share it with others.
MapMyRide or MapMyRun - Either one from the "MapMy" App folks will help you track that exercise, show you on a map where you are, show you relevant info on your workout and record it for later. More at MapMyRide website - available for iPhone Blackberry and Android
Opentable - Not exactly what I would call a GPS App, but hey you gotta eat. The restaurant finder and reservation system uses your GPS to fine restaurants around you. They cover about 18,000 restaurants nationally, which is far less than half of the ones out there, so coverage is a bit spotty out in the 'burbs. Probably won't cover the Clam Shack place I am going this weekend, but they do cover a lot of nicer places. Don't need a reservation and just want to read reviews on a restaurant around you? You can always read about more on Yelp. Opentable Site - Available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm WebOS, Nokia, Windows Phone Want more on Yelp; check out the Yelp Site - available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry
inrix has updated their Traffic App on both the Android and the iPhone platforms with some cool new features that will make using the App easier and better. I've been a regular user of the Inrix iPhone App since it debuted back in 2009 and have come to trust and rely upon it for accurate information about traffic conditions around me. To some extent, other Apps have leveraged their user networks more overtly and in a social way to gather information on traffic incidents and qualitative information on what life is like out on the roads. Inrix is making their sharing capabilities more overt with this release.
Inrix, with its unrivaled network of mobile GPS probes, road sensors and remote monitoring is pretty good, but if a user comes across an incident worth sharing with the greater community, they can now easily tap on the screen to pull up a set of reporting icons that allow you to quickly report an accident, the police, or even an error in the traffic flow.
Inrix is already using your positional data anonymously to learn about traffic conditions, but when you tap the "Traffic color is wrong" button, the Inrix App starts to report back more frequently for a period of time to oversample the traffic situation to get better data on the conditions.
Easier to Use Traffic Readout
inrix has also taken its keen understanding of the traffic data and let you know which spots are worse than normal and which spots are better than normal. Sometimes when you look at the traffic map it all looks pretty messy and confusing, but using this new feature, you can see the BLACK areas are worse than average speeds and the LIGHT BLUE areas are better then average speeds. Quick, easy and informative. It's free with a Pro upgrade for a few bucks. Free is definitely worth it and I happen to like the Pro version too. Start with free and then upgrade.
If you have a smartphone, you deal with traffic and don't have the Inrix App; you need it.
TomTom has upgraded their iPhone App to version 1.7 recently, adding Homer Simpson's voice to the product - sorry folks, it's an in-app purchase for $5.99.
TomTom's App continues to go through meaningful upgrades, none more important than getting good ol' Homer here, but important nonetheless.
They have Lane Guidance for tough intersections, IQ Routes that help you get more accurate travel times, and iPod music integration. I use it on a regular basis as part of my navigation solution rotation, and like it a lot.
Navigon announced their new iPhone version 1.8 of the popular App, becoming a pretty full-featured navigator, adding Reality Scanner - a new way to use the camera, the GPS and the compass to show you where Points of Interest are in relation to where you are standing. The capabilities are now new to the iPhone but can be useful for figuring out where to go and what's near you.
The new MobileNavigator also offers an in-app purchase of a red light camera database for about $5. The database of 3900 locations might just help you save a few bucks on a ticket.
Traffic - Navigon offers Traffic Check, an easy to read traffic gauge that pops up after a route calculation giving you a quick look at your traffic jam outlook. And of course, the latest NAVTEQ maps are included. Oh yea, and the App works on the iPad.
I downloaded the new version and am checking it out - I will get some thoughts back to you in the coming days.
Waze has been upgraded for the iPhone giving you easy buttons to navigate to home and to work. The upgrade also should get rid of some recalculating issues that I and others have been seeing. The ability to drop in a Home address and Work address allows you to quickly navigate between the two places that most folks will be going to on a daily basis. That last part is key, because Waze, and others like Inrix or TomTom and Garmin, want you to use the App daily allowing them to collect anonymous data on traffic conditions. For Waze, the aspect of crowdsourcing their maps also drives the need to get a lot of data from a lot of people.
A few navigation makers have offered multiple routes to choose from and Waze is now offering that functionality with easy to use buttons with a clear layout. In taking a look at my navigation from home to work, they lay out three reasonable routes including the one that I use across back roads to get me around traffic bottlenecks. Waze also indicates that they will learn your preferred way between home and work, giving you information and updates on your most traveled route. Looking forward to getting this feature working well both ways.
New tagline - Waze - Driving is Fun Again
Waze has also selected a new tag line from reader submissions - the winner is "Driving is Fun Again". The winner just snagged a new iPad2 for their hard work...... clearly mine weren't quite as good.