August 26, 2009

iPhone and the GPS Revolution

TWICE has a good little article today looking at the explosion of iPhone applications that are hitting the iPhone to help you get through your navigationally challenged day. If you are a GPSLodge regular, you've seen articles on almost all of these, but when put together, the overview really starts to document the trend. I was remarking the other day that this summer is the summer that the road veered strongly away from the standalone GPS to a split pathway forward (for now maybe) of the smartphone and standalone GPS as the choices for navigation information in the future.

We've seen applications from TomTom, TeleNav, Navigon, iGo, and waze for getting you from here to there, while others have offered interesting approaches to the single problem of traffic, like Aha and Inrix. While Aha, is a crowdsourced model, the inrix application relies on its vast database of GPS probes, road sensors and the like to offer up a highly accurate picture of the traffic situation now and forecasted into the near future. According to TWICE, the Inrix model is 85 to 95 percent accurate, while others are 50 to 85 percent accurate. Users of the inrix Traffic! application will benefit from the accuracy while also becoming part of the anonymous data GPS probe data collection team.

Turn by turn directions on the iPhone is certainly left to be proven that it will take hold and deliver, but with the weight of the players behind it, one has to think that they can figure it out. there certainly are some shortcomings, including a drain on the battery, hard to hear turn directions and the smallish screen that the stand alone GPS market is countering by offering large and larger screens in most product lines. TomTom is solving for the battery issue and the turn volume issue with a hardware mount that includes charging and a speaker to offer a near-stand alone performance in the add-on package.

More at Twice

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Google - The New Crowdsource of Traffic Data?

Yesterday on the Google blog, it was announced that Google is indeed tracking and analyzing the traffic patterns and movement info of the Google maps users when they opt to show their location to Google, and expanding it nationally to US highways and arterial roads when data is available. By analyzing thousands or millions of phones with map and posted speed limit data, they should be able to start to assemble a traffic picture that starts to build accuracy when overlaid on top of a base set of data (to fill in the gaps).

"When you choose to enable Google Maps with My Location, your phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast you're moving. When we combine your speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, we can get a pretty good picture of live traffic conditions. We continuously combine this data and send it back to you for free in the Google Maps traffic layers."

The crowdsource sharing capability is available on the MyTouch 3G and the PalmPre; not the iPhone which doesn't support the crowdsource feature. See the Google Blog post for more information and a way that you can opt out if the whole idea of being anonymously tracked by google freaks you out too much.

More at Google blog

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 20, 2009

Aha for iPhone - Driver to Driver Network


Aha_Mobile_iPhone.jpg

Aha is the driver to driver network for road warriors who need to deal with and hear about traffic conditions on your road ahead. Aha is different, and while it is crowdsourcing some of the alerts, the system is based on underlying traffic reporting from Inrix. When drivers need to alert each other, they can send a "Shout" - a 15 second alert to others along the way warning them about the trouble they see on the road. Aha has incorporated content from other providers like restrooms from sitorsquat.com, restaurants from Yelp, and redlight cameras from photoenforced.com. The connected nature makes these feeds, and the possibilities pretty exciting. On the fun side of things, you can also send out Careoke sing-alongs and shouts about the stupid jerk who just cut you off.

The big difference in all of this is that Aha, is not map based; it is specifically designed to be a traffic application that offers you an easy "65-MPH" interface that you can interact with and be able to deal with while driving. The large icons tell you where the traffic alerts are, and offer a quick way to get recorded details about the incident. See the video demo below on the application.

The company, which soft launched its application two weeks ago in Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area, has expanded road and traffic coverage in the following major metropolitan areas:

o Dallas and San Antonio, TX

o Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Miami Beach, FL

o Seattle, WA

o Washington D.C.


Free at the iTunes Store - Aha Mobile App for the iPhone (iTunes link)

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 17, 2009

Navigon for iPhone - Free upgrade Available

Navigon has issued an upgrade to their iPhone application that is selling well at the iTunes store. The new upgrade offers the ability to plan routes ahead of time which can save precious time on the road, while also tying into the iPhone to call a Point of interest directly from the listing in the Navigon application. They also tweaked the ability to control volumes between the audio from the iPhone and the audio on the navigation application. Finally, the upgrade enables you to control which POI's are shown on the map; always a help if you are on th elook out for a gas station or a place to eat, etc.

at iTunes the Navigon App
icon (iTunes Link)

ArrowContinue reading: "Navigon for iPhone - Free upgrade Available"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 10, 2009

iPhone Car Mounts While Navigating by GPS

iPhoneMount.jpg

With the already launched TeleNav, Navigon, and iGo navigation applications for the iPhone, there is bound to be some need for a good mount for the iPhone while driving and navigating. The TomTom solution will offer a mount with integrated charger, but for others there is a need to find an aftermarket source. I have used and reviewed several Arkon mounts in the past for regular GPS mounts, as aftermarket offerings beyond what came with the unit and found them to be very good. One that I did not necessarily like was the one for the vents. I couldn't get a confident mount of the GPS to the vent when I was putting it on, and felt like I might snap vent louver. They offer several for the iPhone to suit your needs, and I would offer the ones other than the vet mount as good places to start your iPhone navigation journey.

At Arkon for the iPhone 3G Generation   

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 7, 2009

Map My Ride - Track Rides and Runs with iPhone

If you are into keeping track of your runs or rides, you may want to check out MapMyRide or MapMyRun - a website and smart phone application that allows you to map out where you ran or rode, and then upload it to keep track of it and share. The community has a lot of existing rides and runs to share, which makes exploring new areas a lot easier. I like to compare the ides around my area for some new extensions or simply better riding conditions that what I already know. The widget below can get you started on a ride search.

More at MapMyRide.com


Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 4, 2009

TeleNav to Debut with T-Mobile MyTouch 3G

TeleNav_GPS_Navigator_myTouch_3G.jpg

The android based MyTouch from T-Mobile is coming out fully supported with the TeleNav Navigator available on day 1 as a free trial. The eagerly anticipated phone is the latest salvo in the hip-cool smartphone wars, and by many accounts, it is a powerful little device. The GPS capability enables the TeleNav Navigator to offer automatic re-routing, Says Street names, voice based destination entry, traffic feeds, and gas prices. One interesting aspect is that the TeleNav service will also coordinate to email you current traffic conditions on set routes at set times so you know what traffic will be like before you head out to work.



The MyTouch from T-Mobile is available tomorrow.

Full TeleNav press release below.

ArrowContinue reading: "TeleNav to Debut with T-Mobile MyTouch 3G"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 28, 2009

Navigon iPhone App - First Impressions

Navigon_iPhone_App.jpg

Navigon has launched their $70 Navigator for the iPhone in the US, with map coverage of the US and Canada. There have been a few stories posted with feedback on the performance; bottom line is that it works well, when compared to a basic navigation device standard. At this writing, it's #2 in the paid Applications list for navigation at iTunes.

Assuming that it needed to strip features for price or for size of the application, Navigon did not include Text to Speech capability, or phone numbers in the database. They may have just run out of time; there is a free update on it's way to help you out with new features including: Phone Numbers of POI's, Navigon's Advanced Route Planning feature, Additional map view options, and something that they are referring to as optimized volume control when using the iPod function and the navigation device at the same time.

I know that you would need to shut off the auto-dimming capabilities for the iPhone in the settings area to keep the device lit up while using it. Trust me, this will be a battery sucking device if you are driving around with the backlight and the GPS blazing away - not unique to the Navigon MobileNavigator though.

One commenter here at GPSLodge also noted that the phone got pretty warm while crunching away on all of that work navigating him around.

CNet has a quick article posted about the Navigon capabilities which is worth reading. I'll continue to add more as I see good ones pop up.

At iTunes - Navigon App icon (iTunes Link)

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July 26, 2009

Garmin Nuvifone Ships this week..... in Asia


garmin_nuvifone_g60.jpg

Yes, the Garmin Nuvifone G60 is shipping in Asia this coming week, and will be the first launch of many, I would assume, for the long awaited phone. The touchscreen phone of course also doubles as a Garmin navigator, and runs on a Linux OS. No word on US launch, we'll keep you posted.

Via CNet


Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 10, 2009

Navigon 2 Weeks Away from US iPhone App Launch - LITE Version Available Now

Navigon_iPhone_App.jpg

Navigon is about 2 weeks away from launching their full US iPhone Application and as a little teaser, they have launched a LITE version to let you see how the full version will work.

To be clear this FREE lite version is not a fully working GPS navigation software Application; it is a demo that let's you see how the interface works, the map quality and what the overall system can do for you. Don't download the thing thinking that you are going to navigate to grandma's house for dinner. At 1.3GB, the application is pretty substantial, and you probably want to do it down to your computer and then sync it. I pulled it down over WiFi directly to the phone and it took quite a while.

In order to use something like this, you'll want to go and change the "Auto-Lock" feature to "Never" so that the screen won't go blank when navigating. Settings--> General--> Auto-Lock.

Navigon feels that the price in Europe of about $99 worked rather well to drive volume, according to TWICE. I would expect a similar price for the US. The concern twist will come when TomTom announces their application and hardware suite pricing this Fall, giving Navigon some well-known brand name competition. The price for these two applications will be paid upfront while TeleNav's solution through AT&T uses a monthly fee structure for their fees.

Navigon LITE at the iTunes APP Store (iTunes Link)

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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