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Navigon MobileNavigator Update Coming This Fall

Hot on the heels of Garmin’s release of StreetPilot onDemand yesterday, Navigon announced some of the details of their latest update to MobileNavigator, which is coming this Fall. I’ve been using the app almost every day for over two years now, and I’m a huge fan. It has the most available features, and has the  best looking and easiest to read maps of  all the iOS navigation apps I’ve tried (which would be pretty much all of them).

However, despite the fact that MobileNavigator is my favorite iOS navigation app, its interface is showing some age these days. While MobileNavigator has the most features in this category, its menu system has become overgrown and cluttered, making it more difficult to use while driving. I have found myself using a few other GPS apps more and more for their ease of use and more polished POI search interfaces.

Thankfully, Navigon is not only adding new features in their coming update, but they are also revamping MobileNavigator’s user interface and menu system to make them easier to use. It was one of the first GPS apps to leave more proprietary interface elements of stand-alone PNDs behind for a more iOS look and feel, so it is good to see them taking the next step forward.

Navigon is making one particularly bold move in their next release in regards to map updates. A few GPS app developers, such as Magellan, have come out and stated that map updates will be free for the life of their current app, Navigon is taking a different approach. They will now be offering quarterly updates to both the maps and POI database for a one-time, up front fee. Considering that users of stand-alone Personal Navigation Devices either pay per year or per update for new map info and POIs, Navigon’s approach seems to be a happy medium, if their price is right.

Navigon is also taking a step toward alleviating one of the biggest issues with iOS GPS apps. The majority of the apps in the App Store that have on-board map data require the user to store data for either the entire US, or all of North America. This usually takes anywhere from 1-3 GB of your device’s storage, which is a huge chunk to dedicate to a single app, even one as useful as a fully functional GPS app.

In this coming update, Navigon will add the ability for users to download only the states or regions that they need to their devices, saving much needed space. Additional maps can then be added or deleted by users as needed, right from the app. This is a very important addition to MobileNavigator, as users of smaller capacity iPhones and iPads may have been precluded from using apps with on-board maps in the past, due to space concerns. GPS apps that stream map data are a viable alternative, but for anyone who travels in rural areas and has AT&T service like I do, that isn’t always going to be the best solution. I know I am looking forward to being able to clear up some additional space on my iPhone and iPad. I only hope that other GPS app vendors take notice of this new feature, and follow suit.

It looks like Navigon is continuing to stay ahead of an increasingly tight race in the App Store’s Navigation category. Several of their competitors have gained ground on them by adding features, and most especially, by adding polish and making their apps easier to use. However, it looks like Navigon has done a good job of responding with a balance of key additions and refinements to the existing features. The jury is still out on the price Navigon will charge for their quarterly map updates, but the only problem that I can see today is that we have to wait a little while to get our hands on this upgrade.

 

NAVIGON Announces Next Generation Smartphone Navigation Apps
Next Generation Android and iPhone Apps Include New Map Management and Simplified User Interface; Navigation App for Windows Phone 7 to Launch this Year

IFA Berlin, Germany, September 1, 2011—NAVIGON AG, a leading provider of mobile phone on-board navigation, today announced the second generation of its award-winning navigation apps for Android devices and the iPhone will be available this fall. The new versions redefine core elements of smartphone navigation, including an industry first approach to map management and updates, an even more effortless and intuitive user interface, and new features not found in any other navigation app. Current Android and iPhone users are eligible for free upgrades to the new versions. In addition, NAVIGON is making its successful navigation app available for Windows Phone 7 later this year.

“Over the last two years, we’ve continuously added new features to our navigation apps, transforming them into the most feature-rich smartphone GPS apps available,” said Gerhard Mayr, NAVIGON vice-president of worldwide mobile phones and new markets. “For our new generation of apps, we went back to the drawing board to see how we could elevate smartphone navigation to the next level. Feedback from our users suggests that a better way to manage and update maps and a more intuitive user interface are top priorities.”

Next Generation Android and iPhone Navigation Apps
NAVIGON’s navigation apps for Android devices and the iPhone include the following new features:

– New Map Management and Update Capabilities
NAVIGON’s new MyMaps function allows users to pick which map regions to download to their device. Users who, for example, own the USA version can select the states they want immediately and download additional regions at a later time. This ability prolongs memory; since users store only the maps they need on their device. In addition, NAVIGON FreshMaps offers quarterly map updates. The new map updating service uses trusted, field-verified, and quality-controlled map and points of interest updates from NAVTEQ to ensure the most accurate maps possible. Users can keep their maps accurate and reliable by receiving quarterly map updates for a one-time fee for the lifetime of the product.

– Simplified User Interface
Navigation has become more complex over the past several years, so NAVIGON redesigned its user interface to provide a better overview and making it easier to use. Each application is customized for its operating system to provide the best possible experience on each platform. The next generation of NAVIGON’s iPhone app, for example, allows users to easily switch between different pages with animated menus and new multi-touch user gestures. In addition, it’s easy to rotate and zoom maps in any direction when in 3D mode and tap points of interest on the map to instantly add them to a route.

– Additional Features
NAVIGON’s next generation of apps also includes new features not found in other navigation apps. The new Android app, for example, features Zagat’s ratings and reviews as an in-app purchase, turning Android devices into detailed travel guides. Additional features include live speed camera warnings to alert drivers of speed traps and a cockpit function that displays real-time driving data, allowing enthusiasts to monitor driving behaviors.

Windows Phone 7 App Coming Soon
NAVIGON’s premium navigation app soon will be available for Windows Phone 7 users. The app includes many signature features that have made NAVIGON’s apps successful on Android devices and the iPhone, including on-board maps, spoken turn-by-turn directions, visual lane guidance, live traffic information and rerouting, among many other features. NAVIGON’s new app runs on Windows Phone 7.5 and also takes advantage of new features made available to developers with this new release. These features include the augmented reality function Reality Scanner, which provides an instant and effortless way of identifying nearby destinations while on foot; an option to select address information directly from the phone’s contact list; and the ability to save a favorite or home address as a shortcut on the start screen.

For more information, please visit: www.navigon.com.

Find NAVIGON on:
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NAVIGON_US
Facebook: www.navigon.com/facebook
Flickr: www.navigon.com/flickr
YouTube: www.navigon.com/youtube

About NAVIGON:
NAVIGON AG is a world-leading provider of premium navigation technology. The company delivers branded personal navigation devices and software for smartphones and the automotive industry. Founded in 1991, NAVIGON led the way for the last 20 years with innovative German technology and design. NAVIGON offers on-board navigation applications for all leading smartphone platforms and is present in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South Africa.

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  • Oliverf

    How do you stack this app up against GPS Drive by MotionX?

    • jhrogersii

      MotionX is really good for what it is, but it’s like comparing a Lexus to a Chevy Impala. They will both get you where you are going. One costs a lot more than the other up front, but offers a vast advantage in features.

      MotionX is a great value if you only need a GPS occasionally. However, if you are buying yearly subscriptions for MotionX, then Navigon is a better way to go. Over time, you will pay around the same amount, but get a lot more features and flexibility. Navigon has several sales each year, so just keep an eye out when the new update comes, and grab MobileNavigator at a great price.

  • Oliverf

    Thanks. I’ve been a happy MotionX user for the
    Past year and a half. I agree pricing wise and will consider. Good article.

  • jhrogersii

    No problem, and thanks for the kind words.

  • hockeynut

    First off, the “new” interface looks like an exact duplicate to the Garmin interface. Gee, what a surprise there. After all, Garmin bought Navigon, so what would you expect?

    Second, the allure to Navigon, besides it’s nice GPS look, was that you initially paid more for the app, then got ALL updates for free, including maps. Well, Garmin, being the crooks that they are and never missing an opportunity to gouge it’s customers over and over again, has decided that lifetime maps updates are being taken off the Navigon table. Thanks for stabbing us in the back, Navigon. I paid $99 when Navigon first went on sale with my iPhone 3G, then another $20 for traffic. How much more do I need to pay? And besides, the add on in app purchase for traffic is pathetic since the traffic module rarely works, and if it does it is impossible to view the traffic hotspots from the main GPS screen. Having to touch the screen while driving is just plain dangerous.

    I just got an email from Garmin stating that my PND unit is due for a map update…at $80 for a lifetime, if I want it. What do you bet that Garmin will want to stick it to Navigon users for another $50-80 for “lifetime” updates? It’s always more revenue stream for Garmin.

    Personally, if the lifetime map updates are anything more than $20, I’m switching to MotionX Drive. Their app is cheap, their annual voice guidance is on sale right now for $9.99 a year, and I can decipher the traffic situation easily and cleanly on their maps.

    Plus, you are now able to predownload the maps and route you need, so if you are out of data range, you aren’t messed up without GPS.

    Looks like MotionX Drive is getting it right, while Navigon/Garmin is only thinking about their wallets and how to pad them.

    • jhrogersii

      Yeah, I’ve been nervous that Garmin would screw up all the good momentum that Navigon had built up over the last three years on iOS. I hope they don’t go down that road.

      If Navigon does go off the deep end, you should also check out the Magellan app. They did a really nice job with their last upgrade. The traffic is “flow based,” rather than event driven like Navigon. Also, the search interface has a better, and easier to use design. Navigon really needs to simplify things, and do away with all of the sub-menus. It is reasonably priced, and performs very well. It has been my second favorite nav app for a while now.