iPhone Navigon gets more features, reduced price

Navigon adds more features and reduces the price for its iPhone GPS application.

The Coordinates feature makes longitude and latitude coordinates a destination that can be sent to others via e-mail. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

If you haven't purchased a GPS app for your iPhone 3G(S), now's a great time to do it. Wednesday, TomTom slashed the price of its app to just $50, and today Navigon followed suite with a price reduction and more.

The company released the fourth major upgrade to its iPhone navigation app, the MobileNavigator . Version 1.3 added essential features such as Live Traffic; version 1.4 adds features that, though not essential, significantly enhance the navigation experience with the app.

Navigon's iPod Mode now has a very well-thought-out Audiobook mode. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

Among the new features, my favorites are the Audiobook Mode, Direct Help, and Coordinates. I tried them out and found them to be very useful.

Originally, Navigon was one of the first iPhone GPS apps to offer iPod control features within its GPS app, which allows users to control their music playback without having to exit out of the app. Now with the Audiobook Mode, this feature automatically rewinds a second of the book while the audio-driving instructions are given and resumes playing when the instructions stop.

Direct Help allows users to quickly access local help in an emergency situation. It comes with four predefined categories, including roadside assistance, police station, hospital, and pharmacy. Though you will, of course, wish you would never have to use it, this could be a life saver when you are in an unfamiliar area.

The Coordinates feature uses precise longitude and latitude coordinates as a destination and allows you to send the coordinates via e-mail. The recipient of the e-mail can launch that location either in Google Maps or start navigating to it if he receives the e-mail on an iPhone with the MobileNavigator installed.

The new Direct Help feature could be a life saver in an emergency situation. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

Other than that, the 1.4 upgrade also includes these new features/changes:

  • Google Local Search and enhanced pedestrian mode.
  • Turn-by-turn route list provides a detailed list of directions, which update automatically during navigation.
  • Favorites displayed in map: Destinations marked as favorites by the user are now displayed on the map in a named flag icon.
  • Swipe screen integration for traffic messages: Users can now browse Traffic Live messages with the flick of a finger.
  • Contacts as interim destinations: One-tap sets contacts as an interim destination. Using contact groups in the phone book as interim destinations is now also possible.
  • GPS display enhancements: If the iPhone GPS signal becomes too weak during navigation, indicated by a red bar on the top of the display, MobileNavigator now calculates the approximate position and shows the estimated position in the map to provide better orientation. Active route guidance remains switched off but continues normal navigation until a valid signal is available.
  • 3D map zooming: Users can zoom in on the map section, both in the 2D and 3D displays, using the iPhone's fingertip control.
  • Country information: When the user crosses a country border, this points out the country's most important traffic regulations, such as the maximum permissible speeds or alcohol limits.

The best thing about this new update, however, is the fact that Navigon, for a limited time from now until January 11, has reduced the price of the app to just $60, down from the regular $90.

With this update, Navigon's MobileNavigator is now by far the most comprehensive GPS navigation application for the iPhone. I can't think of any features any other similar apps offer that it doesn't.

The 1.4 update is available now via the App Store. Make sure you use a broadband connection to download it as it's about 1.5GB in size.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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