Navigon iPhone app gets more new features

...including text-to-speech! For the first time, an iPhone-powered navigation app can announce actual street names. Better still, there's no charge for the update.

Navigon's MobileNavigator app continues to improve with features like text-to-speech and location sharing.

For the second time in as many months, Navigon has released an update to its MobileNavigator GPS app. The big news this time? Text-to-speech.

Since MobileNavigator debuted in late July, the App Store has grown crowded with competitors, including CoPilot Live, iGo My Way, and TomTom.

But not one of them offers the coveted text-to-speech feature (yet), which announces actual street names instead of just saying "turn right ahead."

MobileNavigator 1.2.0 adds that highly desirable capability--along with a few others. A new integrated iPod control provides one-tap access to your media library. A new location-sharing feature lets you e-mail your location, an address, or a point of interest. (If the recipient is also a MobileNavigator user, the attached link fires up the app with the destination already programmed in.)

Finally, the update includes automatic switching (based on time and location) between day and night modes. In other words, if it starts getting dark out, the app will switch to a less-glaring map view. Nice!

One other noteworthy change: It appears Navigon has settled on $89.99 as the price for MobileNavigator--$10 less than was originally planned. That's nice, but it's still higher than iGo ($79.99) and CoPilot ($34.99).

Also, real-time traffic updates are still MIA. While you're waiting on that, check out the Inrix Traffic app, which I've found to be an excellent road companion.

For the moment, the arrival of text-to-speech gives MobileNavigator an edge over competing GPS apps. If you've tried some or all of them, hit the comments to let me know which navigator you like best--and why.

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