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Navigon adds real-time traffic info to iPhone app

Navigon announced live traffic capabilities for its popular iPhone navigation app to calculate better routes, with the hope of avoiding traffic congestion.

Navigon on Thursday announced live traffic capabilities for its popular iPhone navigation app.

The feature, called "Traffic Live," will be available in October for the North American version of its MobileNavigator app. It utilizes real-time traffic information and historic data to calculate better routes, with the hope of avoiding traffic congestion.

So how does it work, you ask?

The feature uses real-time speed data from drivers across North America, including commercial fleets (trucks, taxis) and GPS-using regular drivers.

For example, if several vehicles on a road report slow speed, the system recognizes congestion and provides an alternate route.

Navigon says the feature also uses information from traffic cameras, speed sensors and conventional traffic messages from a radio network.

I had the fortune of seeing a preview of the app last night, and it's a neat trick.

The catch, of course, is the price. Dedicated GPS navigation devices -- which can be anywhere from $80 to $700 -- are popular, but the adoption of turn-by-turn directions using a previously-owned device (iPhone) is still in its infancy.

In other words: if you've got an iPhone and were thinking about buying a GPS navigation device, it's worth a look.

The Traffic Live feature will be available as an in-app, one-time purchase for $24.99. (For the first four weeks, it will be available for $19.99.)

The entire Navigon MobileNavigator app will set you back $89.99 from the App Store. Again, there are no subscription fees for the service.

The app requires an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS with iPhone OS 3.0.