The first voice guided navigation GPS system in North America for the iPhone was AT&T Navigator (see my review) that was launched back in June. I was very impressed with the software and service and used it quite a bit last weekend on an out of town trip where I brought no physical maps along. There are pros and cons to a connected, subscription-based solution and the major complaint is that a data connection is required for navigation. I just read a press release over on Gear Diary where Navigon announced the first navigation solution for the iPhone and iPod touch in North America (Navigon previously launched in Europe) where the maps live on the device so no active data connection is needed.
The features and functions listed on the Navigon iPhone page include the following:
* 2D and 3D map displays * Can be used in portrait and landscape format * Precise voice announcements * Intelligent address entry * Reality View Pro (realistic display of motorway interchanges and exits) * Lane Assistant Pro * Real signpost display * Speed Assistant with adjustable audio-visual warning * Day and night mode for map display * Direct access and navigation to contacts saved in the iPhone's address book * The latest NAVTEQ map material including more than two million (EU version) places of interest (POIs) * Navigation is automatically resumed after an incoming phone call * Quick access to user-defined POIs in the area and along the route * Take Me Home function with a single click * Automatic language selection to match the iPhone's user language
The feature list is quite impressive and I am particularly interested in trying out the Lane Assistant Pro and Reality View Pro that I have heard so much about in the past on their PND devices. Unlike AT&T Navigator, Navigon's solution gives you direct access to contacts in your address book. I don't see anything in the list about support for the iPhone 3GS compass and so far Google Maps seems to be the only mapping software that supports this functionality.
One feature I really enjoy with AT&T Navigator that I don't see here is the ability to send addresses to the software in advance of your trip. I wonder if you can setup trips in advance so you can quickly jump in your vehicle and head out when you know you have a trip planned. I did just read in the free update section that route planning functions with several destinations is coming so I am going to go ahead and purchase the application. BTW, it is a 1.3 GB download.
I also do not see any traffic update support or any other "connected" features and wonder if this capability will be possible in the future as well. There must be some kind of connectivity to get the preplanned routes onto the iPhone.
The full, one-time price of Navigon MobileNavigator North America (iTunes link) is $99.99, but from now until 15 August you can buy it for $69.99. Since I have 6 hour and 30+ hour road trips coming up very soon I plan to post some thoughts here on the blog relating my experiences and the software's performance because I know it is a hefty sum to pay and want you to all be as informed as possible.