The iPhone GPS app market unleashed by the release of the iPhone 3.0 software update is getting more interesting by the day, with several developers in an arms race to add new features to their initial offerings.
Taking the lead in the GPS app race is Navigon MobileNavigator, which recently added support for spoken street names?a major failing in the three apps that I previewed in a Macworld Video last month. My own in-car navigation box doesn?t even speak street names (other than numbered freeways), and it sure makes a big difference.
Last week, I got to spend a little bit of time with Navigon?s Johan-Till Broer, who showed me the next version of MobileNavigator, due as an update sometime in October. For an extra in-app purchase, it adds live traffic to the party, downloading traffic updates over the digital cell network and rerouting you around slow spots. The traffic update also does a better job of estimating the speeds of various roads without live traffic data. The end result should be that MobileNavigator will do a better job of suggesting the fastest route you should take to your destination, based on both current conditions and the time of day you?re traveling.
Sygic, maker of the Sygic Mobile Maps GPS navigation app, recently updated its app to support spoken street names, as well as catching up with the other apps by integrating the addresses of the contacts in your iPhone?s address book. I?ve found Sygic Mobile Maps to be a solid app, although it feels more like a port of a standalone GPS device than a native iPhone app. However, you can?t beat the price?Sygic is trying to drive sales of its updated app by reducing the price (temporarily, at least) to $40 for an app containing only United States maps and $60 for the app containing maps of all of North America.