The smartphone as navigator

October 30, 2009: 7:00 AM ET

New software transforms your phone into a GPS device – and a pretty good one, too

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Navigon's MobileNavigator app for the iPhone has features some standalone units lack. Photo: Navigon.

As my wife will tell you, I have a comically bad sense of direction. I once got lost driving home from the mall.

This makes me a prime candidate for a GPS device. I've used a few for brief stints, mostly on long road trips, but never got into the habit of using one for everyday errands. There are a couple of reasons for that. For one, it's a hassle to dig the thing out of the glove compartment. For another, entering an address on most of these things is a crazy-making experience.

My perspective changed recently, though, when I bought a new GPS unit for $70. Well, that's not exactly what happened. I actually downloaded a GPS-based iPhone (AAPL) app for $70.

Yes, 70. Seven-zero. I'll be the first to admit that it sounds crazy to pay that much for software that runs on a phone. The overwhelming majority of phone apps out there cost between 99 cents and $10. More

  • Heavy duty car navigation comes to the iPhone

    TomTom, one of the leading manufacturers of stand-alone GPS systems, rolled out its industrial strength iPhone car navigation software across the time zones Sunday, starting in New Zealand and ending with an app for the U.S. and Canadian markets early Monday.

    The price, $99.99 for the app and its maps (a car mount adaptor kit is sold separately), is high for an iPhone application and puts it well above competing software-only MORE

    - Aug 17, 2009 9:27 AM ET
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