Resistance Was Futile: Garmin Finally Launches GPS iPhone App

By , Jan 4, 2011

I don’t think there was any question as to if Garmin would release an iPhone app, it was more of just a question of when. After dragging their feet for what seemed like an eternity, Garmin has finally released its first iPhone navigation app, entitled StreetPilot.

Is it too late for the company who is widely considered to be the best manufacturer of stand alone GPS systems, or can they sway customers away from Navigon and TomTom?

Oddly enough, the app has been available for some time now, since December 23, 2010. Understandably, Garmin decided that CES was the place to make the best splash with an announcement; hence the announcement was saved for today.

The first thing that stands out to me is the lack of different SKU’s for the different regions of the United States; Navigon does something similar, and Tom Tom offers different apps for different countries.

Thus far, it seems like Garmin is making simplicity the motto for all facets of its iPhone endeavors. Those of you who are familiar with Garmin will appreciate the consistency between their stand alone GPS’ and their iPhone app.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of Garmin. I actually regret getting rid of my stand alone Garmin Nuvi in favor of Navigon on the iPhone, because the Garmin seemed to be more intuitive, and easier to use.

Here are a few of the features that you can look forward to with Garmin StreetPilot:

  • Always up-to-date maps for the U.S. and Canada
  • Voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions including street names
  • Real-time traffic updates to avoid traffic delays
  • Speed limits for most major roads
  • Integrated Local Search
  • Millions of points of interest
  • Lane assist with junction view for complicated interchanges
  • Address book integration to navigate to contacts
  • Integrated iPod® music controls
  • Multi-tasking on iOS4 for navigating while calling
  • Current weather conditions and forecast
  • Place calls directly from search listing
  • Navigate in both portrait and landscape mode
  • Easy to install with quick load times

It looks like Garmin has covered all of the important bases. Even still, I’m a bit hesitant to purchase StreetPilot because I’ve already invested so much into Navigon.

When it’s all said and done, I’ll probably end up switching, but I’m going to let the decision marinate for a little while.

Garmin StreetPilot is available right now in the App Store for $39.99.

What about you? Do you already have a GPS app? Would you consider switching to StreetPilot?

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  • JoN

    too bad… i would have bought this… but myself and now my family are all owners of navigon… no point in doubling up…

  • Joeyjojo

    Well I have Navigon too and to be honest with u, by the look of those screen shots it not much to look at like Navigon is. Even tom-tom doesn’t look that good. Navigon wins hands down. :-)

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

      I don’t know man, I like the simplicity of Garmin. The last thing you need is a lot of complex details while trying to keep your eye on the road ;)

  • soccerkrzy

    I love TomTom’s app and use it all the time. Probably the best non-jailbroken app I’ve bought. The latest update of TomTom includes all red-light cameras and permanent speed trap warnings as well.

    I’m curious as to how the maps will always be up-to-date, does that mean you will require a data connection to use it?

  • AppleBits

    Hmmm. I don’t have any of them, yet. Looking at them all in the App Store (and prices), I’m pondering the best one for me. I like simplicity, but not stupidity. lol
    I like the in-depth look of Navigon, but I like the simpler look of Garmin.
    Price is a little less for Garmin, too.
    What to do…….

    • AppleBits

      I hate when I enter my info wrong….I want the email replies. >( lol

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

      Garmin…. I haven’t tried yet, but if it’s anything like the stand alone, I say Garmin.

      • soccerkrzy

        Having owned both stand-alones of TomTom & Garmin, TomTom wins. The TomTom app is exactly the same as the stand-alone, so I’d recommend the TomTom.

    • DomPerignon

      Get TomTom!

  • appletiser

    I’ve used numerous GPS devices over the years and I have to say, except for their mountain bike models, Garmin’s car units have performed most abysmally. whether similar inaccuracies transpose themselves via this app, which obviously differs due to utilising the in-built iPhone gps not Garmin’s own, will remain to be seen but all confidence I had in their automotive products was lost a long time ago.

  • Kev

    My girlfriend has a stand alone Garmin Nuvi and the directions at roundabouts are so much clearer on iphone tom tom. Rather than just saying third exit for example, it also says turn left, straight on or right along with which exit it is. I find tom tom much clearer generally (Not just because it is mine!)

    • Irha

      For the matter of fact, you can’t turn left at a roundabout, so Tomtom’s directions could actually be interpreted incorrectly to cause to make a mistake.

      • Nebo1ss

        When someone says roundabout instead of circle assume they are not in the us but UK. You can turn left in the UK.

      • Irha

        Makes perfect sense now, since in UK you drive on left side of the road, you can turn left, but not turn right (the exact opposite of US). Incidentally, I live in a town in US where there are several tens of roundabouts.

  • Z

    I can get a stand alone GPS for 40 bux off of craig’s list. Wow, that beats LogMeIn!

  • Chris

    EPIC FAIL !! Needs data. Will not work without data. That, is just dumb!

    • chimmay

      Forreal. navigon FTW

    • Irha

      Thinking the same, I would rather use MapQuest for free rather than pay $40 for Garmin.

  • http://www.pinoy24videos.com Pinoy 24

    I already love my TOMTOM, so I do not think I’d even take the time and money to ever try Garmin. Although I have and love my GARMIN handheld GPS for mountain biking and hiking stuff :)

  • Sy

    Not in uk store

  • zjg

    The Garmin maps aren’t stored locally on the phone like TomTom and Navigon. Thus No Service = No Maps.

  • Jason masters

    To be honest these are all resource hungry bs apps the real one that is easy to use fast not a whole ton of crap is the AT&T navigator and do like I do bill it to a company paid cellphone lol!!!!

  • Bill

    Garmin provides simplicity but the overall maps needs an overhaul…big time! I used it twice today and unfortunately doesnt meet expectations. Hopefully someday :)

  • Monkey

    for those comparing Navigon to Garmin: no difference except the interface. Both uses Navteq (Navigon owns Navteq and Garmin licenses it)

    • Sam

      Nokia owns 100% of Navteq

  • Fikree

    Is this garmin only for usa and canada? Or is it global?

  • iPhoNerd

    Since no offline map saved to the phone itself, and it need good cell signal, is it going to use a lot of data or what? I am currently using 250mb/$15 a month plan. I can’t get Garmin app before I know this. Pls help!

  • Openg

    Is this garmin only applicable in usa and canada? What about other country?

  • http://www.mrben1.co.uk MrBen

    What is the point of a GPS app which only works when you have a data connection? As we all know, data signal strength differs hugely as you move around, and you can just imagine that you will lose signal just as you approach an important junction and get lost!

    For those of you in the UK & Ireland, try out navfree – it’s free and it works well, and you don’t need a constant data connection!

  • ahmed al-khuzae

    i live in dubai
    ive tried most gps apps
    they all have incomple maps to say the least
    ,, i kinda have to admit that with like 20 new POI everyday dubai is super hard to keep up with

    but we had no problem with my dad’s garmin gps
    , so safe to say , im waiting for the uae app

    until then tommtom is nice
    i like everything about it ,, except the not always finding where i want to go part

  • Noisy

    What a ugly interface! To bad I always loved garmin stand alone gps devices but this is just ugly.
    That’s why I removed navigon and started using tom-tom.
    Maybe a hint for garmin, RETINA!!

  • Noisy

    What a ugly interface! To bad I always loved garmin stand alone gps devices but this is just ugly.
    That’s why I removed navigon and started using tom-tom.
    Maybe a hint for garmin, R e t i n a !

    • anon

      snob.. how is the interface ugly? it looks the same as all other interfaces… kids today are all so hung up on this apple idea of ‘pretty’ graphics – most probably wouldn’t care if the app worked great (not saying this Garmin app is any good) … as long as it looks BEAUTIFUL (ie- white background with lots of glass reflection effects), it doesn’t matter

  • Ricardo

    Beside ugly interface, the major drawback is that you need at least 3G to download maps as you drive.

  • Lucky

    As i live in india, its hard to find 3g or even GPRS sometime. i use mapmyindia. it doesnt require any wifi or data connection. i already have preloaded maps of the countries i freq. fly. it works awesome.

    i am not going to buy this anyway and that is for sure.

  • Alice

    Having to rely on cellphone coverage to get a map is a complete dealbreaker for a 40 dollar app. At that price they are competing with Navigon and TomTom both who put maps on your device and can be used when you aren’t in cellphone coverage range (I don’t care who is your provider, if you travel you will find yourself somewhere without cellphone coverage). I mean that was the main reason (as well as turn by turn instructions, but more so being able to use my device as a true GPS where I’m not reliant on cellphone coverage) for my purchase of a 40 dollar app on my iPhone to navigate with. I can’t imagine any place I’ve been to that if you aren’t leaving the metro area and going out in the surrounding rural area (especially if you live in a mountainous area) you won’t find yourself in a spot without coverage.

    And without maps being on the device they are putting themselves on the level of mapquest (which gives you voice directions as well) and Google maps (no turn by turn voice directions but that’s not worth 40 dollars extra over) both of which are free.

    I’m glad I didn’t wait for this. Navigon has its issues (overall I’m happy with it though) and I certainly have had good experience with Garmin in the past, but I’d end up buying Navigon or TomTom even if I had held my breath to wait for Garmin to come up with something.

  • Johnny

    I waited for Garmin because I loved my stand alone. Problem is, I live in Niagara Falls and cross the border a lot, which is when I need navigation most. So I guess they expect me to pay data roaming charges all the time? What good is a GPS app to a Canadian that won’t work in the USA w/o costing an arm and leg? Most Canadians travel to the USA at some point in the life of their GPS I’d bet. Guess I’ll finally give in and buy the TomTom app. :(

  • Andy

    is anyone else getting an error saying iit cant connect on the 6.5.3 version? im on a jailbroken 4g on 4.2.1.. it only started happening the other day…