Price of In-Car Navigation Drops to Almost Nothing, Courtesy of Apps
GogoLink application for Chevy Sonic, Spark, Telenav’s Scout offer turn-by-turn navigation and other features -- for free.
It’s hard to justify paying $1,000 or more for an automaker’s in-dash navigation system when you can get the same service -- and sometimes even better -- on your smartphone, albeit on a much smaller screen.
Automakers are starting to recognize this directional shift in navigation and are responding by offering a hybrid approach such as Toyota’s Entune, which combines Bing search with an in-dash nav system. (In this case, though, the car buyer still has to spring for an expensive navigation option.)
Now, Chevrolet is using a version of the Gogo Navigator iPhone app to offer cloud-based navigation on its entry-level vehicles, the Sonic and Spark. Chevy is calling GogoLink an "embedded smartphone application" that allows Sonic and Spark owners to get voice-guided turn-by-turn directions and other info for free. And Telenav, a supplier of navigation technology for mobile and automotive companies, this week released the free mobile version of its robust Scout nav app that will be part of Ford Sync’s AppLink feature later this year.
Chevy says GogoLink provides “full-function navigation” through the MyLink infotainment system available in the Spark and Sonic. Other GogoLink feature include:
- Emergency contact info such as police, fire and the nearest hospital.
- Thousands of points of interest.
- Google local search.
- A “where am I?” locator.
- Live traffic info with accident reports, lane closures and alternative routes.
- 3-D maps.
- The ability to store map data to drivers' smartphones so that they have access to turn-by-turn directions and other stored info even when they don’t have a cell signal or reception is poor.
The GogoLink navigation app feature won’t become available until after the Spark goes on sale, so initial models will require a software update at the dealer in order to use the app. MyLink, which connects the car to a driver’s smartphone via Bluetooth or USB, comes standard on the 1LT and 2LT versions of the Spark and on the Sonic LTZ and forthcoming Sonic RS model. It’s available as an option on Sonic LS and LT models.
GogoLink pricing will be announced later, but you can try the mobile version of Telenav’s Scout now by downloading it for free from the iTunes App Store. (It will also be available later this year for Android devices.) Scout is the first HTML5 browser-based navigation app, which means mobile app developers can incorporate its functions by adding just one line of code to provide turn-by-turn, voice-guided directions -- without the user having to exit an app.
For drivers of Ford vehicles with Sync AppLink, in addition to free navigation capability, having Telenav Scout on board will mean easy and quick map updates -- especially compared with the clunky and cumbersome process of updating an antiquated DVD-based in-dash nav system or even a hard-disk map database.
These two development further signal the death knell of in-dash nav. And it may also be a good time to put that portable navigation system on eBay, before it’s too late.
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