TomTom and Navigon Bringing Turn-by-Turn GPS Car Navigation to iPhone

One of the featured demos at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday was TomTom for iPhone, a forthcoming turn-by-turn GPS navigation solution. Turn-by-turn car navigation has been a highly anticipated function for the iPhone whose deployment has been delayed in part by numerous hurdles imposed by Apple's SDK terms and restrictions from map providers on the use of their data. Several major vendors have been promising that they are working on such projects, with a small handful of applications even having been released.

TomTom last year asserted at the time of the iPhone 3G launch that it was working on developing turn-by-turn navigation, with additional confirmation coming several months later. According to this week's keynote demo and an associated announcement, TomTom's offerings, which will include both the software app and a hardware "car kit", will become available following the launch of iPhone OS 3.0 next week. Pricing has yet to be announced.

The TomTom solution combines two new TomTom products to provide users with state of the art in-car navigation on their iPhone 3G:

- The TomTom navigation application for iPhone; an Apple version of TomTom's award-winning turn-by-turn navigation software, including IQ Routes and latest maps from Tele Atlas;

- The TomTom car kit for iPhone; a specially developed car kit for secure docking, enhanced GPS performance, clear voice instructions, hands-free calling and in-car charging.

TomTom has also released a brief promotional video demonstrating the hardware setup and providing a glimpse at the software interface:


TomTom is not the only company still promising to bring turn-by-turn car navigation to the iPhone. German GPS navigation firm Navigon responded to TomTom's news with a press release announcing that it will be bringing its own MobileNavigator solution to the iPhone by the end of June.

Before the end of this month iPhone users will be able to kit out their smartphones with the professional navigation software from App Stores across the globe. "With the new OS 3.0 operating system, Apple has made the use of navigation software on the iPhone possible, and NAVIGON has quickly managed to adapt the MobileNavigator software to the new firmware. The iPhone can now be transformed into a versatile, fully functional navigator", quotes Egon Minar, CEO of NAVIGON AG.

Navigon promises a free "lite" version of the software, which will provide maps and the ability to display points of interest but no route guidance, and a full version that will provide full turn-by-turn functionality. Pricing for the full version as not yet been announced.

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