Turn-by-Turn GPS Apps Begin to Appear: Gokivo, Sygic, Navigon

With the launch of iPhone OS 3.0 last week, many users have been looking forward to the release of turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps. While TomTom for iPhone garnered the most publicity due to its demo as part of the keynote presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, several other companies have been developing similar apps and rushing to bring them to the App Store.

Last week, Gokivo + Yahoo! Local Search [App Store, $0.99 plus $9.99/month subscription] appeared in the App Store, offering turn-by-turn GPS navigation in the United States based on Yahoo! Maps. Gokivo initially received a tremendous amount of criticism, as its App Store description gave no indication that an additional $9.99/month subscription was required in order to access turn-by-turn guidance. The App Store description has since been updated to clearly reflect which features are accessible with the $0.99 base version and which require the monthly subscription. Gokivo has received mixed reviews at best so far, with the nearly $120/year subscription price tag also remaining a significant stumbling block for many users.

Sygic last week also released two GPS applications for Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia. MobileMaps Australia & New Zealand [App Store, US$64.99] utilizes data from Telstra's Whereis service to offer thorough turn-by-turn GPS functionality throughout Australia and New Zealand, while MobileMaps Asia - South-East [App Store, US$79.99] uses data from Tele Atlas to offer navigation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

The most recent major entrant to the turn-by-turn GPS iPhone app scene is Navigon, whose MobileNavigator Europe [App Store, US$94.99 through the end of June] application offers navigation in 40 European countries. While the current full European version is priced at 74.99, the price will increase to 99.99 as of July. Navigon will also soon be offering apps covering smaller European regions for the introductory price of 49.99, increasing to 69.99 as of July. Navigon is also planning to release a free "lite" version that will provide maps and point-of-interest listing, but no active navigation. Finally, Navigon promises that it is continuing to work on similar apps for other regions, including North America and Australia, and has released a brief video demonstrating MobileNavigator Europe in action.