Garmin Releases New 'Onboard' Turn-By-Turn GPS Apps for iOS

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Earlier this year, major GPS navigation firm Garmin released its first turn-by-turn navigation app for iOS. But rather than having all map data included within the application, Garmin StreetPilot relied on data access to download maps as needed. Garmin touted the decision as offering smaller and quicker downloads with the most up-to-date mapping data, but it also required users to tap into their data plan to use the application and could result in poor navigation in areas of poor or no cell coverage.

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To address those issues, Garmin today announced the release of several "StreetPilot Onboard" apps offering full map data bundled within the apps to allow for offline navigation.

Garmin StreetPilot Onboard puts the vast preloaded database and intuitive interface of a Garmin nüvi into the iPhone you use everyday – without tapping into your dataplan. With ultra-fast map drawing, panning and zooming, the preloaded maps and Points of Interest offer peace of mind in knowing that wireless coverage and dataplan usage are not required to access maps or calculate routes. So just as with a nüvi, the maps and directions are always there when you need them most – especially when you can’t get cell or Wi-Fi signals or your dataplan is running low.

Three versions of StreetPilot Onboard are available:

- Garmin U.S.A. ($39.99): Lower 49 states plus a number of Caribbean islands
- Garmin N. America ($49.99): United States, Canada, Mexico, and a number of Caribbean islands
- Garmin UK & Ireland (£44.99): Full maps of Great Britain, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands, with coverage of major cities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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Real-time traffic and fuel price data are also available as separate in-app purchases.

Just last week, Garmin announced that it had completed its acquisition of German GPS firm Navigon, which itself offers a full suite of two dozen GPS applications for iOS covering various countries and regions.

Top Rated Comments

comatose81 Avatar
123 months ago

Anyone else who's used all three of the biggies—TomTom, MotionX GPS Drive, and StreetPilot—care to weigh in? Taking into account that the newest variant of StreetPilot has onboard maps, which would you recommend?

My $20 yearly voice guidance package with MotionX just expired. I'm trying to decide whether to renew it for another $20, or instead drop $60 on StreetPilot OnBoard ($40 for the app + $20 for traffic).

I love MotionX GPS Drive, but occasionally, when I'm using it, my cell signal drops out; without onboard maps, I'm lost. Hence the strong desire for onboard maps, which don't seem to be coming to MotionX anytime soon (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Bonus question: Has anyone tried the new StreetPilot OnBoard yet? It's got a grand total of 1 review on the AppStore; more feedback would be nice.

UPDATE: I just read the first review on the AppStore. It turns out the $20 in-app traffic option covers only 1 year of traffic. That's not what it says when you click the "top in-app purchases" button in the AppStore—it only says "traffic," and says nothing about 1 year. This is either a misleading oversight (at best) or deceptive advertising (at worst). MotionX GPS Drive, on the other hand, clearly specifies in its "top in-app purchases" that its live voice guidance costs $20 per year. This, plus the fact that Garmin has betrayed its previous StreetPilot purchasers by making them buy a new app just to get the onboard maps leaves me with little trust in Garmin's ethics and loyalty to its customers. I've never had reason to distrust MotionX, on the other, which leaves me more likely to stay with them. However, I really want onboard maps, so I might be willing to switch to Garmin (or TomTom, or something else) if someone can convince me. Thoughts?

I've given my opinion on iPhone GPS apps in many threads on this site. I'm sure people are pretty sick of me. I've used TomTom, Navigon, Magellan, and CoPilot. The latter two are garbage, in my opinion. Magellan uses the same maps as Navigon, but the presentation and interface are horrible. CoPilot's maps are a joke.

The only two that I give serious consideration to are TomTom and Navigon. I used to love Navigon when it first came out - they had text-to-speech first, traffic first, etc. TomTom was a sad, pathetic little app that had a hard time even keeping your icon on the road.

A lot has changed since then. TomTom has matched Navigon feature-to-feature and has actually surpassed it with MapShare (submit and download map corrections on the fly). Navigon has a cool visual lane assist feature, but has no voice instructions on what lane to be in like TomTom has.

That's just features. Use the two for a short time and you'll see how much better TomTom's routing is. It takes historical road speed data into account, so the route during rush hour and the route on Sunday morning (even without the traffic add-on) are different. I have found TomTom's routes and ETAs to be dead-on. Navigon's routes are usually pretty good, but the ETAs are way too optimistic. Navigon has a MyRoutes feature where it provides 3 route options for you and lets you pick the one you want. However, since most people use their GPS to find routes to places they've never been, how useful is this?

TomTom's traffic is better, too. Navigon's requires a lot of micro-management, and it reports a lot of information that isn't relevant to your route (e.g., reports incidents hundreds of miles away). TomTom handles everything automatically, and only reports traffic if it actually affects your route, and is worse that the historical data it has (if a road always has slow traffic at rush hour, is it really worth reporting?) The only advantage Navigon has here is that it's traffic is a one-time fee, whereas TomTom's is yearly.

My biggest gripes with Navigon:

1) It doesn't have an "avoid road X" option for re-routing. Maybe I make too big of a deal out of this, but I really don't understand how that's possible. It's basic functionality.

2) The POI search is horrendous. You have to know the exact village that your POI is in or it won't find it. There is a Google search option, but about 75% of the time it returns 0 results even if I know the POI was entered correctly. People will respond to this one and say "use app X to find POIs instead". That's not the point. A GPS app should be able to find POIs. That's basic functionality, again.

TomTom is far and away the better app. Better routing, better traffic, better features, and better performance. However, Navigon got there first and was the better app early on, so they've won the iOS market.

I'm sure the Garmin app is good, but I won't consider any GPS that doesn't store the maps on the phone. I don't care what people say, I don't trust any cell phone provider enough to risk being able to download maps on the fly.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
malnar Avatar
124 months ago
So rather than FIX the current app and make it work the way it should, they're just going to screw everyone who bought it and hope they pay AGAIN for new apps by a company that has shown they don't know how to do apps and don't care about their company. Smart thinking there, Garmin. I'll stick with Magellan, thanks, jerk faces.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hexonxonx Avatar
123 months ago

They're like $50, and all of the updates are free. How much would you spend on a stand-alone device? $100?

The Maps app is NOT a substitute for a true navigation app with the maps installed on the phone.


I honestly don't think I will ever buy a stand alone GPS unit ever again. These iPhone GPS apps are getting to be almost as comparable. This latest Garmin app is about 90% comparable to my old Nuvi 860 without the voice recognition and weather.

Anyone try the Garmin on board app on more than on iPhone model? I seem to like the performance on my 3GS better than on my iPhone 4. The text on the 3GS was much easier to read but the 3GS also had a weird problem on its own.

Pressing the home button twice zoomed in on the maps. Pressing it again zoomed in even more. It took several tries to get to the multitasking bar. I'll try it out on another 3GS soon.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
comatose81 Avatar
123 months ago

Well I was also saying that is if you don't have a signal you have to do that. If you do have a signal it has turn by turn navigation. At least the version I have does.

It is not like I sit there and stare at it all you have to do is give it a quick look and it will all make since.

I honestly use, when my wife doesn't have it, a dedicated navigation device. I feel like it does its job and it does it well. They are not even that expensive. You can actually get them for very cheap. Although I just used my iPad 2 and it worked like a champ!

Like I said at the end of what I wrote "to each their own" I just would never spend that much money on an app that you could get the job done for FREE. :D

They're like $50, and all of the updates are free. How much would you spend on a stand-alone device? $100?

The Maps app is NOT a substitute for a true navigation app with the maps installed on the phone.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dukebound85 Avatar
123 months ago
I hope navigon keeps getting updated and isn't left to rot as the result of being acquired by garmin
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GaryMumford Avatar
124 months ago

I guess this just proves that if you're late to the party, buy the leader and your all good.

Seriously, my first comment when reading this was "NOOOOO!!!!" I had a Garmin stand along GPS, but fell in love with Navigon when I bought my iPhone. It was one of the first apps I purchased (Tom Tom suggested the stupid $100 car kit, WHY!!!). Navigon isn't perfect but it's damn close. Let's hope and pray that Garmin expands on the app, not destroy it like Adobe destroyed GoLive, PageMaker and Dreamweaver (but I'm not bitter, hehe)


I know this is off Topic, But Seriously... IMHO GoLive and PageMaker needed killing off as soon as possible. Especially PageMaker!!! It was a god awful application. As for dreamweaver, I still use it on a daily basis and I'm really happy with it. Ive tried many other HTML editors like Coda, Hype and BBE but still end up going back to Dreamweaver... Then again, I still use Quark Xpress, so who am I to comment! :eek:

So bac to topic, Carry on...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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