iPhone Life magazine

Apps: Navigation

Navigon is 1 Year Old and You Get the Present

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Navigon AG, the company behind the highly rated iPhone GPS navigation app, NAVIGON MobileNavigator, announced that it would be reducing prices of its different versions by 50% in honor of its 1st birthday.  This represents a significant savings over the regular price. However, these prices are good only until August 15th They also announced the addition of a new version which covers just the United States.



Mix: GPS Stuff

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I had entered an online giveaway recently and was fortunate to win a full version of CoPilot Live, North America, along with one years’ worth of Premium Live services. I was pretty excited, but then realized that it will only have limited functionality on my iPod Touch. This gives me an excuse to get a car kit for it though. Since I already own a dedicated car GPS unit, I decided that I would keep my eye out for some super excellent deal that I could not refuse or for a used unit. I am not in a hurry to spend a load of dough yet.



The next step in augmented reality is here -- image-based recognition

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Macworld has an article about a new offering from Metaio that excites me: image-basd augmented reality. The whole idea of augmented reality is so cool: point your phone's camera at something, and when you view the live image on your iPhone you'll see related information or content superimposed on that image. Think of how useful this would be to tourists: you point your phone at the Eiffel Tower, and your phone superimposes information about it. Augmented reality has already been available, but it was GPS-based.



FlightTrack for iPad Lets You Be Your Own Air Traffic Controller

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Mobiata Brings the iPhone’s Best-Selling Travel App to the iPad

Mobiata announced the launch of their best-selling iPhone applications, FlightTrack and FlightTrack Pro, for the iPad. FlightTrack is the #1 best-selling paid travel application on the App Store and the iPad version takes advantage of the expanded size and capabilities of the iPad to give people an amazing flight tracking experience. Users can track unlimited, multiple flights and watch each flight’s progress on the gorgeous map interface. It looks amazing.



Shroud of Turin expo guide released

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"..."Sindone”, the official application for the 2010 Shroud exposition, a personal guide in augmented reality, is available in the App Store. It is an interactive navigator which guides the pilgrims step by step in the visit to the Shroud and to discovering Turin, but it is also a personal agenda." Get the app at the iTunes Link above...


iExit — $2.99 app tells you info about upcoming exits

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How many times have you been driving down the highway and taken an exit only to find that there’s nothing in the nearby commercial district to your liking? iExit can help. Start up the app, and it uses GPS to quickly determine where you are and what direction you’re traveling. It then offers information about the upcoming exits, as well as information about your favorite places to stop that are coming up. Plus, it tells you where to turn once you get to the exit and provides maps.

 



Aha Radio — free app delivers web content as streaming radio while you drive

This is a novel idea. You're driving, yet you still would like to access your Facebook friends updates, Twitter tweets, podcasts, and more. Aha Radio (free) turns it all into radio stations so that you can listen to this content as you drive. Plus, it gives you reports on nearby traffic based on your location.



At Macworld: INRIX Traffic Cuts Down on Downtime

INRIX TRAFFIC! was given the Macworld 2010 Best of Show award.  This isn't your normal navigation app.  It's used to predict your travel time on your normal routes based on real-time and historic data. It lets you know when to leave to reach your destination at your desired time.



Use MobileAppLoader.com to Build Your iPhone App

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I recently had the chance to chat with Zvika Ashkenazi, the CEO of MobileAppLoader.com and I was able to learn some very interesting things about his company, the services it provides and I also learned how to track App Store sales.

Zvika sent me a graphic detailing January 2010 metrics for DIY iPhone apps. According to the graphic, MobileAppLoader was responsible for creating 436 apps for their customers which include realtors, auto dealers, restaurants, and hotels to name just a few categories.

As you know from my previous posts here, a number of companies have launched in the last year or so to help people and businesses create their own applications, not just for iPhones, but also for other platforms like Android and Windows Mobile. Previously, this sort of service was unheard of. If one wanted software developed, it could get pretty pricey. For large corporations, this was considered 'the cost of business', but for individuals and smaller companies, personalized or customized software was often out of reach.

Now, some people themselves are talented programmers themselves and can make their own apps. Some companies have developers on staff, while some companies can afford to hire an outside developer for a specific project  - at a cost of $5,000 to $25,000 - to develop an application from scratch, that kind of budget is out of the reach for many people. Of course, one can get it for less, but even so, a ball-park bargain-basement sort of figure is still around $2,500. And most aren't looking to create super-sophisticated software, and don't really need to consider spending that sort of money anyway.

At the present time, MobileAppLoader claims that they are the #1 Do-It-Yourself iPhone App company. These stats do not include companies which build apps from RSS feeds or companies with less than 30 apps. Zvika explained that he generated this information by typing the name of the developer into iTunes. Now that I know how to do this, I anticipate hours of fun

Since MobileAppLoader doesn't build their apps via RSS feeds, I was curious as to their process. It's done by what Zvika described as a unique "App in a Snap" Wizard. A user signs up for an account on their site, and selects their business category. Then they chose a design from Iron, Bronze, Silver and Gold offerings and upload four images and type in certain details (contact info, URLs, feeds, text, etc...) and finally hits 'submit'. Behind the scenes, the content is then converted to a native iPhone app using objective-C using the Apple X-code development tool, and that process is then followed by a a quick quality assurance to make sure everything is working properly before the app is sent to Apple for review.

Apps built from RSS feeds can be very handy, but MobileAppLoader is very proud of the real-time interactivity of the apps they build using this method. For example, they've built a number of apps for towing companies and the apps include the ability to tell the towing company where you've broken down, show them a picture of your car and ask them to come and get you. So the app makes use of notifications, GPS and the camera. And that's just one example. Auto dealer apps include the ability of the dealer to notify a customer of their next service appointment. Prices start at $59.99 for setup and $4.99 a month.

 



Touch And Go…

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In case you were not aware, TomTom and Magellan have previously released versions of their GPS car kit that turns your iPod Touch into a navigation device, as well as making their GPS software compatible with it. One of the downsides is the cost, as it can be argued that you can buy a standalone GPS unit for much less. Cost may not be an issue for those wanting to add more functionality to their device but one of the drawbacks I see is that their car kits are for in car use only via the car power adaptor. In my opinion, this limits some of the payback use / value, especially if you only need GPS navigation occasionally.



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