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Holy Grail of turn-by-turn arrives: Navigon updates GPS app with text to speech

Mel Martin

Users have been begging for it, and now Navigon has updated the Mobile Navigator [iTunes link] app to read street names to you as you drive.

I've tested the app around town, and it worked well, and the speech is clear and easy to understand. Here in Arizona, a lot of the street names are Spanish, and in most cases, the app pronounced them correctly.

It meant that I could drive around getting navigation instructions without ever looking at the iPhone screen, which is a real safety improvement.

Navigon has also added good iPod control functions. You can add new playlists or tracks, and listen while you are using navigation. This is an option that must be turned on, so if you want the function, be sure to do so.

I also like that the app now knows when it is night time and switches the display accordingly. Again, this is a feature you can use, or disable.

When I updated, the old version of the app was completely replaced, and the new app is 1.44 GB, so make sure you have the room and the time to get it downloaded.

Other features added to version 1.2.0 include the ability to email a destination to another Navigon user directly from the app. If the person gets the mail while on an iPhone and taps the location, it will launch the Mobile Navigator app and set the app for the forwarded destination.

Navigon has said the app would be US$99.00 the first of September, but the price is $89.99 instead, keeping it just under the $99.00 TomTom app, and reflecting, I think, how competitive navigation apps are getting with each other.

The company has also announced a car kit available in October, but few details and specs are known. This is the second update to Mobile Navigator since it has been released. Navigon says more updates will be coming. Traffic info and weather data would be nice.

In my view, with text to speech, Navigon has pulled ahead of the pack. I'd still like to see more points of interest in the database, and of course multi-tasking would be nice, but that is an Apple issue, not a Navigon issue.

I like this app, and it has been aggressively updated. Check it out if you are looking for nav, and if you already have this app, get on with the update.

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