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Garmin's new app lowers the price of premium navigation

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While Garmin is no stranger to mobile navigation apps, it has continued charging $30 or more for its StreetPilot software even after breaking out some components as in-app purchases. That's a hard bargain in an era when phones offer GPS tricks like lane assistance for free. Clearly, the company is aware of this discrepancy -- it just unveiled Viago, an app for Android and iPhones that tries to bridge the pricing gap. Fork over $2 ($1 until July 13th) and you'll get worldwide maps alongside lane assistance, realistic junction views, speed limits, weather and traffic. You only pay more for the features you want, and some of them are unique -- Real Directions gives you directions based on landmarks rather than street names, while Active Lane Guidance simplifies taking that next off-ramp.

Viago is likely to be a better deal than earlier releases, especially now that the interface is simpler and less focused on replicating dedicated nav units. However, Garmin still faces an uphill battle. Some of the features the company wants you to buy, such as offline maps and mass transit directions, are available for no charge on both Android and iOS. With upgrade prices typically ranging between $5 and $20, you may have to shell out a lot more than $2 to equal or beat what your handset can already do. If you're eager for a do-it-all mapping tool, however, Viago is ready and waiting.

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