GPS veteran Magellan announced the SmartGPS system back at CES, touting its social networking integration and "cloud" stuff. The device has just gone on sale in the US for $249, but along with that comes the SmartGPS app. This is a free download that lets your smartphone talk to the GPS unit. If you don't want to buy a $249 GPS unit that duplicates the functionality of your phone, the app includes additional features for a price.

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The free version of SmartGPS lets you search for destinations and plan trips. It contains a full US and Canadian map with tons of points of interest. When you've got your route set, the data can be pushed right over to the SmartGPS dash unit. An in-app purchase can be made to enable turn-by-turn navigation within the app for a month, a year, or forever. You won't get some of the social integration or location-aware eye-catching content without the standalone unit, though.

If you already have Google Navigation, the utility of Magellan's solution is limited. You can, for instance, do offline navigation, and it's cool the shorter-term subscriptions can save some cash if you find yourself without cellular data. Keep in mind you'll have to download several gigabytes of data to use Magellan SmartGPS, and the servers seem to be on the slow side right now.

[Marketwire, PC World]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • Kashmieer

    I adore your titles, sir.

  • spydie

    Co-pilot already has this covered

  • http://twitter.com/lean6rtj2 lean6rtj

    I don't get it. I use the Navigation app on my G-Note 2, and I've never even needed to consider another option. I could swear that I remember the same app being available on the last four Android phones that I've had...Motorola and Samsung. Do 3rd party GPS apps actually give you anything worth spending extra money and space to have? On the iPhone it was a requirement.

    • rap

      2 good reasons:
      1. No cell coverage (dead spots, subway, etc)
      2. no cell radio (wifi-tablet)

  • JLishere

    The map renderings look terrible compared to Waze or Google Maps.

  • http://twitter.com/brommas graeme bromley

    Wow, what a good idea!(NOT)