I had some places to get to today and had the opportunity to try out the newest beta 1.2 of xGPS for turn by turn directions with voice navigation while driving to my destinations. It was a pleasure to use and I got where I was going on time without issue. If you haven't jailbroken yet this is yet another reason why you need to. TomTom and TeleNav haven't been able to get the turn by turn voice nav out the door (presumably because of Apple's restrictions) but for jailbreakers a public version of xGPS with both turn by turn and voice nav will be out via the MMi Cydia repo later this month -- maybe even as soon as February 20th!
- The voice navigation is great. The voice engine is pretty accurate and although it has some issues with a few words and abbreviations for the most part the voice directions are clear and easily understandable. It also will provide voice directions while music is playing though for me this feature needs to ability to mute the music while giving directions before it will be practical - I just couldn't understand the directions while music was playing.
- The turn by turn instructions are basically Google Maps directions. They are accurate in a lot of places and I can't fault them most the time. Turn by turn is initiated by pressing the magnifying glass at the bottom of the app and then either searching for something to get directions to or entering in an address. In the future I'd like to see the search list results in a more friendly fashion with distance to the results etc.
- Night mode. Who wants to have a bright white screen shining at you while driving at night? The latest beta of xGPS includes a night mode feature with automatically turns on between 8pm and 7am or turns on by a timer which you can set manually. The night mode screen is pretty click looking with a black/purple background and streets.
- Maps Manager. If you're going to a location and are worried that the network wont be fast enough to download maps while you're moving you can use the map manager to download maps ahead of time. A simple menu allows you to select an area to download by creating a red box. Pretty simple. There is also a desktop client for both Windows and Mac allowing you to download and manage maps on your computer before uploading to the iPhone.
- For iPhone 1st Generation and iPod Touch users you aren't out of luck. xGPS supports a number of external GPS modules including the iGPS360 from the xGPS hardware partner Orangegadgets.com
- There are a lot more features to go into detail about including the ability to set miles or km, latitude and longitude, lots of language support, landscape view, etc. Check out the screenshots below for a peek.
- edit: I may have forgotten to mention the price tag of Free
Keep your eyes out in Cydia for xGPS version 1.2 coming soon. For more information check out their blog and forums. You can also get the previous version 1.1 of their repo @ cydia.xwaves.net but it doesn't include voice navigation among some other features.
Video of xGPS in action.
LESS exciting but related
We got a tip about another iPhone turn-by-turn app that is set to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress and Exhibition on February 19th. The folks at Sygic are known for their GPS software on other platforms but we have no details about their iPhone app except for the image below (click for full size)