The Shocking Truth About Your Smartphone’s GPS

I was recently driving the freeways of Los Angeles when I was invited to hang out with a hundred space nerds at a NASA TweetUp at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Win a Garmin GPS App!  See below…

Like a complete dingbat, I assumed that I was going to simply input the address into my iPhone and it would magically guide me to my destination.

The reality was, I was driving in eight lanes of very busy traffic trying to find my destination whilst trying to follow a stupid little blue dot on Google Maps.

Never mind the fact that it was ridiculously dangerous taking my eyes off the busy highway while trying to follow the blue dot and frantically taking my reading glass on and off my head.

People were honking horns at me, I missed three turns, and I certainly could have caused an accident.

So, the shocking truth about your smartphone’s GPS is that it sucks!

Let’s explore the GPS functions on the three major platforms:

  • Apple’s iOS5 – We just discussed that.  You’re going to use Google Maps and try to follow the little blue ball.
  • Windows Phone 7.5 – This isn’t much better.  The difference is, you’re going to use Bing Maps instead.
  • Google’s Android – Google gets the prize for the best on-board GPS because its integration with Google Maps will give you turn-by-turn voice navigation.  However, the interface is very clunky.  There have been countless times where Carol had completely given up trying to find the voice navigation using our former Droids.  Plus it lacked all the much-loved visuals of our Garmin GPS

Now, let’s be clear, having a GPS activated map is a wonderful thing.  But, trying to use it while solo driving is a dangerous thing!

After my Los Angeles experience, we had decided to buy another Garmin GPS device until I read that Garmin had just recently bought a German company who have a beautiful smartphone GPS app.

Not really wanting to carry around my iPhone and a separate Garmin device, I checked out their new app and fell in love.

The $ 29.99 Garmin Navigon Mobile Navigator App  is available for Apple, Windows, and Android devices.

Let me share with you some of the features of my new Garmin Navigon Mobil Navigator:

  • Maps – First off, large beautiful maps with turn-by-turn voice navigation.
  • Weather Live - It shows you the current weather report along your route, as well as at your destination. And so there are no unpleasant surprises during your stay, it also gives you a two-day forecast, too.
  • Clever Parking – Find parking garages in large cities with one click.
  • Full iOS Support – The program can run in the background if you need to answer the phone.
  • Active Lane Assistant – In busy traffic, know ahead of time which lane you should be in.
  • Traffic Live – If there’s a mess ahead, you will know it ahead of time.
  • Text to Speech – Street names and exits are called out by their own names.
  • Speed Assistant – Navigon knows the posted speed limit.  If you exceed the legal limit, Navigon will let you know.
  • POI – there are thousands of “points of interest” integrated into the app.
  • SOS/Direct Help – With the touch of a button, Navigon will connect you with the closest gas station, police station, hospital, or pharmacy.

There’s a whole host of other features, but I’ll let you check them out on the Garmin Navigon website.  Suffice it to say, Mr. Roaming Boomer is a happy man now that I have a Garmin Navigon GPS App on my iPhone.  Happy dance.  Happy dance.

Note:  while using your phone as a GPS device,  you will want to have a car charger along for the ride.  While in GPS mode, your phone will eat your battery fairly quickly.

Win a FREE Garmin GPS App for Your Smartphone

We love our Garmin Mobile Navigator App so much that we asked and received 5 FREE apps (US Maps) to give away to you from Garmin!

The contest is open to US residents, 18 years of age or older.  Further, the app is available for Android, Windows, and Apple iOS platforms.  Other smartphone platforms are not available. Only one entry per person.

To enter, leave a comment below that fills in this blank:

  • A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because ________

The contest will end Friday, December 23rd, at 5:00 pm MST.

Check back with this post on Friday.  We will pick five random winners and notification will be made to their comment in this post.

Good luck!

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Comments
70 Responses to “The Shocking Truth About Your Smartphone’s GPS”
  1. Paul says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I can get lost on a one block dead end street.

  2. Ilkin says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I will not be driving round and round in London again. Big Smile

  3. David Porter says:

    Lynn Ballinger sent us an email and said:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I am from New England and the words turn “North”, “South”, “East” and “West” mean nothing to me.

  4. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I travel extensively and need a repliable app to help me navigate.

  5. Teddi Sweet says:

    I am going to more and even more unfamiliar locations. Question

  6. Michael says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because my wife doesn’t share my belief that I have an awesome sense of direction.

  7. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I am a youth pastor who takes kids on retreats and events, and I would rather trust my phone telling me directions than some of my students!

  8. rob mckelvey says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I am traveling a lot more for my business and family life and need a great ‘eyes free’ app to help navigate.

  9. SAGordon says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because as a pastor I am often called out to hospitals in the Kansas City MO area which I’ve never heard of let alone know how to get there.

  10. Felicity says:

    . . . it would save our marriage from one (and nearly the only) situation that ALWAYS causes strife: driving directions! : )

    • David Porter says:

      Felicity,

      Sad to say, we’ve had some pretty big fights ourselves because I (Mr. Roaming Boomers) turn into raving lunatic when I’m driving in eight lanes of traffic and don’t know where I’m going. Frown Having Garmin in our life has been a Godsend. Grin

    • David Porter says:

      Felicity,

      You won! Check your mail! Grin

  11. Jeff Warner says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because to me the safety of my wife and daughter are paramount and the Garmin Mobile Navigator App would greatly improve safety while driving.

  12. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because my other GPS (two words that both start with T and end in M Smile ) is completely unreliable when traveling to college campuses (where my business takes me most). I end up using my Google maps on my phone which is better, but definitely lacks the features.

  13. Carece says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I travel and am caledl to visit hospitals sometimes late at night and would not have to pull over on the side of the road to look up my destinations.

  14. Tom Bump says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because __Dec 23 is my Birthday ! and on Dec. 25 we are leaving for florida and have never driven from PA to FL before. This will be a whole new route, as we’ve always driven from Michigan to Florida.______

  15. Kim Kokjohn says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because…. I like the idea of having my garmin incorporated into my smartphone (Droid)! I had a Garmin and loved it but it fiinally broke down recently and I was in need of a new one but now with an app to my Droid, this would be a sweet deal!

  16. Brian says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because my current gps app leads me to businesses that no longer exist or can’t find some businesses that have been in operation for multiple years!

  17. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I want to prove to my wife that I DO know where I am going!

  18. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because in my newly launched coaching and consulting business, I am now called upon to meet people in unfamiliar locations. Not having to worry about figuring out directions would help me to be clear and fully present to the meeting at hand. And, if you don’t think I deserve it, how about for my wife who has a Pampered Chef business and is regularly driving to people’s homes and event locations to do parties and events. She would never have to use Mapquest.com again! Thanks for your consideration!

  19. Jonathan says:

    I was born and raised on Maui do I get lost ALL THE TIME when I go on trips. Please help me. My iPhone as my sole GPS does NOT cut it. Please help a lost island boyWink

  20. Paul says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because it still allow me to legitimately use my cell phone in my car after the NTSB gets their ruling passed. Smile Seriously though, I really don’t like single use devices (either in the kitchen or in the car), and therefore have resisted getting a dedicated GPS for my vehicle. Therefore, I rely on my cell phone to navigate me to clients houses (or to get to the office via back roads when things go awry on the freeway.) However, I’ve experienced the problems you listed above and would love to use a better navigation system that I have now. Thanks for the chance.

  21. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I live in L.A. and I drive those crazy 8 lane roads. It would help my wife and I avoid ‘direction fights’.

  22. Karis says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because my husband insists we aren’t lost.

  23. David Porter says:

    It’s funny, there seems to be a common thread here in the comments. Perhaps the Garmin Mobile Navigon App is one of the world’s best marital aids. Seems like it might save a LOT of stress while driving.

  24. JustinVance says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because – I drive 70,000 miles a year for work and have often said “Google: Maps” would be more appropriately be called “Google: ‘Hey, I think it might be…”.

    The native iPhone App has made me late on multiple… multiple occasions.

    So, this coming year, maybe I’ll be thankful for The Roaming Boomers 70,000 times.

  25. Jeremy Ellis says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because it will prove to my brother that my iPhone is better than his Android! He’s always bragging that his native maps app is better than my blue dot. Smile

  26. Matt Clark says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I wouldn’t have to hear, “Hey, do you even know where you are going?!?” anymore from my lovely Back-Seat-Driver (a.k.a. “wife”).

  27. Stephen says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I tend to end up driving to various locations I’m not familier with and need reliable directions.

  28. Ned Pauley says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I wouldn’t be putting my life and the lives of drivers around me at risk by trying to follow the little blue dot.

  29. Clint says:

    I travel for work, and am always in a new, different city trying to find my way around. In December alone, I have travelled to Roseburg, OR and Yreka, CA and Pottstown, PA and Albuquerque, NM and El Paso, TX and Lubbock, TX.

    Right now I “follow the little blue dot” and can agree with you that it is maddening, and dangerous. And I tend to get lost quite a bit (my wife has always said I have a problem with this). Winning this app would help me out!

  30. charlie reid says:

    This application could save my life 2 ways. First, I would not have to take my eyes off the road for so long to adjust to my phone’s position so I could read it. Second, my wife won’t threaten my life because I do the former too often. Please send me the app!

  31. Gabe H. says:

    …Because I’m crazy enough to load up my family with 2 kids 3 and under and go on road trips, some up to 5,100 miles! Having those great features would help reduce the stress of driving.

  32. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I travel frequently for my job as a nurse liaison.

  33. Jinnifer killough says:

    A garmin mobile navigator app on my smartphone would help me because I often get lost making bakery deliveries! Cry

  34. Joe Bell says:

    A Garmin Mobile app will help me because I cna’t affor to drive around in London or buy a phone app- AND i get lost in a parking lot! (witness available from the hysterically laughing woman I married who should be loving and respecting me!) Blush

  35. Helen Heiskell says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because it will allow my daughter to school and back (the same area of a very small town that she’s been going to since first grade 12 years ago). http://www.theroamingboomers.com/wp-content/plugins/tango-smileys-extended/tango/smile-big.png

  36. David Perkins says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because unfortunately I lost my sense of direction long ago (ask my family Beauty ). Sadly I am also losing the battle convincing my wife that GPS is a valid technology easier to use than good old paper directions. I say there is hope. Somewhere out there is an intuitive interface paired with a great visuals that doesn’t cost me $89 a year for an update. I’m Longing to be technically enhanced and safe at the same time.Take me to the land of the happy dance.

  37. brojo says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I have had the same problem with my iPhone GPS you described above. I need a GPS app that actually works!

  38. Mark Tidwell says:

    A Garman Mob Nav App on my smartphone would help because as a retired AF Navigator who felt confident navigating anywhere in the world with a compass and chart, on the ground with nothIng more than a smartphone and steering wheel, it’s downright embarrassing. Please rescue me from myself!

  39. Manfred says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because we have ONE Garmin and TWO cars, so then neither of us would risk getting lost!

  40. Dean Schooly says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because then my wife wouldn’t blame me when we get lost!

  41. otispi says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because __I am directionally challenged

  42. Trevor says:

    A Garmin Navigator app on my smartphone would extremely help me to find my way around this magnificent country of ours running the roads building a leadership community on my way to being a LIFE Coach. Being lost & all turned around can be very stressful & shorten ones life, so the Garmin Navigator app will help actually help me to live longer. Thank you very much & have a Merry Christmas wondrous holiday season.

  43. Steve Allen says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because my real GPS is always in the other car, no matter which car I’m driving.

  44. Rick Stahurski says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because having to carry around my stand alone GPS and my Android phone is too cumbersome. That’s two devices, two car chargers and the frustration of using the Google Maps navigation app, which doesn’t give me a lot of the information I am used to on the my GPS device.

  45. David Porter says:

    Some of these comments crack us up! Does having a Garmin Navigon GPS App on your smartphone mean that a man never has to ask for directions, ever again? Question

  46. SJ Winkler says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because ________
    my darling wife can’t read a map and my daughter is too young to help her. Garmin will save lives and that makes us all highway safer.

  47. Arnold says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I’m a man, I get lost a lot, and I refuse to ask for directions.

  48. dbpiv says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I travel where there is no cell signal.

  49. A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because its bad enough my wife calls me a menace on the road, trying to navigate with native navigation that isnt turn by turn makes me dangerous behind the wheel. Not to mention i once bought a TomTom but carrying two devices never worked and i was loving their device until the rental company gave me a Garmin to use and now id rather pay for the rental of the Garmin GPS then have to carry around a almost dysfunctional TomTom. Id also tweet how awesome it was and be a free promoter of the product. Wink

    yes.. you can assist in the prevention of accidents and me getting the middle finger!

  50. Brian says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I would know longer have to purchase a new Atlas Map every year while on the road. Also, with having it on my iPhone means only carrying one device for everything. SWEET!

  51. Patti Dee says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I not only don’t want to die following that little blue ball, I don’t want to kill anyone else either!

  52. larry c says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I hate asking for directions.

  53. Ian says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I hate using the standard Google Maps and want something a lot better like the App you reviewed. Looks like it’s easy to use and I love the TTS feature so I can stay focused on the road.

    ******PLEASE DISREGARD MY OTHER COMMENT. I DIDN’T REALIZE I CLICKED ON REPLY**********

  54. William Farrell says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navagater App on my smartphone would help me because I get lolst going to my bathroom.
    PS I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

  55. Ida Faye says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I get lost in this new place the Army sent my son too.

  56. Carl Gregg says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because of the weather feature. There are sometimes flash floods on my route to work. Also I completely agree with you about the danger of glancing away from the road to track the blue dot!

  57. David says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I travel frequently with my wife and new son, and knowing weather and traffic would improve our safety significantly.

  58. Seth C says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I ant to save time and gas by not getting lost!

  59. Tim Whitsitt says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because ________
    I can never tell which way the blue dot is traveling. Beauty Beauty

  60. David Lee says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I could really use it to navigate to properties that I shoot as a real estate photographer.

  61. Oscar Romero says:

    A Garmin Mobile Navigator App on my smartphone would help me because I can FINALLY stop tailgating my friends like a mad man, in fear that I will lose them, and get myself lost in the middle of nowhere as we head to somewhere new to hang out!

  62. David Porter says:

    Sound the trumpet Music Note, here are the five winners of a Garmin Navigon GPS App (US Map): Felicity, Jeremy Ellis, Helen Hieskell, Seth C, and David Lee.

    Winners were determined by using the True Random Number Generator at Random.org.

    I will be sending an email to the winners to determine which operating system they require, and we look forward to them all stopping back to share with us how they enjoy the App.

    Congrats, and a BIG thank you to Garmin Navigon for supplying the prizes! Yes

    Note: this drawing is now closed.

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