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Navigon and Garmin GPS navigation apps get updates and new features

Garmin and Navigon have a barrel full of free updates today, bringing the two GPS navigation solutions into closer parity. This seemed inevitable, since Garmin acquired Navigon in 2011.

Both iOS apps now support voice directions through your car speakers if your iPhone has a Bluetooth connection to the car. Audio sources fade out for voice direction announcements, then increase back to the original volume. The apps also gained Wikipedia integration, allowing users to search local points of interest and displaying Wikipedia icons on maps to indicate places of interest.

The update also improves Foursquare integration by showing Foursquare locations on your maps. Integration with Glympse, one of my favorite standalone apps, has also improved and now allows you to add or delete contacts or change the expiration time of an active Glypmse.

The Garmin app added the ability to download maps by region, something the Navigon app has featured for a while. That means users can be selective about what maps to store on their device if space is at a premium.

It is nice to see these enhancements, as nav apps compete with the free Google and Apple offerings. I still like Apple Maps for quick trips due to the Siri integration, but Garmin and Navigon offer better data, on-board maps, Google local search, Google Street View (Navigon) and Glympse built in.

Until April 8, the Garmin and Navigon apps are reduced in price by US$10, with Garmin USA and Navigon USA both selling for $39.99. Other deals are available for different versions of the apps, so be sure to check the app store.

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