Do you remember when GPS units were things people wanted to buy? Yeah, that’s probably when you had a RAZR. But Magellan isn’t willing to give up on its bread and butter quite yet, with its new SmartGPS, it thinks it can get you away from Google Maps and start using standalone GPS units (again). How? Buy borrowing some ideas from smartphones: app integration.
Apps for non-smartphones are usually pretty dumb but Magellan has gotten two heavy hitters, Yelp and Foursquare, to donate their data to the SmartGPS. When you’re driving around, Yelp and Foursquare will let you know what’s around the area so you can know where to stop, where to grab a bite to eat or where to hang out. Additionally, Magellan’s SmartGPS will give you nearby gas prices and traffic reports (with notifications on where red light cameras are). This all happens simultaneously on the 5-inch LCD screen of the SmartGPS. You’ll mainly see directions but also get a peek at customisable tiles for the “smarter” features on the side of the screen.
SmartGPS is only one part of the Magellan navigation equation though. Magellan also wants to get its users to use their Smart Ecosystem Cloud. Once you get into their cloud, you can plan trips on a desktop computer or a smartphone and it’ll automatically appear on your SmartGPS. For example, if you have a long trip ahead of you with multiple stops, you can use your computer to plan every little detail out and the SmartGPS will sync up with all those nooks and crannies you want to drive through (when it’s near WiFi). Or if you’re driving and want to go somewhere to eat, the person sitting shotgun can sift through the free Android or iOS Magellan SmartGPS app to find a restaurant and it’ll automatically sync the directions to the GPS unit through Bluetooth. You never have to lose sight of the GPS.
The SmartGPS comes with 4GB memory and will be available in spring 2013 for $US250. More expensive than a smartphone? Yes. Useful? Probably. A little too late? We’ll see.