It seems like only yesterday I had my first encounter with an in-car navigation system, but in reality it was 7 1/2 years ago. The difference is that now I’m totally jaded.
Our minivan has a built-in navigation system and the UI is a total clunkfest. It’s not terrible, but there’s a little thing called the iPhone that kind of came up and changed things a bit. While Android sports really solid turn-by-turn directions out of the box, on the iPhone most people go for the economically-priced MotionX-GPS Drive, including me.
Here’s the thing. I can get an annual map update DVD for my car for about $250. MotionX costs $0.99 for the app, and $10 for annual voice guidance. MotionX includes traffic awareness, and on the minivan I’d need to pay about $5/month for that. It’s no contest: MotionX wins.
The quality of the routing is very good too. Traffic is respected (this actually requires a monthly subscription on the minivan), and with a simple suction cup holder, it’s easily viewed without getting in the way.
In any case it’s quite impressive that in the time since the first Ping, we’ve gotten to the point where navigation systems became far more common in cars and then pretty much got outmoded.