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Ford to Offer Smartphone-Based In-Vehicle Navigation

By - Source: Gigaom | B 8 comments

TeleNav's Android application can now sync up with AppLink equipped vehicles for an affordable, pseudo-onboard navigation system.

With more and more consumers switching over to GPS-equipped smartphones, forking over a massive premium for an expensive onboard navigation system can seem a bit unnecessary.

On the other hand, having a navigation system built into a car makes things a little bit easier than using your smartphone while driving. Hoping to address these two issues, Ford has announced a new, affordable way to get convenient, turn-by-turn vehicle navigation into your car.

Last week, Ford's navigation provider TeleNav announced a new Android-friendly edition of its Scout navigation app.

Now, if you have a Ford vehicle equipped with the AppLink system, the Scout app will automatically connect to the vehicle, turning the dash into a scaled-down version of an onboard navigation system. The current update only works for Android phones on the Verizon, AT&T and Sprint networks, but TeleNav says T-Mobile support will be available shortly.

Of course, you won't be getting all of the perks of a standard onboard navigation system, but the AppLink screen will be able to provide basic route instructions and even give you voice commands. This could also be a good thing, seeing as how you won't have any big interactive maps to distract your eyes from the road. The Scout app will also synchronize with the AppLink's voice command system, allowing you to easily access preset destinations from your phone or search online for points of interest using your smartphone's data connection.

Unfortunately, you'll have to sign up for a $25 annual subscription fee to use the Scout's Car Connect feature. Another option is to pay $5 each month with the month-by-month model. But either way, it's a whole lot cheaper than upgrading to a factory installed onboard navigation system.


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  • 4 Hide
    velocityg4 , September 25, 2012 3:48 PM
    No thanks. I hate these systems that rely on interlinking with modern devices being built in to cars. What's the point? In five years it will be useless because it won't be compatible with anything anymore ten years max. At least with cassette tapes or CD's you could keep using your old tapes.

    It's not like GPS is expensive anyways. I can pickup a TomTom for about $120 that has unlimited map updates. I'm sure Ford could negotiate an integrated deal for even less. The only expensive thing about integrated GPS is that the auto makers charge you ten times what it cost them or require you to get the super duper model with power everything, Bose 50 speaker audio, leather, powertrain package, ballsack massager &c.

    Also in the old cars you could replace your aging stereo no problems. Now they integrate remote buttons for the stereo around the car and have the stereo work as an information display so you can't replace the darn thing when these connections become obsolete. If you do replace it you're left with useless buttons and loss of information.

  • 1 Hide
    cknobman , September 25, 2012 3:54 PM
    Google Maps and Navigation work perfect on my smart phone for free. It works so well I usually dont ever have to type in an address. I also get turn by turn spoken navigation via the speaker on my phone.

    Best part about it: ITS FREE!!!!

  • 3 Hide
    lyons75 , September 25, 2012 7:03 PM
    I find it very interesting that Ford sees market for a fee based service here when, as cknobman points out, we've all been doing this through our phones just fine for free.
  • Display all 8 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    ejb222 , September 25, 2012 7:14 PM
    There is no need for those giant GPS screens in cars. I know they serve as the UI for the radios etc too...but why not just remove the GPS and make that a powered smartphone holder. Now you have the GPS and with bluetooth, it can connect to your car radio.
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , September 25, 2012 8:23 PM
    OK, or just have a screen in the dash that has WIDI or an HDMI port.. plug the smartphone into that, there you go.
  • 0 Hide
    twelch82 , September 25, 2012 9:30 PM
    Why not make a deal with Google so it can take advantage of the Google maps that people already have?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 26, 2012 11:34 AM
    ford isn't really offering anything other then an aux audio port it would seem
  • 0 Hide
    jonnyhuk2 , September 27, 2012 9:50 AM
    Trouble with built in systems is that they age so much faster than the car. You could buy yourself a very nice 5 year old vehicle, it would still seem pretty modern and up to date and in good condition. But imagine buying a 5 year old computer or SatNav or mobile phone, how dated, limited and slow it would be.
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