Magellan Sends Its Eldest Child Into the iPhone Turn-By-Turn App War, Tearfully

In this war there are two battles: the polite, traditional fight between expensive, full-featured apps like Navigon and TomTom, and the I-will-undercut-you-if-it-means-killing-my-own-mother gorefest of the cheaper apps, like MotionX and Gokivo. With RoadMate, Magellan has taken the road less bloody.


Debuting at $80 (and presumably climbing to $100 later), RoadMate recreates as much of the Magellan dedicated PND experience as possible, which means the interface is a full conversion—there's very little in the way of iPhone-ness here, even down to a replacement keyboard. In addition, it falls on the conservative side of the map storage debate, holding its data locally—great for when you might be in a bad service area, but not so great if you don't want to set aside 1.3GB of space for an app.

The rest of the feature list is appropriate to the price: spoken street names, simulated lane guidance, 3D landmarks, in-app music controls and address book integration are all there, as are a few newbies like a "Find Your Car" GPS function and a pedestrian mode, and a "OneTouch" menu, which is basically a panel of search shortcuts for stuff like pizza and nearby gas stations.

I can't pass judgment on this app without running it through its paces (which yes, we will do eventually) but it comes at an awkward time. While cheap apps have been nipping at the heels of more expensive, prestige brand apps for a few months now, Google's telegraphed their intention to nuke the hell out of everyone, someday, which can't be the best way to lead into a new product launch. RoadMate is available in the App Store now. [Magellan]


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