A new Garmin GPS app called Smartphone Link lets Android users stream real-time information to their GPS navigation device using their cel phone’s data plan. It is the first Android app to provide live services to personal navigation devices (PNDs).
Smartphone Link utilizes your Android device’s existing connection so you won’t have to purchase a separate wireless plan in order to enable the handful of services available from Garmin (GRMN). Data is received by the phone and transmitted to the GPS device, for display on the navigator’s screen.
The app can display real-time traffic information, traffic cam images, weather info and fuel prices quickly and easily on your Android cell phone.
“Garmin Smartphone Link solves the problem of having to pay for an extra data plan to use live services on a PND by utilizing the existing connection of a smartphone,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “It is a great example of how smartphone apps can complement navigation devices, which offer key benefits such as bigger screens and better GPS reception.”
The app is available free in the Android Market, and works with any Bluetooth-enabled 2012 Garmin Nuvi model. Free information includes access to product updates from Garmin, along with basic weather reporting. Unfortunately many of the more useful services requires a subscription.
Premium services include: Live traffic updated every two minutes adds $20 per year. Area fuel prices are available for $10 per year, and enhanced weather with current and five-day forecasts for major cities in the United States and Canada, along with weather alerts costs $5 per year. Current images from traffic cameras adds $10 per year.