updated 07:45 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Tracker now lets users share links to live maps
New social media functions, new apps and new features for its iOS apps mark navigation software and hardware maker Garmin's presence at MacWorld/iWorld, currently going on in San Francisco. Among the other features, updates will let users "check in" using social services via their navigation apps, integrate their exercise with Garmin tools, go on a digital treasure hunt, plan private-plane flights and send out map links to a live tracking map to others.
The StreetPilot onDemand app ($1) launched last August (and currently celebrating MacWorld with 33 percent off sale on annual subscriptions, making them $20 instead of $30) will be updated to integrate Wikipedia, Facebook and Foursquare, the company says. Users can display information about locations and "check in" upon arrival to a destination. The app's next update will also include more voices and vehicle icons along with improved 3D renderings of buildings.
The company will also update the Garmin Onboard app as well. Users will also be able to check live fuel prices and discover exit services at each stop along the way, as well as see real-time traffic images using the familiar Nuvi interface. The company will lower the price on the app to $40 rather than its normal $50 during MacWorld for the US version, and will also reduce the North American version to $50 from its normal $60.
Garmin also plans to improve the the Navigon app, now letting it download state maps individually and show landscapes in 3D. The Navigon app will also get $10 off its normal prices during MacWorld, making the app $40 for the US edition, $50 for the North America region, and $20 for the customized MyRegion edition.
Working in conjunction with the GTU 10 tracking device, the Garmin Tracker app (free) lets you follow virtually anything, and set up geo-fences to get alerts when the tracker crosses in or out of the geo-fenced area. The new version of the app allows continuous tracking and lets uses send out map links to other who can also follow the device.
Geocaching lovers can use the company's OpenCaching app (free) to join communities of geo-cachers who hide treasure troves all over the world, and can assist hikers, scouts and nature lovers in exploring and finding the caches in a worldwide digital treasure hunt, including clues and details. Users can hide stuff, find stuff, share cache information and log their adventures right on the iPhone (also available for Android smartphones).
The company also offers a Garmin Fit app ($1) that lets users see their live fitness stats for running, walking and cycling. The app also lets users share activities with others and works with optional ANT iPhone adapter to let Garmin fitness sensors give users information including heart rate, foot pod and speed/cadence monitoring.
Finally, the company is also offering an iPad app specifically for pilots, called the Pilot My-Cast (free) that focuses on aviation-centric weather and flight planning, and can be used by general aviation, corporate or even commercial pilots. The app gives pilots a true "paperless" cockpit, including weather and flight planning along with navigation.