I’ve spent a little time today looking at the various turn-by-turn navigation apps available. They are all expensive – the cheapest is $20 and awful; the cheapest decent one is $35, and the high-end apps are $90-$100. While the TomTom iPhone mount is pretty nice looking, even in a bundle with the software you’re looking at as much money as a cheaper standalone TomTom – and with one of those, my phone isn’t occupied with the GPS app.

The real problem seems to me is that all have built-in map support, and up-to-date map licenses are expensive. While I understand the benefits of having built-in maps, they’re what drives the price of these up. And truthfully, the amount of time I’m on roads where I don’t have 3G coverage is pretty rare, and my data plan is practically unlimited.

What I need is a voice turn-by-turn plugin for the standard Google Maps app, or a $5-10 app that uses the Google Maps app and 3G but gives me turn-by-turn directions. Sadly, as far as I can tell, no-one’s talking about the need for one or developing one. And once again I wish I’d learned how to program.

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