While some GPS-makers might see the staggering prevalence of smartphones as a bad thing, Garmin is harnessing their ubiquity to make their own products better. Yesterday, Garmin announced the release of Smartphone Link, a companion app for Android devices that allows its Bluetooth-enabled personal navigation devices (PNGs) to gather live traffic and weather data over users’ wireless network. Smartphone Link also includes some nifty features, like the ability to mark the location where your car is parked and find your way back to it via a map on your Android device
While the Smartphone Linke app is free, many of the features will cost a nominal annual fee, like $10 for live traffic camera feeds, and $5 for premium weather reports. You’ll also need to pick up one of Garmin’s Blutooth-enabled devices. For the video below, Garmin showed off Smartphone Link’s function with the help of its new nüvi 3590LMT PNG, which will run you about $400 thanks to other premium features, like voice recognition.
The app really isn’t that complicated, but we gave it a quick run-through on the CES 2012 show floor, and it worked smoothly. The organization of the features was straightforward, and it all basically worked as advertised.
Below, watch Garmin’s app expert Johan Till-Broer takes us through Smartphone Link, and its variety of features: