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With an increasing number of new cell phones offering free, integrated turn-by-turn navigation, the days of the standalone navigation device must surely be numbered. Of course, those dedicated navigators still offer some features you can't (yet) get elsewhere, such as the Darth Vader or Dennis Hopper voices for TomTom and downloadable vehicles for the Garmin Nuvi.

Garmin users can replace the regular old arrow that shows your direction with dozens of vehicles ranging from classics like the BMW Isetta, to space shuttles, to Bumblebee, as seen above. Does it improve the functionality of your Nuvi in any way? Of course not, but it can make the little screen more fun to look at. The Nuvi vehicle downloads are free from a non-Garmin-affiliated third party, while most of the TomTom voices cost extra. Will this sort of thing have us trading in our Droid? Not a chance.

[Source: Vehicles for Garmin Nuvi]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This function has been around for awhile. I'm still using the Black Pearl icon. No it doesn't help but it makes it a little more fun than an arrow.
      • 4 Years Ago
      also tomtom users can do that..
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was going to mention that. Tom Tom also lets you create and share your own vehicle pictures, poi's, map corrections, startup and shutdown screens. It is the community input and customizations that make Tom Tom way better in my view.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is fun, and the custom voices are good too,

      Sometimes the algorithms hiccup, in that case use a dose of common sense.

      • 4 Years Ago
      dibs on the Millennium Falcon... how fast did it do the Kessel Run (Star Wars version of the Nurburgring)?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Less than twelve parsecs . . . . .
        • 4 Years Ago
        but but but... parsecs is a measure of distance, not time!
      • 4 Years Ago
      The garmin nuvi is a piece of crap and not worth the money. Mine gives really misleading directions all the time that send me miles out of my way. An example, recently I was helping move a piano and we didn't know how to get to the apartment it was at so we used my nuvi. It told us to stay to the right towards the I-805 south toward National city. With an instruction that clear seems like it must the right way right? Nope, the second we get to the point on the ramp that splits north and south it tells us to go north! Why the heck tell use to head south if it wanted us to go north? If garmin wants to keep up with cell phone gps why not instead of cheap gimmicks like that stupid bumblebee thing instead offer clear accurate directions? I've never seen a phone gps that could do that as well as some of the more expensive dedicated ones.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Totally agreed. I owned a Nuvi for a day. I was using it in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Even with updates it's maps and directions were no where near as good as my Aunts Tomtom with out of date maps so I took it back to Walmart and swapped them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My nuvi 1690 works great. It's been way more accurate and useful than the factory navigation systems I've owned.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Integrate Police radar trap detection.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The problem with phone-based navigation is that it's dependent on the wireless data service. In most urban and suburban areas this isn't a big deal, but there are big stretches of the country that still have spotty service. I use google and sprint nav on my crackberry a fair amount, especially for ad hoc needs, but if I'm going on a trip that's not a destination I'm very familiar with, I take the TomTom.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You seem a little mislead on the phone GPS systems. The latest phones have built in A-GPS, which uses satellite and cell tower location systems. It is as accurate as satellite only systems, but is faster due to the quick locating abilities of the cell tower systems.

        Many Blackberry's don't have a GPS function, and must rely on the cell tower locating abilities of Google maps.

        My Droid Incredible is way more useful than my Honda Nav unit, or my wifes Garmin.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @FFairlane: In fact I know quite well how they work. Most phones aren't entirely dependent on the cellular system for their GPS coordinates (though some have stupid restrictions placed on them by developers) but they're dependent on wireless data for map data and routing. Most phones don't have a detailed US map built into them, nor do they download the entire route when you plan one. I'm not sure if the mobile-company nav applications download the entire route when you set it or download chunks on the fly, but I know that Google Maps on the Blackberry doesn't download the detailed map for the whole route at the outset.

        Also, if you're already in Timbuktu when you decide you want to plot a route from where you happen to be to some new destination, you'd need wireless data to get the NEW route even if your existing route was already loaded end-to-end.
      • 4 Years Ago
      DROID.

      Google maps, apps which tell you of all the POI's and it even has street view from Google for the navigator to get it exactly right. Plus I can listen to Pandora radio!

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