The CycleNav: Putting the “win” back in “Schwinn.” Photo: Eli Milchman
LAS VEGAS — Remember the Hammerhead? It’s a device that attaches to your bicycle, links to the GPS on your phone via Bluetooth, and guides you along a pre-chosen route by flashing a left or right light when you need to turn.
Schwinn‘s new CycleNav does one better. Like the Hammerhead, it attaches to your bike (via quick release) and flashes an LED light to alert you to an upcoming turn. But it also speaks voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation to you through a speaker, just like your iPhone does.
It’s become horribly obvious that the more a driver fiddles with their phone, the better chance they have of becoming involved in a car accident. But even taking one’s eyes off the road can be problematic — so Slovakian-based Sygic has added a head-up display mode to their iOS turn-by-turn navigation apps that tries to alleviate the problem by keeping the driver’s eyes focused on the road.
Ever tried using an iPhone or Android phone to navigate with GPS through crowded streets? It’s pretty difficult, even for a veteran cyclist like me, to split my focus between the road and tiny symbols on the phone’s tiny screen.
Plugging in to a headset to hear turn-by-turn directions sometimes works, but cycling with headphones can also be a pain (not to mention illegal in places under certain conditions).
The answer, of course, is a heads-up display like Google Glass; but until it’s ready, there’s the Hammerhead, a light-powered navigation aid with some other cool tricks up its sleeve.
Komoot (like commute, only not) is a gem of an app for German bikers and hikers. Or rather, it was: with today’s v5.2 update, the navigation app now comes in English, and adds support for a slew of new countries.
The short form: If you ever take to two wheels, then you need this app.
Got a Wi-Fi-only iPad, but want to access a location on Google Maps when you’re out and about in the car? How about looking at your map when the signal on your iPhone isn’t strong enough, or even when it’s non-existent?
Well, the latest iOS version of Google Maps has been updated, and one of the less publicized features is the ability to save locations for access offline. The Android version has had this feature for a while, but this is the first time the iOS one has gotten the ability.
The way you activate this feature is also kind of cute, so check it out.
Google Maps has been updated to 2.0 for iOS, which means that it finally has a native iPad interface. No longer will iPad users have to deal with stupidly-oversized navigation elements on the 2x pixel-doubled screen.
ForeverMap 2 is one of those great apps that should be a no-brainer download for any even moderately frequent map user. Unlike either the standard iOS Maps app or the Google Maps app, ForeverMap 2 can download and store custom maps on your device — allowing you to use the map and accompanying navigation features even without a wifi or data connection.
Today, ForeverMap 2 has been updated with behind-the-curtain improvements to make it much faster, and it now also includes guide information from Wikitravel. It can even route bicycle trips. Best of all, Skobbler has dropped the price from $3 to free till the end of the day.
Garmin has just announced a neat new HUD box that takes the map info from your iPhone and projects it up onto your car windshield. Named after the Paul Newman character in the movie of the same name, the HUD is designed to work with Garmin’s Navigon and Street Pilot apps, connecting to the host phone via Bluetooth.
By now you’ve probably caught wind of the short list of great apps that’ve gone free in celebration of the App Store’s fifth anniversary (if you haven’t grabbed these apps yet, take a look now before all the free ends).
Missing from that list of free apps is Localscope, a fantastic navigation and discovery tool that Apple called the best navigation app of 2011.