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Bring your beater car into the 21st century with Magellan's SmartGPS

TechHive staff | May 3, 2013
As more and more smart cars come online, perfectly good older cars start to look...old. You can bring some of that connected-car experience to your beloved beater with Magellan's new SmartGPS.

Yelp and Foursquare tips at the ready

One tile displays Yelp-reviewed businesses in your vicinity, while another displays Foursquare check-ins. These tiles show the location of the business (you can tap on a tile to make it bigger, and to have the SmartGPS guide you to that business), as well as its Yelp rating or Foursquare reviews and special offers. For example, a restaurant near me offers a free cup of clam chowder for its Foursquare mayor, while a massage parlor is offering a $50 off coupon for Yelp users. So this is a quick way to learn about deals near you.

The tiles are sort of like Windows Phone's Live tiles, in that they're constantly flipping through different places. They're not actually updating; the SmartGPS downloads most of its data when it's connected to a Wi-Fi network. If you leave them alone, you'll see the Yelp and Foursquare tiles rifle through the different businesses near you. You can also manually flip the tiles with your finger, if you want to find a certain business or look through gas prices.

Making any car a connected car

The question you're probably asking is...why do you need a standalone device for this kind of data and information when you've got your smartphone? And the answer is, you don't, assuming your state allows you to use your phone while driving. Magellan is updating its $60 RoadMate app to include these smart flipping tiles. The current RoadMate app features GPS navigation, traffic information, safety alerts (if you purchase them), and turn-by-turn navigation. But the updated app will include integrated Yelp and Foursquare info and gas prices in constantly-updating tiles that you can flip through, so you can experience the SmartGPS on your smartphone.

Magellan's SmartGPS is a neat product for people who are looking for a connected-car experience in their not-so-cutting-edge vehicle. It downloads all of its major data over Wi-Fi, so you don't have to worry about its sucking away your phone's data, though it does connect to your phone via Bluetooth to get minor updates. It also works as a hands-free calling device, and can connect to a Magellan wireless back-up camera. Plus, the cloud synchronization is useful: Just look up an address on your phone or on Magellan's web portal, and you can push directions directly to your SmartGPS, so you're ready to go when you get in the car. It's one of the best options you have for bringing your 1998 beater into the 21st century.


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