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10/3/2007
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Garmin's New Software Turns Smartphones Into GPS Devices

In addition to usual GPS features such as traffic alerts, fuel prices, and audible directions, the Garmin Mobile XT lets users find directions using their contact list or calendar entries.

Garmin, a maker of navigation devices and applications, on Wednesday rolled out software that can turn a smartphone into a Garmin GPS device.

Garmin Mobile XT pairs a smartphone's built-in GPS with Garmin's software to create a full-featured navigation device that can take users to any location in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, or Europe.

"It's a one-time investment that gives customers full-featured GPS navigation on their smartphone whenever and wherever they need it, including areas outside of wireless network coverage," said Charles Morse, Garmin's director of mobile marketing, in a statement.

The software is different from other mobile phone applications because it comes with preloaded maps and can access content like traffic alerts and fuel prices, according to Garmin. The fuel price feature, for example, displays the station's name, fuel price, type of fuel, and distance to the station.

Garmin Mobile XT comes preloaded on a microSD card that includes Garmin navigation software and launches automatically when the card is inserted into a compatible smartphone. Users can route to a specific street address or choose a hotel, restaurant, gas station, or any other location.

Other features include turn-by-turn audible directions and the ability to see the exact position on a detailed moving map.

A person can use the software to find the location of a contact in their phone's address book or a calendar appointment, which is the benefit of having the software on a smartphone versus using a standalone GPS device.

Garmin Mobile XT doesn't require monthly fees or subscriptions and costs $99.

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