Update: Now available for iOS (compatible with 2013 Bluetooth nuvis).
I’ve been living with Garmin’s Smartphone Link Android app for a few months now, and there are a lot of things I like about it. I haven’t tested all the features, but I’ll walk you through the ones I have tried.
About the Smartphone Link app
The Android app itself is available free from Google Play and Garmin is apparently looking into an iPhone version. It is compatible with newer nuvis with Bluetooth, which means you can use it with the nüvi 2475LT, 2495LMT, 2595LM, 2595LMT, 3490LMT and 3590LMT. You may need a firmware update for it to work with your model.
There are both free and premium features available within the app. Free ones include the ability to send a destination to the nuvi from your phone, basic weather, dynamic parking and Garmin tracker. Premium live services include traffic, photoLive traffic cameras, fuel prices and advanced weather.
Let’s look at a few of these in more detail…
Send a destination from your phone
This is definitely one of my favorite features, as it allows you to search for points of interest (POIs) from Google Maps on your phone (see images above and below) and send them to your nuvi. You can even plan trips ahead of time by starring a destination on your computer, accessing it in Google Maps on your phone and sending it to your nuvi. Best of all, this feature is free.
photoLive traffic cameras
This is a premium feature which costs $9.99 per year, but it seems like a very useful one to commuters. You can set it up to show your favorite cameras and then tap on one to see a full screen image. Here’s a link allowing you to check to see what traffic cameras are available in your area.
This free feature provides localized weather forecasts.
Pay an extra $4.99 per year and you’ll get color-coded animated radar imagery and weather alerts.
The free Tracker feature allows you to share your location via an emailed link, Twitter or Facebook. It has some nice flexibility built-in, allowing you to do things like customize how long you can be tracked. The flip side is that it is cumbersome. Garmin seems concerned (and rightfully so) about privacy issues, but they may have gone a bit overboard and made it needlessly complex.
As a result, I encourage you to play around with this feature and make sure you have it working properly before you depend upon it to send your location to anyone.
Are you using Smartphone Link? Do you find it worthwhile? Have you tried the live traffic or fuel price services? If so, let us know what you think.