TomTom for iOS now syncs with iCloud

Over the weekend, the TomTom app for iPhone and iPad devices updated from version 1.12 to 1.13. This 1/100th of a full version update included compatibility with Apple's new 7-inch iPad Mini and added support for Apple's iCloud data synchronization service.

After installing the update and establishing a connection with your iCloud account, TomTom automatically backs up your settings, recent destinations, and favorite POIs to the cloud where they can be recalled in the event you ever need to reinstall the app, switch devices, or need to sync your data across multiple devices. Data synchronization … Read more

5 safe places to put your smartphone while driving

After moving to a new city and buying a new car to get around in, a close friend of mine found herself needing some sort of GPS navigation to guide her around her new hometown. So, she bought a used portable navigation device and hit the road.

"This GPS sucks! The maps are out of date and it didn't come with a cable to connect to my computer for updating!" she declared after just a few trips.

"Wait, didn't you just buy a new iPhone?" I realized aloud. "You have to be the … Read more

This Android traffic app starts fast, but eventually leaves you stranded

The latest update to the Inrix Traffic app for Android is a fairly large one. The app gets a visual refresh that makes use of Android's Holo design language. An updated and clearer Places screen makes it easier for drivers to estimate travel times and share those times with others.

Inrix is, simply, a traffic app. It will let you know how much traffic you'll encounter on your way home and to work, but it won't actually give you directions as to how tol get there. Can such an app be useful? Let's take a closer … Read more

Ford, GM, open up to developers at CES 2013

LAS VEGAS--Ford and GM both surprised the automotive and technology worlds by announcing developer programs for their in-car software platforms, essentially replicating the ecosystem of the smartphone on the dashboard. The two launched Web sites with nearly identical URLs, and, to support independent development of apps for their cars.

Ford already boasts about 20 apps integrated with its Sync AppLink system, with nine new apps announced at the show. GM is behind in the dashboard app game, but the open development program should give it a jumpstart.

The programs are designed to encourage developers … Read more

Porsche gets online search, entertainment at CES 2013

LAS VEGAS--A bright-red Cayenne GTS parked at CES 2013 showcased Porsche's newly announced integration with Aha, an online service combining channels for radio stations, Slacker, audiobooks, podcasts, and other Internet-based content. And in a first for both Aha and Porsche, the system adds Google local search.

Drivers will need to load the Aha app on their smartphones and create an account, after which they can browse through Aha's collection of 30,000 channels, adding them to a favorites list. Hooking the phone up to a Porsche equipped with the Aha Online Services option, drivers will be able to … Read more

Next-gen Chevy MyLink employs smartphone flexibility

LAS VEGAS--Cabin tech interfaces receive a lot of criticism for being clunky, ugly, and slow, but Chevrolet may have cracked the code by copying the smartphone. The newest generation of the MyLink infotainment system runs smoothly and employs icons that look, and can be rearranged, like those on a smartphone.

Similar to an iPhone, drivers of the new Impala will be able to put the interface into edit mode, and move icons around on the touch screen. The icons cover everything from navigation to phone to apps such as Pandora. To make the system better suited to cars, there are … Read more

GM opening cars up for app development

LAS VEGAS--On the same day that Ford announced its Sync AppLink developer program, GM came out with its own take, announcing it would make APIs and other resources available so developers can build apps for the car.

GM announced a new Web site,, where developers will be able to download the SDK for its new app framework. It also demonstrated integration with iHeart Radio, TuneIn, Slacker, and The Weather Channel on the new framework.

GM plans on offering the new framework in some 2014 model year vehicles, which could come out as early as this summer. … Read more

Ford introduces nine new apps for the car at CES 2013

LAS VEGAS--Over the past year, Ford announced a few new apps integrated with its Sync AppLink platform every quarter, bringing the total to 10. At CES 2013, Ford takes a big leap, adding nine apps to the car.

Drivers with Ford models featuring Sync AppLink will be able to use the following nine apps with their car's voice command and dashboard controls.

Wall Street Journal USA Today Kaliki Amazon Cloud Player Aha Radio Rhapsody Greater Media Glympse BeCouply

The newly compatible apps join the existing roster, which includes Pandora, Stitcher, NPR, and Scout navigation.

Ford divides compatible apps into … Read more

Garmin K2 platform previews the dashboard of the near future

LAS VEGAS -- We've seen Garmin GPS devices on the dashboard. We've seen Garmin navigation in the dashboard as part of Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system. And with the unveiling of Garmin's K2 infotainment platform at CES 2013, we get a peek at what happens when Garmin takes over the whole dashboard.

Obviously, this new system will be powered by and showcase Garmin's maps and routing algorithms. However, the K2 platform also combines a number of dashboard technologies ranging beyond navigation into what Garmin hopes will be a more cohesive in-car experience.

At the center of … Read more

2013 Garmin Nuvi series gives more human sounding directions

LAS VEGAS -- There's life yet to be found in the portable navigation market. Garmin has just pulled the wraps off of its new line of Nuvi GPS navigators at CES 2013. We were able to get a brief hands-on with what appears to be the best Garmin Nuvi models yet.

Before we get too carried away, the new Nuvi models largely behave like the old models, but there are a few new features that bear mentioning. Most interestingly, the new Nuvis boast a feature that Garmin calls Real Directions, which augments the standard turn-by-turn directions and text-to-speech spoken … Read more