On Sunday, GPS software and device maker Garmin announced that they have partnered with Sony to bring their GPS software to Sony Xperia smartphones, and have created an extension for Sony SmartWatch 2.1 Joern Watzke, vice president world-wide mobile business at Garmin said of the new partnership:
Garmin XperiaEdition boasts a comprehensive navigation feature set not available from other apps. The unique integration with Sony SmartWatch 2 provides users a seamless experience that extends smartphone navigation in the car to displaying pedestrian directions on the user’s wrist.2
While it is easy to assume that Google Maps is the best thing out there, the extensive feature list of the new Garmin XperiaEdition make it quite clear that it is superior, if at a cost:
Garmin Xperia Edition features onboard maps stored locally on the smartphone, so users can navigate even in areas where cell phone coverage is spotty, such as when traveling in the backcountry…With the Reality Scanner function, users can even display nearby points of interest in a live camera view. The app also features a Trip Editor to plan trips with multiple destinations in advance…With Traffic Live users get routed around gridlock, and once they arrive at their destination, Clever Parking provides information on nearby garages. Urban Guidance integrates public transportation, complete with detailed itineraries of transit stops. The Last Mile function automatically saves the position of the parked car and switches into pedestrian mode to provide walking directions.3
This is a pretty interesting use of GPS in both the Sony smartphones and the Sony SmartWatch 2. The walking directions are pretty remarkable, and present one of the best smartwatch applications that we have seen. Though the fact that Google Maps is free will most likely deter people from spending any money on any sort of GPS navigator – even with the low $2.95 monthly price tag – it is nevertheless pretty remarkable. Look for the new Garmin Xperia Edition and its extension for the SmartWatch 2 to become available sometime in March 2014.