Whether in the car or out and about on foot, we often find ourselves wishing we'd remembered to bring our GPS along. From a last-minute weekend away to an impromptu meeting across town, the simplest of journeys can soon turn into a nightmare if you can't find your way quickly and easily. Now it looks the solution could finally be here, but instead of loading up your already brimming bag or pockets with another device, now all you need is a smartphone with an integrated GPS chip and a navigation application. In many ways, it's the ideal solution, as your mobile will fit perfectly in your pocket, and chances are you'll already be used to taking it with you wherever you go.
The satnav of the future already in your pocket?
Even though most of the sat nav systems currently in use are stand-alone units rather than GPS-enabled smartphones, the next few years could see a total reversal in this trend. In fact, satnav manufacturers are no longer hedging their bets on increasing sales of traditional GPS units, as even if they're still outselling GPS phones, this is almost certainly set to change. Smartphone manufacturers are equipping more and more models with a GPS to be sure to reap the full potential of this new market's rewards. It's become an important selling point, and some mobile makers have even developed their own custom navigation applications. Many big-name developers of route guidance software (TomTom, Navigon, etc.) now also make app-based versions for smartphones, and there's a host of newcomers to the sector too, as marketing and distributing programs has never been easier thanks to online application stores.
Multi-platform GPS apps
At the moment, mobile GPS apps are available for smartphones running the three main mobile operating systems: Apple's iOS for the iPhone, Google's Android (used by HTC, Samsung, Motorola and more) and Microsoft Windows Mobile (also used by HTC and Samsung, etc.). For Symbian OS, Nokia offers its own custom navigation application known as Ovi Maps.
> For those of you who don't have a compatible smartphone or who don't like the idea of using your phone as a navigation system, you can always find a stand-alone sat nav in the GPS Reviews section of our website.