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After TomTom’s much touted iPhone app announcement, made in conjunction with the 3G S announcement, AT&T yesterday announced it will launch an iPhone version of its Navigator personal navigation system. It will include spoken directions, business listings from, and a pretty standard list of features for navigation apps and PNDs.

Here are the rest:

— Automatic Content Updates: No manual updates required. The latest map and navigating details are automatically available to subscribers at no extra cost.

— Voice and On-Screen Turn-By-Turn Directions: Real-time voice and visual guidance, including street names, automatic re-routes, ETA and total mileage updates. Drivers can also choose among multiple route options, including ‘traffic optimized’; ‘fastest’; ‘prefer streets’; ‘prefer highways’ and ‘pedestrian mode’ to ensure the most customized navigation experience.

— Speech Recognition: Touch and talk capability for instant turn-by-turn directions to destination.
Traffic Alerts: Real-time route monitoring and proactive searches every five minutes for traffic congestion or incident. Voice and on-screen alerts, plus faster route options provided.

— 3D Maps: Full-color 3D moving map brings navigation to life. Maps provide details on current location, plus streets and interstates within driving distance.

— Business Listings: One-touch access to more than 10 million business listings from YELLOWPAGES.COM. Plus, access to business ratings, phone numbers and one-touch dialing.

— In-Route Customization: Users have the advantage of finding convenient rest stops for gas, food and other needs along their current route – saving both time and mileage.

— Online Trip Planning: Preplan trips, save addresses and manage travel accounts online at Save locations and send directions straight to iPhone.

With growing smartphone capability and penetration, expect to see many more of these. Increasing numbers of navigation apps for smartphones (versus a separate PND) will cause price competition. The AT&T Navigator app for iPhone will cost $9.99 per month, billed by AT&T.

This is also an interesting model that answers one of the criticisms toward the business of app development — the challenge in making sustainable subscription revenue. AT&T is in a unique spot to do this because of it’s ties to the iPhone and existing billing system for its subscribers.

But we’re also seeing lots of transaction and payment systems developing in the mobile space, which could cause an increase in subscription services for more functional native apps. Currently subscription services are mostly limited to mobile web based services from carriers — again tied to carrier billing.

See the video on AT&T Navigator here.

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