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AT&T Navigator turn-by-turn GPS solution hits the App Store

AT&T on Tuesday became the latest player to attempt to capitalize on what's sure to become a multi-million dollar market for iPhone-based turn-by-turn GPS driving solutions, launching its AT&T Navigator software on the App Store.

Like similar offerings for other AT&T handsets, the software was developed by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based TeleNav and branded as AT&T Navigator. The application itself (AppStore) is free, but requires a $9.95 monthly service subscription, which the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier plans to market alongside new iPhone sales at its retail and online stores as a bolt-on service.

Compatible with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S running iPhone Software 3.0, the software promises voice-guide, 3D on-screen navigation with automatic rerouting incase users miss a turn. The monthly subscription fee also covers automatic map updates that will be downloaded to the iPhone and real-time traffic updates.

Users of the software can also search for the lowest gas prices, and the closest coffee shops and AT&T WiFi hotspots along their driving routes. Trips can be planned by entering addresses on the iPhone itself, or from a Mac or PC, where they'll then be synced over to the the Apple handset.

Early reviews of the software have been relatively positive, though one reviewer notes that maps are not stored in the application itself, which means they're download in real-time, which could pose a problem in areas where wireless service is unavailable.

AT&T Navigator is bound to face off against an upcoming offering from GPS device maker TomTom, the software for which is being developed with the help of Apple engineers. It will be sold alongside a TomTom car kit accessory, which enhances the iPhone's GPS signal through its dock connector thanks to third-party accessory support built into the iPhone SDK 3.0.

The kit also charges the iPhone, includes a built-in loud speaker for spoken turn-by-turn directions, and comes equipped with a microphone for hands-free calling. TomTom has yet to announce pricing for either the software or the car kit.

On Monday, Navigon released its own MobileNavigator for European residents. The software fetches £54.99 and includes built-in 2D and 3D maps of Europe, allowing it to function without a wireless connection.

AT&T's plans to introduce a TeleNav-developed AT&T Navigator solution to iPhone owners for a $9.95 monthly subscription fee were first reported by AppleInsider earlier this month.