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Garmin Software Converts Smartphone To GPS

Olathe, Kan.— Garmin announced new software that can turn some smartphones into a Garmin GPS device.

The new Garmin Mobile XT can be used with a handful of new smartphones that have built-in GPS chips such as the BlackBerry 8800 and Nokia N95.

The software ships on a microSD card preloaded with maps of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico or Europe. When the user inserts the card, Mobile XT launches automatically and the consumer sees the same opening screen as on a typical Garmin personal navigation device such as the Nuvi. It also allows real-time traffic alerts and fuel prices, but without any monthly service fees.

Typically, GPS-ready smartphones offer navigation only when the user subscribes to a service at a monthly fee, Garmin said.

The Mobile XT application will work even in areas where the smartphone does not receive service.

The software also includes PeerPoints that lets users send their positions to any other phone and to navigate to the location of other Mobile XT users.

Mobile XT is available now at $99.