Garmin, the company primarily known to consumers as the makers of in-vehicle GPS navigation products, has launched víago, a new smartphone app for both Android and iOS platforms.

The list price for víago is $1.99, and Garmin refers to it as a premium navigation app. It is available for download for an introductory price of 99 cents through July 13.

Still, Google Maps offers most of víago's features at no charge. Once a user starts accessorizing víago, the price can get north of comfortable quickly. But víago's intro price will still attract a lot of Garmin loyalists and encourage Google users to give it a try.

Basic víago offers step-up features from free apps on the market. It includes access to off-board maps for many regions around the world and features such as current speed, speed limit display, lane assist, weather info, in-map traffic display and photo-realistic junction views.

Garmin's víago is also easily expandable through the purchase of app add-ons. Some of these include downloadable maps (Maps to Go) that can be viewed in offline mode, real-time traffic with automatic re-routing, public transportation navigation, 3D terrain view and more.

Víago also offers Garmin's Real Directions as an in-app purchase ($9.99). Real Directions provides spoken turn-by-turn directions that are more detailed, by including landmarks, buildings, stop signs and traffic lights.

"Garmin víago offers the best navigation available from Garmin, helping drivers to reduce stress and save time on the road," said Joern Watzke, VP of worldwide mobile business at Garmin Wuerzburg GmbH. "The comprehensive feature set goes far beyond simple turn-by-turn directions. Premium in-app purchase options allow users to only choose the features they want."

Right "out of the box" víago includes weather reporting, current speed and posted speed limits, photo-real junction views and a multiple-destination route planner.

For pedestrian navigation, víago offers an in-app purchase (for iOS only, initially) that features walking directions and public transportation locations. The app will allow users to easily switch from driving directions to walking guidance.

The Safety Kit in-app purchase ($9.99) includes Active Lane Guidance, which provides brightly colored graphics to indicate the proper lane for turns. The Traffic Live ($19.99 when off promotion) add-on automatically routes drivers around gridlock and other delays, using both historic data and input from other drivers. Panorama View features 3D views garnered from NASA height and terrain data.

Urban Guidance integrates public transportation, including detailed itineraries of public transit stops.

Accessories available from Garmin that work together with a víago-enabled smartphone include Garmin HUD (heads-up display), which uses a transparent film on the windshield. HUD projects navigation data onto the screen, within the driver's line of sight, and costs $149.99 or $179.99. There are also a variety of hardware mounting devices to secure the smartphone to the vehicle dashboard.

Garmin víago is available on Google Play and Apple's App Store. In-app purchase packages range from $4.99 to $19.99. The Maps to Go and Traffic Live apps are half-off during the promotional period (ending July 13).

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