Location based services and Maps company MapmyIndia has launched a new navigation app, in partnership with Telenav, a California (USA) headquartered company that offers personalised navigation solutions, that offers house number search in addition to turn-by-turn voice navigation, and stores points of interest, business listings and user favourites in the cloud. The app is currently available on iOS through the iTunes App Store, for the iPhone and iPad, at an introductory price of $3.99 with a 30 day validity, post which, it will be available for $29.99 with a one year validity. The company informed that it intends to launch similar apps on other mobile platforms in the near future. MapmyIndia also offers an offline navigation app on iOS with Sygic. The company said that it would continue to offer that app, as well.
MapmyIndia had added house numbers on its online maps for 18 cities namely, New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Mohali and Panchkula, in June 2011.
The app comes with the ability to search and navigate to house numbers in 18 cities, reach any of the 579,000 towns and villages and navigate at street-level across 1,200 cities. The app offers voice navigation customized for India, speaking street names in an Indian accent. It also offers pre-listed business places for search and navigation across restaurants, ATMs, hotels, hospitals, among other places. Users can choose to get navigation routes for these places, share them via e-mail or Facebook, create a Facebook event or locate them on the map.
Data costs? While it’s commendable that an India specific navigation app is offering house number level navigation, we would still like navigation to be offline, since it’s difficult to get uniform connectivity in all places, even in the metros. Also, this would translate into additional costs for the user in form of 2G/3G/WiFi data charges even after paying an annual or a monthly fee for navigation.
However, we observed that the app calculates the route online, and renders maps almost instantaneously, and that navigation worked even after disabling mobile data, once the route had been calculated. According to MapmyIndia, by keeping PoI and map data online, it can easily push updates to users without requiring data heavy update downloads. We tried getting navigation routes for a few addresses in Delhi and found that the app delivered accurate results.
An interesting feature is the ability to search for points of interest on the navigation route across commercial places, residences, shopping places, tourist places and others. Among other features, the app allows users to save frequent destinations as Favourites and retrieve them later, offers automatic re-routing if the driver misses an instruction, a night time mode, and speed-limit updates. It also offers a Shake to Go feature, where it starts navigation to the user’s home address on shaking the phone.