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Thursday, July 23, 2009
Sygic mobile maps Europe released - GPS turn-by-turn apps war heats up [Update2]
Sygic mobile maps Europe released - GPS turn-by-turn apps war heats up [Update2]

Brussels // R.Bollen // iPhonetunes.net. This month, Sygic s.r.o. has released their GPS turn-by-turn app, Mobile Maps Europe. Next to that, they already cover Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia, Russia, Brazil, US, Canada and Mexico. At this moment, a regional version for Middle East is waiting for approval by Apple. In a short time, they will be publishing versions for Colombia and India too.

iPhone apps

Sygic

[Update1] Sygic is trying to take over the current GPS app market from Navigon, which was first to come out with the European maps. Sygic actually should have come out in Europe sooner but was plagued by error #8003. They lost 2 very important weeks of sales. With the North American maps they were first! Nevertheless Sygic is covering much more countries worldwide.

Booking.com

Sygic has build-in maps from Tele Atlas, a Netherlands based company, which delivers digital maps and which was taken over by TomTom in 2008. Tele Atlas has a 5 year deal with Google to provide maps for ‘Google Maps’, and profits form the data changed by the user community of google maps.

[Update2] We are currently reviewing Sygic Mobile Maps Europe and will publish it very soon. Stay tuned.

Navigon

iPhone appsIn contrary Navigon uses maps from NAVTEQ, a Chicago based company which delivers GIS data and electronic maps, and is a subsidiary of Nokia. Navteq maps technology is used in build-in GPS systems in Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Chrystler, Mini and others and account for 85% market share in this sector.

Sygic has competitive pricing for their Mobile Maps Europe, it only costs 79.99 Euros and is 20 Euros cheaper that it’s competitor Navigon. Both apps are subscription free, so you pay once and the license never expires.

In the mean time, everybody is waiting for TomTom to release their iPhone turn-by-turn app. They are missing out on a lot of sales this summer, by not having released yet. Although I am sure that some of you are waiting to see the TomTom solution with Car-Kit integration.

TomTom

The TomTom Car-kit has also a build-in GPS chip that is supposed to be even better than the iPhone GPS chip. This Car-kit is also supposed to support other GPS applications, so even Navigon and Sygic are selling more apps at the moment, their customers eventually will probably buy the TomTom Car-kit at least. These apps eat the iPhone battery fast and are not useful on long trips without Car-kit, so TomTom is making a smart move with this.

iPhone apps

xRoad co G-Map

Another company that is active on the North American market, is called XRoad co. with their G-Maps GPS turn-by-turn app. They have maps for Canada, TX, NY NJ, FL PR, WI IL, MI IN, CA, U.S. East and U.S west.

What stands out in this app is the Real 3D view of intricate major urban intersections and highway junctions, and 185 metro areas. Also it has lots of POIs, with dial options and flexible trip planning by adding waypoints. The map data comes from NAVTEQ.

All priced very competitive 27.99 USD and lower. Note that these apps are all in promotion at the moment.

iPhone apps

AT&T Navigator app

AT&T Navigator app is a subscription based turn-by-turn GPS iPhone application, which is for the North American market only. The monthly subscription fee is 9.99 UDS and appears on your normal ATT invoice.

It has also a 3D guided display with onscreen GPS navigation. It contains automatic map updates which is noteworthy. Also the Real-time traffic updates with the one click rerouting is a real benefit with this application. Did I already mention, search for gas by price rates? The app has a massive 10 million business listing with POIs. All in all, it looks like a no nonsense GPS app to me.

iPhone apps

Pros / Cons

One thing that probably stands out for Sygic, is the option to directly dial to a POI by tapping the icon. In Navigon you can search for a lot of POIs but they only contain the address and not the phone number, although it claims to have this functionality on the iTunes site, I could not find phone numbers in the POIs I tested in Brussels. Also Sygic has auto color adjustments when it gets dark, in Navigon this is a manual option to enable. Navigon has still some features up it’s sleeve, like TMC (Traffic Message Channel) and Text-to-speech at the end of this summer.

Be aware that Sygic Mobile Maps Europe does NOT have the map of Greece, while Navigon MobileNavigator Europe does NOT have maps of Malta and Moldavia.

If you are into the US market you might consider the ATT app, just for the traffic info, which is valuable for many people, although the subscription based pricing model is expensive for some customers, 239.76 USD on top of the two year contract. Also G-Map could be a good alternative choice here. I really like the 3D rendered urban areas.

My experience

I personally tested Navigon MobileNavigator Europe and it works perfectly for me, it only costed 75 Euros while it was in promotion the first month. It picks up the GPS signal very fast. To my surprise it has a lot of POIs (Point of interests) and knows almost everything around you. Also I really like the lane assistance, where you see all the lanes with an arrow pointing you in the correct one. The speed indicator can also be very helpful. This is also possible with Sygic, as well as the option to listen to your music while navigating. Both support, resume navigation after incoming call.

If you have any experience with any of these apps, feel free to comment. We will review Sygic another time.


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