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Garmin releases new navigation app with $0.99 promo price

Garmin has released víago, a new navigation app for Android, and as part of its launch promotion the company is offering the app at half its normal price.
By
June 18, 2014
garmin-viago
Garmin has released víago, a new navigation app for Android. As part of its launch promotion the company is offering the app at half its normal price. From now to July 13, 2014 the app is available for just $0.99 rather than its regular $1.99. But before you rush off to buy what looks like a premium turn-by-turn navigation app for less than a dollar, there are a few things you need to know.

For $0.99 what you get is a turn-by-turn navigation app with some neat features like lane assist, that tells you which lane you want to be in for your next turn, and photoReal junction views, that provide a realistic look at interchanges ahead. But, for all this to work, you need to be connected to the Internet, as the basic app doesn’t include offline maps.

To get downloadable maps (“Maps to Go”) you need to make an in-app purchase.

To get downloadable maps (“Maps to Go”) you need to make an in-app purchase. Other in-app purchases include “Real Directions”, which adds friendly spoken turn-by-turn directions using recognizable landmarks, buildings, stop signs and traffic lights; and “Traffic Live”, which automatically routes you around gridlocks using historic and real-time data from other drivers.

According to Joern Watzke, vice president world-wide mobile business at Garmin, “The comprehensive feature set goes far beyond simple turn-by-turn directions and assists drivers like no other navigation app. Premium in-app purchase options allow users to fully customize their navigation experience and only choose the features they want.”

However initial reviews of the app on the Play Store don’t seem to echo Watzke’s enthusiasm. At the time of writing the app had more one and two star ratings than it does four and five star. Out of 161 reviewers, 61 gave it one star and its overall rating is currently under 3. The problem, unsurprisingly, is the initial cost of the app and the in-app purchases.

The app still needs to connect to the Internet to do address searches, even when you have downloaded an offline map.
Since other offerings, including Google Maps, have turn-by-turn navigation while online, the fact that Garmin are asking $1.99 ($0.99 this month) for the app doesn’t seem to have gone down well with users. Nabeel Bhatti wrote, “My 1 star rating is not for the app itself, I am sure it is fine for basic onscreen routes, but it is for the $0.99 [for an] app that basically does nothing more than an average free offering in [the] Play store, plus the hugely expensive in-app purchases for anything useful.” His complaint seems common to those who have downloaded the app.

Another common complaint seems to be that the app still needs to connect to the Internet to do address searches, even when you have downloaded an offline map, something that could be costly if you are using the app while abroad!

The in-app purchase packages range from $4.99 to $19.99 with the “Maps to Go” and “Traffic Live” features at 50 percent off during the promotional period. In fairness to Garmin the price of the app plus the in-app purchases seems on par with other professional offline sat nav apps.

What do you think? Will you give it a try? Did you already buy? What do you think?