After months of speculation, the Google Maps Navigation which is part of Google Maps for mobile, finally got released. The navigational application unfortunately is available too only those smartphone that run on the Android 2.0 platform, so not all of us will be able to witness its goodness. So we here at iSmashPhone wanted to make the best of the situation and hence decided to do an impromptu comparison of the Google Maps Navigation and the apps available for the iPhone. So if you fancy some GPS love and want to know how the apps fared in this face off, grab a cup of coffee (or whatever your poison is) and continue reading.
Our review will be based on “Head to Head Comparison of the 5 Most Popular iPhone Turn by Turn Navigation Apps” post we did earlier. See summary review table below.
Turn by turn navigation on a mobile phone can always be tricky and hence its imperative that any navigation app has a comprehensive feature set and boasts of an intuitive user interface. All mobile GPS applications make use of the internet connection available on a mobile phone and the the Google Maps Navigation is no different.
The Google Maps Navigation doesn’t have POIs but instead offers you something better by supporting searches in plain English. So next time you are cruising the streets in search of your destination, just type in a business name (e.g. Walmart), or a type of business (bookshop) and hit search like you would do on Google. The application then lists all the appropriate options and you can then select your destination. None of the iPhone GPS App support this feature though applications like CoPilot Live North and the Tom Tom app does have a comprehensive POI database.
Typing and driving don’t necessary mix and Google knows it. Hence it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that the Google Maps Navigation supports Voice Search (voice search is flawless on iPhone’s Google Mobile). You can speak any destination instead of typing. Since the application is connected to the “Cloud”, it is always in the loop of current events and hence one can also command it to find, say a museum according to an exhibit.
Another nifty feature found on the app is “Traffic view” which gives you live traffic data. The data is updated after every few minutes courtesy Google Maps and the on board screen indicator glows green, yellow, or red accordingly to the traffic conditions on your particular route. For the iPhone something similar is offered by AT&T Navigator and INRIX Smart Driver Network app which is a crowd-sourced application that gives up-to-the-minute traffic information. The Navigon Mobile Navigator lacks a traffic feature which is unfortunate since its one of the best iPhone apps out there.
The Search along route feature lets you find your favorite hotspots on your route, be it burger joints, hotels or even gas stations. Where as the satellite view offers a high fidelity view of your route. Of course for this one would require an extremely fast mobile internet connection, so realistically speaking loading satellite imagery may be slow and even a little painful! No iPhone navigational app offers high-resolution aerial imagery but there is always tomorrow (take the hint Apple).
When it comes to features, Google has gone the whole nine yards! The Street View Feature is one the most useful tools, we have ever seen on a navigational device. Courtesy this feature, one can actually access actual photographic imagery of the desired street, so you know how a turn, or a landmark actually looks! Brilliant we might add and wish this on an iPhone app. Maybe the AT&T Navigator?
Google also gives you a new reason to dock your mobile phone as the Google Maps Navigation has a special Car Dock mode. Once this mode is activated, using the application is further simplified. TomTom GPS app for the iPhone also has something similar however the catch being that those special features get only activated if you buy a Tom Tom holder!
While there is no denying that there are some great iPhone GPS apps available however nonce can hold a candle to the Google Maps Navigation Beta. So lets all hope together that Google this time takes the higher road and maybe releases the google Maps Navigation for the iPhone as well as other platforms. We know its wishful thinking but stranger things have happened!