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The navigation wars continue to heat up: CoPilot GPS, a new freemium version of ALK’s satnav software for smartphones, is launching on the iPhone App Store and Google Play store for Android today. Where ALK’s current app, CoPilot Live, provides voice turn by turn navigation and offline mapping for £20, CoPilot GPS is free, pitting it directly against Google Maps Navigation on Android.

We’ve written before about how ALK has smartly dodged the problem of piracy on smartphones with aggressive pricing and a sensible attitude towards engaging customers, and CoPilot GPS is the next logical step. It’s a navigation app that takes a “freemium” approach pioneered by many mobile games developers.

Essential Reading:

The download is free, and you can download one country’s maps for free. It’ll plan journeys in advance and guide you, but if you want live traffic updates, and crucially, turn by turn guidance, you’ll have to pay: £19.99 for a lifetime licence on the latter, and £9.99 per year for ALK’s ActiveTraffic service.

At a glance, it might sound like ALK is donating both its kidneys with this gameplan, but the model actually makes perfect sense. On iPhone, it’s a good deal, while on Android, it’s almost necessary since Google provides the same for free with its Maps Navigation service. You might as well get people using the app in some way: if some users then upgrade for voice guidance and more offline maps, all the better. Certainly it’s worth a download as a way of navigating abroad without fear of racking up data charges, since maps are stored on the phone.

We’ve given CoPilot GPS a spin on Android (the iOS version should be available shortly) and it’s a quick 20MB download that seems to work spiffily: you only get one free set of maps though so choose wisely.

It does raise one question however: what on earth is TomTom doing in the new mobile era? It has one substantially more expensive iPhone app, and only a points of interest app on Android. Is it just going to let minnows like ALK eat its lunch, dinner and breakfast? Let us know how you get on with CoPilot GPS in the comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002560789068 Gaston TheBest

    Good stuff!

    Google Maps really lit a fight under the third party GPS
    companies(thanks a lot Google!), made Nokia make Nokia Maps free too.

    TomTom is a great app, with lots of features, but who will buy one
    for $100 when there are so many great or “good enough” solutions are
    available for free? It’s nice that OpenStreetMap is gaining too.

    Wait till Apple offers their own first party GPS solution, then all
    the big platforms will have their own first party GPS.

    TomTom, Navigon, Sygic, CoPilot will either have to lower the prices
    to more sensible levels, come up with a new business plan or go extinct.

    I downloaded this CoPilot app but it’s very limited, practically useless. There are free apps like Skobbler that are much better. They should just integrate ads and make the apps free.

  • http://slimwith.me/ John Digby

    I’ve looked everywhere on Google for a free download, but they are all charging about $35 – $39 for it.  Perhaps the news hasn’t filtered through yet….

    • Anonymous

      Might not be available in the US John, but it’s “CoPilot GPS” you want rather than CoPilot Live.

      • http://slimwith.me/ John Digby

        Cheers Ben!

  • http://slimwith.me/ John Digby

    Thanks, er… Mr Right – are you sure….?!

    • Anonymous

      What country are you in John?

      • http://slimwith.me/ John Digby

        I’m in England Ben and the link above was perfect.

        Cheers

        • Anonymous

          Nice one, enjoy!

  • David

    Don’t know about worldwide but it is an epic fail for me in the UK!

    I thought the whole point of the new app was to be able to have guidance without relying on the mobile network? For me and seam-ably a number of other people going off the reviews on iTunes are suffering  the same issues of not being able to download maps and the app won’t start without getting an error message stating that you have no internet connection? The app just sits on the welcome page with the spinning wheel.

    Do these apps not get extensive testing before going on sale to the general public? Obviously not!

    Personally for me if you wish to make an impression on the market you should ensure you app is perfect for use or at least as near as possible! And for me this has been a waste of £17.49! 

    • Anonymous

      Which one have you bought? CoPilot GPS is a free download.

      • David

        I Have got Copilot GPS! Yes it is a free download but it has an in app purchase option to purchase voice guidance!

      • David

        I Have got Copilot GPS! Yes it is a free download but it has an in app purchase option to purchase voice guidance!

Hot chat, right here!


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