Google Turn By Turn Directions on Android 2
Forbes recently wrote about the possibility of Google providing a turn-by-turn directions app. It seems now that this new app is just about in the “confirmed column”. The leaked specs of the Motorola Droid include not only “Google Maps”, but also “Google Turn-by-turn Directions” under the list of Google Mobile Services.
In this image obtained by BGR you can view the list of apps included under the heading of Google Mobile Services:
- Android Market
- Google Calendar Sync
- Google Maps with Street View
- Google Maps
- Google Quick Search Box
- Google Search by Voice
- Google Talk
- Google Turn-by-turn Directions
- Google Set-up
- Network Location Provider
The Android platform is growing in popularity and the traditional GPS companies have it on their radar. TomTom has reportedly been considering developing an app for the Android Market, though it is unclear at what stage the app is under development, if at all. While the first incarnation of the elusive Garmin Nuvifone has been a flop, the upcoming Android version of the phone should address many of the issues from original Nuvifone.
Since Garmin is already in active development under the Android platform, perhaps they will have a play in this space. Absorbing some of the development costs going to their own Android phone, perhaps Garmin would offer a low cost navigation app of their own to compete against Google. Or… perhaps the “Google Turn-by-turn Directions” app is made by Garmin and will have some sort of co-brand. Although it seems unlikely, the Motorola Droid and the Android version of the Nuvifone have similar estimated release dates.
A free or low cost version of a Google Turn-by-turn app, likely supported by advertising, would be difficult for Garmin, TomTom, and TeleNav to compete against. They would need to focus on their core, but narrowing differences in technology. Google’s own map data in North America seems far behind both Navteq and Tele Atlas outside of more urban areas– although most smartphone owners are going to be in those urban areas where Google map quality isn’t as much of an issue. Advanced navigation features like traffic might also be too expensive to add for free if they are being sourced by an outside provider and there are probably not enough Android phones being used today to use as traffic probes– though that is changing fast.
In any case it seems all but confirmed that we will see a Google Turn-by-turn app for the Android platform very soon.