Navigon, which is among my favorite GPS navigation solution for locally-stored maps on devices for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android (smartphones, tablets) navigation, is getting a lot better in version 2.0 with a new map-centric UI, platform-specific user experience designs, and now with support for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform.
With version 2.0, Navigon really did a phenomenal job on making an already great product even better. As one of the leading names in GPS navigation for smartphones, the company has really gone out of their way to really design a product from the ground-up to meet the user experiences of each platform. What that means is that although the excellent route guidance feature of Navigon is consistent across the apps for Windows Phone 7, iOS, and Android, the company had really worked on making each version for these separate platforms distinct, and we’ll go through some of the highlights.
iOS Navigon App
I was amazed when I saw the Navigon folks demo Navigon for the iPhone when I had met up with Johan-Till Broer, Bernd Hahn, and Sarah Duckett in the lobby of a San Francisco, California hotel. The iOS app has been completely refreshed, from both a UI and a features perspective.
From the UI side, the navigation controls and menus now never take you out of the map view, in what Navigon calls a map-centric UI approach. It’s really a fresh layer of polish on an already functional and great UI that we have currently. The good news–I love the new UI design. The bad news: it won’t be in the App Store until a few more weeks, perhaps not until the end of the month.
Like the swipe down notifications bar on Android and iOS 5, currently in beta right now to developers, Navigon is implementing their own swipe-down in the GPS app itself where a translucent swipe down menu will appear, overlaid on top of the maps view, so that you won’t have to leave the navigation or map view to add another point to your destination, or change your route, for example.
Moreover, users can also now interact better with their maps. Clicking on a point of interest, or POI, will give more information about that POI.
Additionally, while previous versions of Navigon forced users to update both the app and the maps every time there was an update either to the app or to the maps itself, the new version will allow users to download the two components of the app separately.
Called MyMaps, users can also download additional map packs when they travel as well. Maps are now stored on the cloud, and users can either download regional or country maps, or they can download individual state maps that they need and then download other state maps as they go along. For instance, as a California resident, I can just download the California map pack from my Navigon North America app, and then download the New York map when I visit New York later, allowing me to save storage space on the device.
Another new feature is called Fresh Maps, which will allow users to pay a one-time fee to have the latest map updates available for them for the lifetime of the product, which will be a nice feature to have to keep your maps updated as neighborhoods change with construction and new roads appear.
The best part is that the Navigon 2.0 app for iOS is a free upgrade for current Navigon 1.x app owners!
Navigon v. 4.0 for Android
The Android app version is slightly different than the one for iOS, but the app works in the same way, getting you to your destination with clear spoken text-to-speech capabilities telling you the street names to turn onto.
On Android, there is now a cockpit view, which will be a great plus for geeky driving enthusiasts who may want to gauge their driving performance.
Additionally, users can also download Zagat restaurant reviews and in-app purchases are now implemented to make additional purchases that help to augment and enhance your Navigon experience. An Android approach to the map-centric UI is used, and Android users will also have access to the MyMaps and Fresh Maps feature.
Navigon for Windows Phone 7
Navigon will be the first locally-stored on-board Navigation solution for Windows Phone 7, offering users turn-by-turn guided directions. The Windows Phone 7 app offers all the features of Navigon, but does so utilizing Microsoft’s Metro UI concept with the panoramic screens for accessing various features.