Well here’s a maps post that isn’t about Apple’s iOS 6 native app, fer a change.
TomTom has launched the Android version of its popular mobile navigation application. Finally, this userbase gets to enjoy turn-by-turn voice navigation, live traffic info, and re-routing… um… er, wait a sec. Android users already get all that natively with the Navigation app (via Google Maps). So what’s the big wups here?
If you’re wondering about this, you’re not alone. There are some obvious benefits, of course, like support for multiple languages, speed camera notifications, “HD” traffic routing and lifetime map updates, among other things, but the really huge difference is this: TomTom offers navigation and POI (points of interest) offline. With Android Nav, you have to have some sort of data connection while on the go, unless you cache it all beforehand. And if you do, good luck if you get lost and accidentally wander into unforeseen cellular dead zone.
More differences: Android Navigation comes stock with the OS. But TomTom, which requires 2.3GB of space for installation (U.S. & Canada), is one hefty download. Of course it is, it’s stuffing all that map data into your phone’s storage. Speaking of phones, the app won’t work with just any Android mobile. It’s limited to devices with at least Android 2.2 (or higher) and screen resolutions of 800 x 480 and 854 x 480. That means there’s no love for recent popular gadgets like the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Nexus 7, the Galaxy Nexus, the HTC One X and Galaxy Note, at least for now. (TomTom does say it is “committed to supporting higher resolutions on an ongoing basis,” so things could change.)
If you’re wondering how it compares to TomTom’s iOS app, the Android version is reportedly pretty comparable, though it lacks the FourSquare integration the other just got. But at least it costs less for the same maps: The U.S. & Canada and the Western Europe editions are respectively about $50 and $60 (USD) in the Google Play Store. In Apple’s App Store, it’s $60 and $90 (USD).
Truth is, most people will probably do fine with the built-in Nav app. But Android users who absolutely have to have a robust mobile navigation solution — but aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device — should definitely take a closer look at this third-party app.
Interested? Then click here to check out TomTom’s full list of Android navigation options, including the maps mentioned, plus South East Asia, Australia and more.