It’s already reached number 1 in the US App store’s navigation chart – not all that surprising since free beats the hefty prices of competitor TomTom and others – and its been a best selling app in Germany for more than six months, says the Berlin-based company.
The app’s data (and free-ness) is powered by the community of volunteers at OpenStreetMap (OSM), whose 250,000 members report and plug holes in the maps that OSM support. And whilst the model can be effective and disruptive – making free Sat-Nav conceivable long before Google and Nokia began giving away their wares – it can also be hit and miss.
Skobbler’s App Store page has this note from the company: “We won’t lie: Because the map is created by users, there is a chance that especially the more rural of you will find that you are not in a fully mapped area. Thankfully… you can fix that!”
Now, we appreciate companies that don’t lie but this do-it-yourself approach seems a bit much. If I understand it right, the idea goes something like this: If you’re lost, you might have to find your own way. And while you’re at it, any chance of telling others how to get there too?
It seems that on the iPhone at least, there is a price to pay for free Sat-Nav after all.