For those too tightfisted to pony up the required €3.99 for Navmii’s GPS Live iPhone Sat-Nav solution, the company has gone one better, launching NavFree, a turn-by-turn solution that costs absolutely nothing.
However, like Skobbler’s ‘do-it-yourself’ iPhone offering, it’s powered by the ‘Wikipedia of maps’ OpenStreetMap project, meaning that, where necessary, users are required to fill in any missing gaps in the maps themselves, literally. It seems that with regards to Sat-Nav, Nokia and perhaps Google aside, you really do get what you pay for.
Available for iPhone and iPad, NavFree offers a version for the UK and Republic of Ireland via the iTunes App Store and will be rolled out for countries in continental European and the U.S. shortly. A version for Android is also forthcoming, says the company.
All the basic GPS features are present: users can search by postcode, city, street or house and are provided with full turn-by-turn voiced directions. Points of interest are also provided and there’s support for live Google local search. It’s also worth noting that unlike Google’s own free Sat-Nav offering, Navmii’s app doesn’t require a persistent data connection since the maps for each country are pre-loaded on to the device.
As for reliance on crowdsourcing to plug any gaps in NavFree’s data, Navmii is dressing it up as “community-based” and promises free updates for life to the maps themselves, which makes sense since they are provided by users in the first place. That said, Navmii is still making a freemium play: a paid-for update adds functions like speed cameras, local petrol prices and traffic information.