I’m an iPhone user. When the Android based “Droid” phone first came out I was upset. Both the iPhone and Droid have Google Maps built-in, but the Droid raised the stakes with turn-by-turn directions. That added “GPS killer” to the list of free Droid features!
Now the iPhone is in the game with free turn-by-turn directions from MapQuest. I downloaded the MapQuest4Mobile app tonight and used it to navigate home… over the same route I’ve driven every night for the past twenty years.
The good news is the route was correct. After a little playing the sound was loud enough to hear (loudness is not a native iPhone trait).
The bad news is compared to a modern GPS the screen is small. The maps are flat and two dimensional, not the 3D maps normally seen in this type of scenario. 3D maps make a difference because details in the foreground appear larger with more detail while items in the distance you don’t have to deal with for a while are smaller.
Usually the MapQuest app will give you two warnings before telling to to “turn right now!” If you’re on a road a very short distance than can be one or no warnings!
Because the GPS works best when you see the screen and because this app is constantly sucking down data it’s a battery killer. Of course any iPhone user worth his salt has stowed away charging cables in all the places the phone is used. At least I have.
This is not a handheld app. As soon as I got home I ordered a $3.99 suction mount (which I’ll also use for watching movies while traveling). Once it’s mounted on he windshield (and plugged into the lighter) the MapQuest equipped iPhone should work perfectly as a GPS replacement.
MapQuest has a paid app for GPS routing too. It adds the 3D maps I mentioned plus rerouting around traffic. I’d buy but I suspect those features will be available for free soon too.
Where is Google in all this? You’d think enough time has passed by now that they can give up the Android platform exclusivity on their turn-by-turn product.