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Jun
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Last Updated: June 18th, 2014

Dedicated GPS units have taken a hit since people started cramming turn-by-turn navigation into their smartphones, but if you do happen to stumble across one in stores somewhere, there's a decent chance Garmin's name is on it. As one of the more ubiquitous brands in the field, the company carries some weight. So when it releases a new navigation app, it's worth taking notice. Víago is far from the first app Garmin has dropped into the Play Store, nor is it even the company's first navigation app, but upon first impressions, it looks like quite the improvement over its previous efforts.

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Víago's biggest strength may just be how intuitive it is, as features are tucked away where you would naturally expect them to be. The map consistently takes center stage, options to start a trip are available in the left sidebar, and anything you may want to toggle during the trip are available on the right. That said, alternate routes aren't made obvious. If they're offered at all, I have not yet been able to find them.

The app can easily pull up contacts and navigate to the entries with addresses, search for points of interest, and guide you into the correct lane when the time comes. There's also a feature known as "real directions," where the app will guide you with natural instructions such as "turn right at the bridge" or "merge left next to the clock tower" when such landmarks are available.

GPS apps come in a wide range of prices, with some options not costing a cent and others pushing towards $100. Despite the current .99 cent price tag (temporarily reduced from $1.99), víago pushes towards the latter category. Most of the app's functionality is tucked away under in-app purchases that range from $4.99 to $19.99. Offline maps and live traffic are priced at the high end of that range, but Garmin's offering them up for $9.99 at launch. This isn't all that pricey until you take into account how each continent requires its own map. When you consider that live traffic, real directions, and 3D landmarks all require their own in-app purchase, users can easily spend over $100 for a complete set of features. For that much, you could just buy a dedicated GPS unit.

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The 50% off sale lasts until July 13th, so you can currently get off the ground for $40 or so instead (buy all the features for your area - not all the maps the app has to offer). Still, bear in mind that this is an initial release, and some areas may need to be fleshed out. See the full press release below for more details.

Source: Garmin blog

Garmin® Launches víago™, A Feature-Packed Navigation App Starting at $1.99

App Includes Leading Garmin Navigation, In App Purchases Offer Additional Premium Features

OLATHE, Kan./June 17, 2014/Business Wire — Garmin® International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced víago, a new premium navigation app for Android™ and iPhone® starting at $1.99. Garmin víago offers advanced navigation features not available from free apps, guiding drivers through the most challenging situations with ease. The app comes with off-board maps for many regions around the world and navigation features such as current speed and speed limit display, lane assist, weather information, in-map traffic display, and photo-realistic junction views. Plus, users can easily upgrade their experience with premium add-ons like downloadable maps (“Maps to Go”) that don’t require a data connection to navigate, real-time traffic with automatic rerouting, urban navigation with public transportation1, 3D terrain view, and much more. Víago is the first smartphone navigation app that features Garmin Real DirectionsTM (in app purchase), giving spoken turn-by-turn directions just like a friend would by using recognizable landmarks, buildings, stop signs and traffic lights.

“Garmin víago offers the best navigation technology available from Garmin, helping drivers to reduce stress and save time on the road,” said Joern Watzke, vice president world-wide mobile business at Garmin Wuerzburg GmbH. ”The comprehensive feature set goes far beyond simple turn-by-turn directions and assists drivers like no other navigation app. Premium in app purchase options allow users to fully customize their navigation experience and only choose the features they want.“

Leading Navigation from Garmin

Garmin víago is the perfect starting point for any journey with accurate turn-by-turn directions, high-quality off-board maps from HERE, and premium features. The intuitive and clean interface keeps the map at the center of the user experience at all times. Planning trips is easy with the convenient multi-stop route planner that lets users add multiple destinations to a trip. The app even provides information on the weather conditions at the destination, including a 3-day forecast. Additional features of the app include lane assist and photo-realistic junction views, letting drivers know in advance which lane they should be in to make a turn. Speed Limit Display provides information on speed limits, conveniently displayed next to current speed.

Víago also is a perfect companion in urban or metropolitan areas with pedestrian navigation and information on public transportation1. Users can easily switch from one mode to another, for example from car to pedestrian navigation to continue by foot after parking the car.

Upgrade with Premium Features

Garmin víago offers a whole array of additional premium features through in app purchase packages. Users can purchase high-quality onboard maps (Maps to Go)2 that are stored locally on the smartphone, providing navigation capabilities even in areas where cell phone coverage is spotty, such as when traveling in the backcountry. Maps to Go are available for different regions around the world to avoid roaming fees when navigating abroad. The maps can conveniently be purchased within the víago app and there’s no need to download separate apps. Other premium in app purchases include Garmin Real DirectionsTM, a feature only available from Garmin that gives more natural and intuitive directions, using landmarks, stop signs and traffic lights, rather than hard-to-read street names. The Safety Kit package includes, among other features, Active Lane Guidance, displaying an animated graphic next to the map view that uses brightly colored arrows to indicate the proper lane needed to make a turn. With Traffic Live users automatically get routed around gridlock, utilizing historic and real-time data from other drivers. Panorama View offers 3D views obtained from NASA’s height and terrain data for intuitive visual orientation. Urban Guidance1 integrates public transportation, complete with detailed itineraries of transit stops. To learn more about the in app purchase packages, go to garmin.com/viago.

Useful Accessories

Garmin víago is compatible with Garmin HUD, an innovative new way of viewing navigation information in the car. HUD projects crisp and bright directions onto a transparent film on the windshield or an attached reflector lens. By providing comprehensive road guidance at a glance and right within the driver’s line of sight, HUD can help increase safety and reduce driver distraction. Garmin also offers a variety of mounts to safely secure the smartphone in the car while navigating.

Pricing and Availability

Garmin víago is available now on Google PlayTM and the App Store at an introductory price of $.99 (normally $1.99) until July 13, 2014. The in app purchase packages range from $4.99 to $19.99. Maps to Go and Traffic Live are 50 percent off during the promotional period.

Garmin víago is the latest from the consumer automotive segment at Garmin, the leading provider of mobile navigation solutions for automobiles, motorcycles and trucks. The user-friendly personal navigation devices and apps from Garmin have innovative features that provide time- and fuel-saving benefits to meet the demands of everyday driving.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • Jephri

    Or I can use Google maps which is integrated in every aspect of my phone for free.

    • dkb827

      didn't they remove the offline maps? they also removed my maps. but I read that these features will return in a future update.

      • Kent Andersen

        Type "Ok maps" in the app and it will give you the option to download the map

        • abobobilly

          ... which will show "outdated" every once in a while and you will have to "update" them.

          Besides, Google Maps' implementation for "Offline Maps" is a JOKE.
          1. It doesn't even save "full POI" (point of interests), and only saves SOME of them, mostly major ones.
          2. You can't even do an Offline Search for those saved maps.
          3. The absurd restriction of "updating" stored maps, instead of making it optional.
          4. Not being able to launch Navigation unless there is an active data connection.

          The only reason one would stick with Google Maps would be because 1) Its free and/or 2) There is no other choice available.

          • QuadFather

            abobobilly: EXACTLY. Google Maps restored "offline" maps, and here's the punchline: data connection required to route direction. A JOKE indeed, and a very, very bad one. Not to mention all of the other useful features and basic functionality they removed from Google Maps in their major UI update.

          • abobobilly

            FINALLY. Someone Agrees.

            By God using Google Maps is becoming a brain torture for me, so i have simply stopped using them, and have moved to Sygic. Yes its a "Paid" alternative, but the benefits are also huge. (not a sponsor)

          • Orange

            Sygic was a life saver when I was in Asia, but Sygic is absolutely atrocious when it comes to navigation on California freeways. It does not speak freeway exit names, but rather the exit number. This is absolutely annoying as exit numbers are not labeled on all the signs here. In fact, in my city, it is only labeled on the sign prior to the actual exit itself (Like at the 1/4 mile point), and not even on the exit sign. It's an absolute stressful experience trying to pay attention to the road while attempting to look for exit numbers when it is announced 2 miles ahead when the numbers practically don't exist.

          • abobobilly

            Interesting. Considering its brilliance in a country like Pakistan, i anticipated it to perform even better in other region of the world, and also read a couple of reviews to confirm that.

            So which service are you using these days? Google Maps or sticking to Sygic? Why not give Garmin a try? In Pakistan, Garmin would be THE WORST form of GPS application, so its a no go from my side. But again, that might not be true for other regions of the world.

          • Orange

            Waze works well for my daily commute within the city as I can navigate around heavy traffic if possible. When I travel out of town, since Sprint's data network is absolutely garbage, I use Navigon. Garmin bought Navigon a few years ago and it looks like Viago is just a modularized version of Navigon, which shouldn't be surprising.

            One major annoyance with Navigon is navigating to contact addresses doesn't work right. If I have 1138 Android Police Drive as a contact address, Navigon interprets it as 1201 Android Police Drive. I tried to see if Viago improved on it, but it is currently 100% broken and errors when you try read any contact addresses.

            Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a perfect worldwide GPS solution. I did purchase the Sygic world maps when I was traveling in Malaysia a few months ago, and it seemed to work quite well, but boy was I was hugely disappointed when I returned to California. It is too late to get a refund, so all I can do is continue to pester Sygic to implement freeway names and exit names TTS to put it on par with other good North American GPS solutions.

          • dkb827

            I picked up sygic when they first removed offline maps and the my maps feature(although you can get google maps engine). my only problem is google now/sygic will give an option to open directions in sygic but for some reason they never actually load. Sygic will open but without the requests I want. I will say google maps is great when I have an internet connection it saved me about 2 hours having me avoid a massive wreck that shut down a highway

      • cynojien

        Offline maps officially was returned a few updates ago but has been in version 8 for a while.

      • Sorian

        In version 8.1.0, long press on the map. After it loads address, click on it will pull the card higher up. On the card, it has a button to save map to use offline, clicking this allows you to zoom out before saving.

    • Guest

      Google Maps has nothing on this. Lane assist, Real Directions and our superior interface beats Google Maps (or any other offering) hands down.

      Full disclosure: I work for Garmin.

      • Andrew

        Except Google has lane assist now...

        And I'm not entirely sold on the interface, looks too much like Garmin, not enough like Android. (Those fonts?!)

      • Jephri

        Nothing on this? It's free. That's a pretty compelling win.

      • DirkBelig

        Google Maps has lane-assist and all the one-star reviews at Play indicate the paying customers don't share your enthusiasm for your employer's app.

  • http://SocialMediarology.com Jeremy A Williams

    I really don't understand why anyone would ever pay for a navigation app like this.

    • C

      I love Google Maps and use it for most things, however I travel into the mountains and wilderness a lot where there is no cell phone reception. Google's offline maps are only good for simply viewing the map but directions, navigation and search are not an option while offline. For this reason I require an offline navigation program like this one by Garmin.

      • Jephri

        That is a good reason to pay for a dedicated GPS app.

    • NexusKoolaid

      I really don't understand why there is no list of packages and prices available on their web site. You have to pay the $1 just to find out how much it will really cost you.

    • Steve Forbes

      Perhaps they live outside the US where you have data coverage everywhere? If I drive from France to Germany I pay £6 per MB of data. See how useful GMaps is then.

  • lensgrabber

    All features for $30 would be worthy but from my understanding the IAP total up to $60 or so. Not worth it when I already have a dedicated gps.

  • Felix Göhringer

    Can't install it on Nexus 4 or Nexu 7. Can't be worth it then.

  • Pengwn

    You mentioned offline navigation in the title but it's not really touched on in the article. Is this just the option to save a map for offline use or is it actual offline turn by turn voice navigation? If it's the latter, I may actually consider picking this up as I don't know of any navigation apps that do offline voice.

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Yes, these are full downloadable maps that you can use without a data connection, and it will still offer turn-by-turn voice instructions. This is one of the strongest reasons to considering buying the app, but it's not the only one to do so. I linked to Sygic in the post, which also supports complete offline use and costs a bunch of money: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sygic.aura

      • didibus

        Sygic doesn't name everything. Does Garmin turn by turn voice guidance reads street names, exit numbers, etc.? Even for non english streets?

      • Orange

        Sygic is absolutely atrocious when it comes to navigation on California freeways. It does not speak freeway exit names, but rather the exit number. This is absolutely annoying as exit numbers are not labeled on all the signs here. In fact, in my city, it is only labeled on the sign prior to the actual exit itself (Like at the 1/4 mile point), and not even on the exit sign itself. It's an absolute stressful experience trying to pay attention to the road while attempting to look for exit numbers when it is announced 2 miles ahead when the numbers practically don't exist.

        Navigon is a far batter offline solution for California driving. Crystal clear and highly accurate instructions when driving in California, and provides voice instructions at the proper distance ahead of the exit or turn, such as a major split in a freeway. For example, Sygic provided no such voice instructions when the I-15S split into the I-15S/SR-163S, whereas Navigon spoke quite eloquently on where to go.

        As Navigon was bought by Garmin in 2011, it seems it just took Navigon and modularized it to create Viago; not surprising really.

    • Guest

      CoPilot is an awesome app that does it all for only $10 (USA): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alk.copilot.namarket.premiumusa

  • andy_o

    Is that "Customize with optional upgrades" button always there? If so, lolgarmin. Also, not buying anything from you again after you abandoned the half-assed Garmin Fit app.

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Nah, that's just Play Store branding.

  • abobobilly

    I never liked Gramin as a GPS service. I have preferred Sygic over it because i found its maps to be much more detailed, and with more features. Plus, Sygic is the only app which "Actually" supports my country, Pakistan.

  • frhow

    I love google map's new feature where as you are driving it is constantly reminding you of alternate routes that may be faster with just a little slight gray box showing you the time and the alternate route. Its simple but ingenious. You can change your route on the fly by just clicking that little box. It has saved me plenty of times on an upcoming traffic jam to where I can just click that little box and wallah off the exit I go.

  • Luke Applegate

    I use Osmand for offline maps and navigation. It downloads Open Street Maps data, which is updated regularly, and custom tracks (.gpx) can be uploaded and used for voice navigation. As long as you have the map for an area downloaded ahead of time, there is no need for a data connection.

    I will add that the interface leaves something to be desired. But $8 gets you the full version with unlimited maps.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.osmand

  • Nick Riley

    MapFactor Navigator - an almost perfect offline navigation for free... I kinda hate the interface of it but when it comes to functionality - you just can't beat that!

  • David Spivey

    Does this support offline business name search? After all, if I don't know the address of a Wal-Mart in a town 60 miles from me, I can't put it in to get the navigation directions. This is my biggest gripe with Co-Pilot.

    • Graison Swaan

      You can search POIs in other cities with copilot. On th poi screen click search all, at the bottom the click search nearby, on the next screen.

  • DirkBelig

    I'm going to Toronto (from Detroit) this weekend and once I clear the border I'm going to have no data service for my phone. What's a good cheap or free nav app for a Nexus 5?

  • Chika

    The in app purchase prices aren't worth it.

    • Robbie Khan

      Yup I thought the low price for the app was cool until I read about in app purchases. Shame.

      Waze and Google Nav offer more for less (£nothing!) and as such I will stick to those.

  • lanoormohamed

    silly that its restricted to US maybe! unable to purchase in the UK

  • Jeroen

    "Not available for your device" <-- Way to go!

  • black

    Garmin should give up already. No one is going to use Garmin on their Android while there's Maps around.

  • firesoul453

    Anyone have a list of the in app purchases and prices? I can't find it anywhere.

    • Mister Salty

      Currently the offline maps are $9.99.

  • yy

    do not buy offline map, bocouse map doesn't work

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