Now that Google has launched turn by turn navigation in India, Airtel has launched SmartDrive app that t enables the users to view their location on a map and plan their route from one place to another. It is assisted by a voice based turn by turn navigation and more importantly, give real time information on traffic situation on roads around them.
- Search Maps for POI (Points of Interests)
- Turn by turn Voice navigation
- Live traffic information
Trip recorder – to record all trips you make when using voice navigation for later reference
Wikipedia information of places for which information is available.
Add frequently visited locations to favorites so that you don’t have to search again and again
Weather information about the place
Traffic is calculated on the basis of number of GPS devices being used on the particular road and their average speed and historical trends of traffic. Currently, it is live in Delhi &NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore cities and will be live in Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune by December.
The search and map viewer are absolutely free, though navigation is priced at Rs. 10/day (monthly pack: Rs. 99/month). Till November 30th, data charges are free.
Live traffic is priced at Rs. 3/day (monthly pack is available at Rs. 49/month).
The app is available on multiple platforms including Android, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows, it will soon be available on iOS (though we wonder how revenue sharing will work between Apple and Airtel).
Why would consumers pay for a service which is otherwise free with Google navigation? Unless airtel does triangulation and brings in more accuracy in data, do you see a value in this service?
Update: Airtel has replied that most data plans have a data usage limit, after that limit is reached, data transfer is chargeable. So when a customer uses Google maps, his data allocation is being exhausted all the time and he has to pay over and above the data plan charges in case he uses more data than his data plan allows. With Smartdrive, once you subscribe to either navigation or traffic or both, the data usage is not chargeable, irrespective of however much this app is used.
Earlier launch by DoCoMo: Tata DOCOMO launches real time traffic alert service in Bangalore.