When Google announced free turn-by-turn navigation for Android phones three years ago, it seemed like a death sentence for expensive apps such as TomTom and CoPilot.
Yet these paid apps have stuck around, and now TomTom has finally brought its turn-by-turn navigation app to Android. TomTom's app costs $38 for U.S. maps as an introductory offer, or $50 for the United States and Canada.
The main advantage with TomTom—and paid competitors such as Navigon and CoPilot—is offline map support. Although Google Maps does allow you to download maps for offline use, you have to manually select each city that you want to cache. With TomTom, you can download maps for the entire country at once, though you'll need 2.3 GB of free space on your phone to do so.
TomTom's app also has other bells and whistles that Google's built-in navigation app lacks. Users can set multiple stops in a route, find the quickest route through traffic, and find the most fuel-efficient directions. TomTom also offers advanced lane guidance at trickier junctions. However, before you rush to download the app, you should know that it currently only works on devices with screen resolutions of 800 pixels by 480 pixels or 854 pixels by 480 pixels, according to The Verge.
Compared to other paid apps, TomTom is more expensive, but it does include traffic data at no extra charge. Garmin's Navigon, which costs $30 for U.S. maps, charges an extra $20 for live traffic data. ALK Technologies' CoPilot Live Premium costs $20 (on sale now for $10), but requires a $10 annual subscription for traffic data after the first year.
Through offline support and extra features, and by lowering their prices to better compete with free services, navigation companies such as TomTom have established solid footing on smartphones. If you find that Google's bare-bones (but perfectly capable) offering doesn't have everything you need, these paid apps could be worth a look.
This story, "TomTom debuts $50 navigation app for Android devices" was originally published by TechHive.