Garmin navigates into smartphone territory with Viago GPS app


June 17, 2014

The Viago app offers the basic features of a typical navigation app, but can be customized through a selection of premium add-ons

The Viago app offers the basic features of a typical navigation app, but can be customized through a selection of premium add-ons

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Perhaps best known for producing GPS hardware, Garmin has announced a navigation application for smartphones. In what looks an attempt by the company to recapture ground lost to Google Maps, Apple Maps and innumerable other smartphone-based alternatives, Viago features the basics of typical smartphone navigation, but can also be customized through a number of in-app purchases.

The Viago app is available for both iOS and Android devices and offers functions such as turn-by-turn navigation and a multi-stop route planner. The interface can display both current speed and the speed limit, along with lane assist to indicate when it's time to switch for that upcoming turn. Users can also check a three-day weather forecast for their destination so they'll know whether or not to pack the umbrella and a few extra layers of clothing.

The variety of premium add-ons that can be purchased within the app might prove a point of difference for Viago. The most noteworthy is Garmin Real Directions, which promises more intuitive voice-guided navigation using landmarks, stop signs and traffic lights as markers, rather than the names of unfamiliar streets. Maps to Go enables users to download maps of different regions for offline navigation, Traffic Live uses historic and live data to help avoid gridlocks and the Safety Kit integrates speed warnings, alternative route suggestions and school zone warnings to minimize on-road risks.

While many of these features don't present entirely new features in themselves, channeling them into the one application and the customization options this enables could present new flexibility for motorists who are prone to the odd wrong turn.

Viago is also compatible with Garmin HUD, a portable heads-up display that receives information from smartphone navigation apps over Bluetooth and projects them onto the windscreen in the driver's line of sight. Viago is available now on Google Play and the App Store at a price of US$0.99, while the premium add-ons range in price from $4.99 to $19.99.

Source: Garmin

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

One feature I wish existed would be the ability to set an alarm to beep at me if I exceed the speed limit by an amount I can define.

It knows the posted speed limit, it knows the speed I am traveling, but if the speed limit drops from 55 to 40 and I miss the sign I win the honor of financially supporting the local police force parked on the other side of it running radar.


Daishi this feature is available on many of Garmin's standalone auto GPS units but, AFAICS is missing from the Android app.

Sadly, there's much more missing too along with a whole list of things that just don't work - everything from understanding UK postcodes, navigation accuracy issues and a ghastly interface.

I have had a raft of Garmin stuff over the years (hand-held, marine and auto) but sadly this app is just another indication how badly Garmin has lost its way and how little it understand the modern smartphone-equipped marketplace.


Looks like it'll cost $30 to get the same functionality offered by already established, free apps -- not to mention the $1 it costs just to find that out.

The app is already down to 3 stars in the Play store. This looks like a failure.

Garmin should just sell standalone GPS devices that use Google Maps nav.


Looks like a rebrand of their Navigon app which I have found very useful and surprisingly was more accurate than an integrated GPS in a new Renault on a trip I have just done through seven European countries

Harry Armytage

"to recapture ground lost to Google Maps, Apple Maps" Apple maps ? Really ?

@ booleanboy

You should have realised by now that most US companies fail to acknowledge existence pf world beyond North American borders. Anything and everything specific to Europe of Asia is only a halfhearted "me too" effort.

Just a small example. While most Asian manufacturers sell electronic items with universal AC adapters American still stick to 110 V only adapters. There is whole plethora of home appliances and AC powered hand tools which would sell like hot cakes only if they were available in 220 V versions.


I don't like to use my smart phone for navigating since it is already pushing battery life to the limit. I also like that my stand alone GPS has an extensive library of my favorite destinations already saved and the volume is much louder than my phone. The GPS companies should have perfected voice commands by now and I am so tired of the mispronounced street names especially when Dr. is called doctor instead of drive.


A useless review. The reviewer needs to actually use the object of his comments such that his review has some modicum of value rather than just being a mouthpiece for the company's news release. The app is just a bare bones shell. The user has to purchase numerous modules to make this app as capable of many of the features of free apps already available.

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