Garmin navigates into smartphone territory with Viago GPS app
By Nick Lavars
June 17, 2014
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.