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Nav4All Shuts Down


Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 31 Jan 2010

pocketgpsworld.comIt would seem that Nav4All, the Dutch Navigation outfit that pioneered free navigation apps has been forced to suspend service.

Nav4All had a map licence agreement with Navteq (now owned by Nokia) who have chosen not to renew. As Nav4All used a server based map service with maps being delivered to end users over the air this has effectively forced Nav4All to give notice that service will go offline with immediate effect.

Nav4All cited the short notice given by Navteq and the unexpected refusal to re-licence as reasons why they are unable to secure alternative map licensing arrangements.

There is no comment on when or indeed if Nav4All will resume service so it is not known if they hope to negotiate access to map data with TeleAtlas instead.

Why Navteq have chosen to make this move is not known but the timing, only shortly after Nokia announce free navigation in the form of Ovi Maps, will surely lead to accusations that Nokia are moving to secure their place in the market despite the risk of large fines if they are found in violation of EU competition legislation.

The announcement on Nav4All's website claims 27.5 million users which on face value seems like a very impressive user base, especially considering that, even though free, Nav4All's app was poor.

Perhaps the numbers constitute all those who ever downloaded a copy regardless of whether they became regular users?

Nav4All's business plan seemed to be based on plans to implement a low cost subscription at some future point but it would be hard to see many choosing to pay for it when it was considered poor even when free?

Indeed it is hard to understand how Nav4All secured a licence in the first place let alone how Nav4All could raise the cash to secure a new licence are difficult to compute. Perhaps there are some angel investors who have lost a wardrobe full of shirts on this gamble?
Comments
Posted by banger9365 on Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:44 am Reply with quote

bad news for them ,what about people like garmin that us the maps by Navteq,??


 
Posted by darrengsaw on Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:09 am Reply with quote

I doubt too many people will mourn it's demise. It has to be the worst piece of Nav software this side of Alpha Centauri.

Incredibly poor routing beyond any level of imagination.


 
Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:20 am Reply with quote

banger9365 Wrote:
bad news for them ,what about people like garmin that us the maps by Navteq,??

I doubt Navteq can afford to drop big players like Garmin. Quite how Nav4All secured a licence is anyones guess, with no income its hard to see how they managed to operate for so long as it is.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:21 am Reply with quote

darrengsaw Wrote:
I doubt too many people will mourn it's demise. It has to be the worst piece of Nav software this side of Alpha Centauri.

Incredibly poor routing beyond any level of imagination.

Indeed, didn't want to kick 'em while they were down in the news piece but yes, even though free is was incredibly poor software.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by john999boy on Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:52 pm Reply with quote

I used this on my HTC Hero as a backup when I had forgotten to take the Tomtom with me and, and others have commented, it was slightly primeval.
That aside, it will be missed (until Google get their UK act in gear) so has anyone got any other recommendations for a free Android program to fill the gap please?


 
Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:58 pm Reply with quote

Good luck with that. Even Google's free app has been panned in the US. For HTC Hero the best IMHO is Sygic but Navigon is coming and there is also NDrive.

But as for free, nada.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by Darren on Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:55 pm Reply with quote

We have received the following response from Navteq in response to the Nav4All news item:

Quote:
NAVTEQ continues to work across all companies and industries. There is no change to the fact that NAVTEQ operates as a completely independent unit of Nokia.

All customers continue to have access to all data under consistent terms and conditions. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach agreement to extend our contract with Nav4All in alignment with these terms and conditions.

Our priority is to operate a manner that is fair to all our customers. We are pleased that Nokia recognises that one condition of this is for NAVTEQ to remain independent. From a NAVTEQ perspective, providing equitable terms and conditions is another.


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by darrengsaw on Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:59 pm Reply with quote

Not a lot out there for free, Amaze was ok for a free program, but that is now a paid app and undoubtedly doomed, nowhere near good enough to pay for.

Naff4All was good for a laugh, so long as you wanted to take the longest most convoluted mystery tour possible.


 
Posted by marc_holmes on Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:29 pm Reply with quote

Seems the previous speculation about Nokia may have been correct:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8495806.stm


 
Posted by Darren on Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:37 pm Reply with quote

I wouldn't place to much weight on the number of downloads. Nav4All claimed 27million downloads whereas I'd guess only a very tiny fraction of them were regular users.

Many of those downloads will be from those who want it because it is free. Others will be from users who want to test it but quickly discard it in favour of the more fully featured paid for solutions.

Google's solution has been panned by reviewers in the US and they will have a much harder time capturing the data required to create a fully fledged turn-by-turn navigation solution for Europe.

One Q for Nokia users though, is OviMaps an on or off-board solution? i.e. are maps delivered over the air as required or are they downloaded and installed to the device?


Darren Griffin - Editor

 
Posted by scannes2 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:56 am Reply with quote

I agree with some comments that Nav4All left some room for improvement. For me it was a god send. I travel extensively almost anywhere in the world, and I need the means to have a downloadable map on demand, for an application running on my phone or iPOD touch - I have to travel light.

Now I am looking for an alternative and can't find anything that will get close to the map coverage of Nav4All. It doesn't need to be free, but quick to install, and covering as many countries as possible. Anyone got any idea's?


 
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