Garmin’s Viago app seeks to win over smartphone users
07/02/2014 1:53 PM
07/02/2014 1:54 PM
First, travelers unfolded maps. Then, some turned to dashboard GPS systems. Now people can just open a smartphone app when they need directions.
Garmin Corp., once the biggest provider of GPS systems, has felt the shift toward GPS apps and away from standalone dashboard systems. Its new navigational app, Viago, launched in mid-June in an attempt to woo back users who abandoned their traditional navigation systems for cheaper or free GPS apps.
Viago, available in Android and iOS versions, offers more features than free apps Google Maps and Apple Maps, but at a price. The app itself is only 99 cents – on sale until July 13, when it will go for $1.99. But the bulk of its unique features require other in-app purchases.
“The idea is that instead of charging a fixed price, you can buy the app and just purchase the features you want,” said Johan-Till Broer, Garmin’s press relations manager at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Olathe. “It gives a user more flexibility to really choose what they want.”
Basic features in the app include multi-destination routes, speed limit information and lane assistance with realistic junction views. Features such as Maps to Go, which downloads maps to be used out-of-service, and Real Directions, which uses landmarks, buildings and traffic lights instead of just street names to direct the driver, require an additional in-app purchase.
“I really like the Real Directions feature,” Broer said. “If I gave my wife directions, I’d say turn right at the traffic light. It’s just more natural.”
Viago isn’t Garmin’s first system for hand-held devices; the company released the StreetPilot app back in 2011. Compared with other Garmin GPS products, such as Nuvi devices that cost anywhere from $99 to $399, Viago seems to be a steal.
“This has Garmin routing, and we have 20 years of experience,” Broer said.
Garmin does not release sales numbers, but Broer said the app was at the top of iOS’s app store the day it was launched.
Garmin was the top seller of GPS devices for cars, but its stock has lost more than two-thirds of its worth since its peak in 2007, according to a report from the MIT Technology Review.
Most of its business was in GPS devices until smartphones with navigating capabilities became household devices. Garmin’s outdoor, fitness, aviation and marine segments now make up 58 percent of total revenue. Garmin’s automotive segment claimed 42 percent of revenue – including apps, standalone navigation devices and OEM systems – in the first quarter of this year.
Wichita Top Jobs
WICHITA COLLEGIATE SCHOOL
Courtyard by Marriott at Old Town
REECE CONST. CO., INC.
Join the Discussion
The Wichita Eagle is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.