Welcome to ZenUnwired; a blog dedicated to tracking developments in technology and strategy, and to deciphering the impact of these developments on wired and wireless ISP's, device manufacturers, OS and application developers, and most importantly - you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Turn-by-turn Navigation in India: GPS Device Vs. Mobile Maps

MapMyIndia, an Indian startup funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Sherpalo Ventures and Nexus India Capital recently announced the launch of its sophisticated GPS Navigator called the Road Pilot for Rs 7990 (about $180). The product provides real time GPS navigation to users and it comes with complete maps of 620 Indian cities, 576,000 towns and villages; 30,000 tourist locations, and 2 million unique destinations. The company, whose operating model is much like that of Garmin and TomTom aims to be the premier GPS device and service provider in India.

Even though I personally prefer stand-alone GPS devices in my car to one that’s running on a phone (it’s a convenience thing), recent flame-outs like Vodafone’s Wayfinder points to the fact that consumers prefer free navigation services to paid ones. In the US too, we saw the launch of Google’s free turn by turn navigation service for Android, decimate Garmin’s & TomTom’s stock prices.

Google already offers Google Maps in India, and it can apparently navigate like a local. It’s just a matter of time before Android devices in India are updated with real-time turn-by-turn navigation. In addition, Nokia (which by far has the lion’s share of the Indian mobile phone market) is also gearing up for a fight with Ovi Maps. So the question is – will ‘MapMyIndia’ go down in flames like its developed world counterparts, or has it learnt a thing or two (and has a strategy to compete)?