Having earned its place among the top navigation apps on the Windows Phone Store, GPS Voice Navigation now has even more to offer. We are happy to announce the long waited major update that comes with a much improved user experience thanks to the newly added features such as offline maps, night mode, 3D maps, full voice instructions and more.
Below is a full review of the application – from its very beginning and idea inception until today’s market standing and future planned developments.
Enjoy the ride!
After four months of development, the GPS Voice Navigation app was launched in the summer of 2011. The idea for it had popped up in a management brainstorming session here at Melon which was aiming to decide on the next product in our product pipe. After looking into various ideas, a niche was seen in the area of travel and navigation as there were not many apps which were offering a satisfactory service.
The dev team had chosen the Windows Phone platform because it was young and promising and because the Windows Phone Store (then “Marketplace”) did not offer any GPS applications at the time. The only GPS application available for Windows Phone back then was a very simple product and we did not really consider it as competition because it had none of the features GPS Voice Navigation was about to offer.
On June 7, 2011, the first version of GPS Voice Navigation for Windows Phone came out. The original features included turn-by-turn voice navigation integrated with Google®, Bing®, Yahoo® and MapQuest® map providers. The app offered both voice directions and onscreen instructions and was initially available in English only.
Just a few days after its release, the application achieved a constant stream of 100 downloads per day. These numbers held steady for the next 11-12 months. By the end of the year, we added a multi-language function that included French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Great new heights
In 2012, in support of the app’s success, Melon Mobile invested significantly into additional development and marketing of the product. In the beginning of 2012, version 3.0 was released with new features including hotel and restaurant booking, favorites, enhanced search functions (auto-complete, several search providers, location-sensitive results), points of interest (touristic places, restaurants, hotels, gas stations, etc). Yahoo was substituted by Nokia maps after Yahoo had shut down their service and Nokia had just released their version. The application also added Portuguese and Bulgarian languages.
Soon afterwards, version 4.0 of the application followed with a fresh Windows 8 style redesign, ‘quick start’ screen, improved map with a search interface, additional layers, enhanced phone contacts integration, and a trip pause/resume button. The language pack also received an upgrade to nine languages with the addition of Russian.
During Christmas season 2012, GPS Voice Navigation had another update featuring speed cameras integration, which provides a notification bar showing nearby cameras, speed warnings, and speed limit signs.
Last week marked another great milestone, with the deployment of the Windows Phone 8 (WP8) version, which includes the much-awaited offline maps, as well as 3D maps, night mode, native WP8 integration and auto-zoom. The WP7.5 version was also upgraded with auto-zoom along with a richer speed camera database and some bug fixes. These versions are available for download at the Windows Phone Store.
Measures of success
GPS Voice Navigation is at the top of its category, Travel and Navigation, with a total of nearly 110k all-time downloads.
USA is the top country in terms of downloads, with a total of almost 23k all-time downloads, Brazil is second with about 11k, and The UK is third with almost 10k. Italy and Spain follow with 9k and 6k, respectively.
Thanks to the everyday efforts of the GPS Voice Navigation team, the application has not seen serious turbulences since release. Of course, there are always some fixes done with each version. These fixes are usually updates of existing functionalities for better service, feedback from beta testers, responses to reviews from users and more.
What makes us incredibly happy is that over 40 percent of the all-time reviews give a five star rating to the application. Most of the comments suggest features such as offline maps, full voice instructions, night mode and contacts integration. These and many others have already been implemented or are already in the works for the upcoming updates.
Naturally, some customers write with issues they have experienced. They include difficulty finding a certain location, slow map refresh and phone battery draining too quickly. There is usually a good reason why these sometimes occur. In our next blog piece we will publish a helpful list of tips on how to achieve the best performance from any GPS application, addressing the issues above.
On the Web
Several exciting features and updates are in the pipeline for GPS Voice Navigation. The long-term goal is to create navigation for the ultimate driving experience and expand the application in different directions such as yachting, aeronautics, pedestrian navigation and many more.
Next blog: 3 helpful tips about using GPS navigation apps