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How to pick the right smartphone navigation app: off-board vs. on-board

7 March 2012 @ 11:35 AM  / Apple-Mac / Apps / Automotive Blog /


Garmin StreetPilot Onboard 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navigation apps for smartphones have been around for quite some time now and having to pick from the flood of apps available can be quite overwhelming. We thought we’d make it a little easier by explaining the differences between two groups of navigation apps: off-board and on-board solutions. Luckily, Garmin offers both so depending on your preferences, here’s what to consider:

The difference between on-board and off-board maps

On-board apps store maps locally on your smartphone while off-board apps need to connect to a server and download maps via a data connection each time you calculate a route. So the advantage of on-board apps is that you don’t require a cell phone connection to calculate routes. This comes in handy in areas where cell phone coverage is spotty, especially when traveling the backcountry. On-board apps also tend to be faster when zooming into or scrolling through maps.

Off-board apps, however, use up less internal storage than on-board apps, because the maps are stored in the cloud. This also ensures that you're always using the latest maps. Most on-board apps are available as a one-time purchase, while off-board apps are typically offered at a lower price with a subscription fee for continuous usage.

How frequently do you use navigation?

Generally speaking, on-board apps make most sense for more frequent drivers while off-board apps are more geared towards occasional users. Starting at $49.99 for the USA version, Garmin’s StreetPilot Onboard app for iPhone provides not only the same award-winning nüvi user interface that millions of users are already familiar with but also a roaster of premium features not found on other apps. If you’re on the road quite a bit, the on-board maps won't let you down and the one-time fee is a good deal. But if you only use your app when traveling a couple of times a year, the StreetPilot onDemand app might be a better choice.

Garmin StreetPilot onDemand for iPhone is an off-board app and a great solution for travellers. Starting
at only $.99 for 30 days of navigation, this app doesn’t break the bank while still providing Garmin’s premium navigation experience. After the 30-day time period users can subscribe on a monthly or annual basis, so you just pay for navigation when you actually need it. Garmin StreetPilot onDemand comes with many features that are customized for travelers such as pedestrian navigation including public transportation and Wikipedia information on interesting buildings.

Still can’t decide? Feel free to post your questions in the comments section.

 


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