Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free GPS for the iPhone and Android

I have no idea why I haven't seen this in reviews, press etc, but there is a totally free GPS for the iPhone and Android called Waze. They call it a "Social GPS" which means that its learning from all the users streets, direction of traffic, speed of traffic etc from the users, but in the US it has a good map to start. It speaks directions (even in the background on devices that support it), does the routing. You can flag traffic areas for other people to know about, report speed traps etc. So its a decent GPS with a social feature. I've been using it for a week and its good. 

Some notes: 

1) When in the foreground it eats a lot of battery updating maps etc. In the background it doesnt consume much
2) Whether you're routing or not if you run the app and quit it it keeps running and learning streets etc. They should have an option whether you want this to run this way or not. They do have some logic in there to shut it down if you're not moving for some period of time. I dont know if thats apple's task manager killing it or if its doing it itself, but either way I think the default setting should be to not run when you exit unless you're routing. Fortunately you can kill the process if you want: Double click to bring up the task switcher, hold your finger on the app you want to kill and press the x.
3) You earn points for driving new roads, miles driven, reporting incidents etc. Something to track for the daily commute.

I haven't tried any of the paid apps, but to me this is a decent enough GPS to travel with and the price is right :)
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