Navigon MobileNavigator for Android Augmented Reality View 1st Impressions

Navigon’s MobileNavigator for Android has a couple of unique features. One of the most unique for map navigation software is the Augmented Reality (AR) view that overlays points of interest over a camera view of the world. You can switch from map view (see the screen shot below) to AR view by simply swinging your Android phone up so that it is perpendicular with the ground. You can see a quick test I video recorded while standing outdoors yesterday. MobileNavigator identified a couple of nearby points of interest (buildings) but missed the biggest one (literally) – our State Capitol building. I move my Droid around a bit to make sure it had a couple of different orientations relative to the building but it never identified it.

The AR view is something I’ll explore further. But, it looks like it is definitely missing some important data – at least for my neck of the woods.

There’s another interesting quirk to the AR view mode. It does not kick in unless you have GPS satellite acquistion. Unlike, other apps that can use WiFi access point information or triangulate on cell towers, MobileNavigator appears to be soley dependent on GPS satellite data. This also means that it may seem slow to start since satellite acquisition might take a minute or two. Standalone GPS users are familiar with this delay. However, smartphone users will consider it unusually slow compared to the less accurate but faster WiFi Access Point and cell tower location information 3G dependent apps use.

Navigon MobileNavigator for Android

Disclaimer: Navigon provided an evaluation copy of MobileNavigtor for Android to me for review purposes.