Navitime starts multimodal nav in US, Europe

Commercial service from Japanese company launched at USD/EUR 4.99

Navitime starts multimodal nav in US, Europe
NAVITIME, a successful Japanese multimodal GPS navigation service is now commercially available for both mobile and web interfaces at a monthly subscription of $4.99 for the U.S., and €4.99 for 19 European countries.

A free four-week trial is also available, even if the application was already in trial since April 2008 in the United States and November 2008 in Europe.

Dr. Keisuke Onishi, CEO and President at Navitime, said “while most of the mobile GPS navigation solutions focus on car navigation, NAVITIME provides directions from a combination of the seven transportation methods. Navigation provided on a personal device - such as your smartphone - should be able to support not only cars, but the many of the ways that a person may want to travel.” He added that “the NAVITIME service in Japan has well over two million paying subscribers, and I believe this is because we provide a service that supports a very basic need. I wish to expand this service globally and make it available at a very competitive rate so that it is readily accessible to everyone.”

Multimodal navigation: not yet ready for prime time

The positive point in the commercial launch of this off-board service is the moderate price and the availability across a large number of handsets. However, the negative point is that the coverage for mass transit is too limited: the only city with bus routes is New York City and local trains are only supported in 13 European cities. As a result, the purpose of this software, multimodal transportation, is still a promise, not a reality. Instead of trying to cover the whole of Europe and the U.S. with partial data, NAVITIME should focus on a limited number of cities with comprehensive coverage.

Tuesday, February 3rd 2009

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