Skobbler’s ForeverMap: Simple Maps Can Mean Good Business

Skobbler’s ForeverMap: Simple Maps Can Mean Good Business
Last week German navigation supplier Skobbler launched a new iPhone/iPod and iPad software called Forevermap. Unlike the previously announced products, this one does not provide turn-by-turn navigation but just map and routing, based on OpenStreetMap data, and costs €2.99.

The question is why would we need that application since there is Google Maps on the iPhone?

Well, first the good thing is that Skobbler has used smart compression algorithms which make the whole map of Western Europe fitting in a 1.3 GB package always in your pocket. There are clearly two use cases where this application is very useful. The first one is if you have an iPod Touch or an iPad without 3G – this use case already has an addressable market of over 50 million devices. The second one is if you are roaming abroad or out of network connection with an iPhone.

in addition, unlike Google Maps, Forevermap can be used in landscape mode which provides a much larger keyboard to type a local search.

the drawback of the application is that the OSM data is not always perfect. For instance, many streets, even in big cities don't have precise addressing.

Obviously there were already many map applications available for the iPhone, but not very well designed.

Thus far the application OffMaps (€1.59) was riding the iPhone charts – all over the world, but especially in Germany where the developer is coming from – however the software is quite cumbersome to use and does not compress the map data which obviously takes ages to download, even via Wi-Fi.

Making money with maps

The interesting point to notice here is that there is a real market for on-board map applications, consumers are ready to pay for it and their price is not very different from (much more sophisticated) entry level turn-by-turn navigation applications. Today Forevermap is number nine in the top grossing applications list in the German iTunes App store, currently making more money than TomTom in that app store.

Tuesday, October 12th 2010

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