I noticed it a few weeks ago when I saw that the German GPS navigation company Navigon provided their navigation software for the iPhone that they quickly showed up in the Top 10 list in the AppStore.
Now Navigon is number one paid app in the Navigation category and based on the huge number of reviews (250) in a league with e.g. the very popular game Brain Challenge.
Navigon offers two versions currently: a European and a D-A-CH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). It supports also many languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch and will have even more in the near future.
While the price is very high for an iPhone app (105 CHF and 69 CHF) for the two versions it is relatively cheap compared to buying a complete navigation device. Also this app seems to close a gap that neither Apple nor Google’s Android phone could close so far (not to mention the mobile operators who are loosing out it seems once more here too) and that is for a professional navigation system. There are GoogleMaps based GPS projects under way, but they are still in a stage where I would not use it and rely on it to find my way on time to a meeting in a new place. Of course they will improve over time as well but I think this will take a while and possibly never reach the quality of Navigon.
Now that Navigon has started this they should not stop but expand the functionality to much more location based services and join forces with many other apps that you can find already in the AppStore. They could become a platform for many of them. If they take that opportunity will have to be seen though. Navigon being a German company I doubt that they will succeed in this or even try as this is not something that comes natural to German companies. They very typically stick to their own ideas and don’t use extensive partnering as a way to distribute their brands. That’s one of the reasons also why hardly any German software company was able to build an international success unlike so many US software providers. But maybe I am wrong and if so Navigon could have a stellar rise from here. Let’s see…