ALK Technologies, provider of the CoPilot line of navigation software, has just announced a new low-cost version of its CoPilot 8 software for Android phones, dubbed CoPilot Live USA. It costs just under $5.
Navigation software has typically been a hard sell for Android phones, since Google started offering its Google Maps Navigation app for Android 1.6 and higher, but CoPilot Live USA has one feature that makes it worth a second look: local map data. By storing its maps locally, users are still able to plan routes when their data connection goes dark, which is a godsend for those of us who often venture off of the 3G grid where cloud-based navigation apps like Google's become quite useless. (Funny how all of the best mountain driving roads happen to coincide with 3G dead spots.)
The trade-off for having your map data always on hand is the huge footprint that CoPilot Live USA takes up on your phone. The application itself unpacks to about 23.5MB upon downloading, however that's just for the nuts and bolts framework of the app. On the initial launch, users are prompted to download the actual map data, which can take up to 2GB of storage space on the SD card depending on the regions chosen. A Wi-Fi connection is required for such a large download, but fortunately ALK gives users the option to use its CoPilot Central desktop software to handle the heavy lifting and downloading to be synced via USB later.
The "Live" in CoPilot Live refers to the services available in the app that do require a data connection, such as Live Local search for destinations, Live Link friend locator, and Live Weather. The app also ships with a 14-day trial of ActiveTraffic data service, which uses live traffic data to help calculate routes and ETAs based on current traffic conditions. When the 14-days are up, a $9.99 12-month subscription will be required to continue using the service.
Other features include text-to-speech directions for spoken street names, graphic lane and turn guidance for highway exits and interchanges, and three map views (2D, 3D, and a text-and-arrow based Driver Safety view). The app also features walking, cycling, and RV modes and be used in either portrait or landscape orientation.
We've got our hands on a copy of this app and will be putting it through its paces over the coming days. In the meanwhile, CoPilot Live USA is available now in the Android Marketplace for $4.99.