Airtel has today announced launch of its Mobile app – Smartdrive – App that will offer consumers turn-by-turn voice navigation and Live Traffic Information. It is interesting that Airtel’s app launch has come within a week of Google announcing similar feature updates to its Google Maps navigation application.
Airtel Smartdrive Features
According to Airtel’s press release, the smartdrive app enables the users to view their location on a map and find information and directions about the route from one place to another. Smartdrive app offers voice voice activated turn by turn navigation and gives real time information on traffic situation on roads around them. The app also suggests user an alternate route if there is traffic on the normal route.
According to the Smartdrive documentation, the live traffic situation situation is calculated based on the users on that particular route who are using similar applications, so this information is accurate only if there are enough people on the road. The Airtel Smartdrive app also denotes the traffic situation based on color coding – green/yellow/red.
Airtel Smartdrive Pricing
However, unlike Google Maps navigation, Airtel Smartdrive App is not free and works on subscription model – If a user wants turn-by-turn navigation they can subscribe to Monthly Pack (Rs. 99) or Daily Pack (Rs. 10). For real time traffic updates, the subscription cost is Rs. 49 for monthly and Rs. 3 for daily pack.
How to Install
To install this application, users will have to SMS ‘smart’ to 54321 to get a link to download the application. Smartdrive is compatible with nearly all smartphones, you can check out the list of supported handsets here.
My Take on Smartdrive
I think it is a little too late to launch this app. With similar apps available free of cost from the likes of Google and others, it may not be too appealing, unless their Live Traffic view is really accurate. However, it is chicken and egg, because Airtel will need users to first subscribe to Smartdrive to get more accurate Traffic details.
If you are an Airtel customer, do try out Smartdrive (even if it is for a day) and let us know what you feel…
[Updated 13/9/2012]: We got response from Airtel Folks to the question – "Why would consumers pay for a service which is otherwise free with Google navigation?"
Response – Most data plans have a data usage limit, after that limit is reached, data transfer is chargeable. So when a customer uses Google maps, his data allocation is being exhausted all the time and he has to pay over and above the data plan charges in case he uses more data than his data plan allows. With Smartdrive, once you subscribe to either navigation or traffic or both, the data usage is not chargeable, irrespective of however much this app is used.