Google put GPS navigation companies on notice when they released Google Maps Navigation — for free. They did it again when they updated Google Maps with vector imagery rather than bitmap tiles, and added 3D buildings.
Today Verizon Wireless announced some major changes to their VZ Navigator VX that will help them stay relevant to Google’s offerings. Now available on certain smartphones (DROID X, DROID Incredible, and the Samsung Fascinate), this new version of the app provides “customers with 3D navigation views using enhanced 3D city models and true-to-life images of highway and exit signs”. Also included in this update are satellite maps and day/night modes, in-app multitasking, and even integration with Facebook.
Unfortunately, the new features are only available in six cities (Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Mo., New York, and Washington D.C.), but more cities will be added in time.
“Verizon Wireless continues to add more to VZ Navigator, and VZ Navigator VX now gives our customers some of the most advanced mapping and navigation services available today. Whether they are in a familiar place and need to get around more efficiently or exploring new territory in a car or on foot, customers can turn to VZ Navigator to get them where they want to go.”
Unlike Google Maps Navigation and Waze, which are free, VZ Navigator VX costs US$9.99/month, US$4.99/week, or US$2.99/day. Additionally, according to the press release, use of the data parts of the app may count against the data limits of your cellular plan, and could result in additional charges from your carrier. However, the press release seems to contradict itself by noting that “megabyte charges will not be incurred for domestic use of the application after download to the device.”
Users on supported devices should be able to find the app in the Android Market.