ALK CoPilot Live Premium HD
Get your motor running
Android App of the Week I’ve been using ALK’s CoPilot 8 for Android since I reviewed it in these pages back in 2009. I liked it a lot then and still do. So when ALK announced a major upgrade, my ears pricked up.
CoPilot Live's nav screen is tidier than before
The first thing you notice about Premium is the redesigned menu system. I’m not sure it’s an improvement because the on-screen buttons are quite a bit smaller and less finger-friendly than before. Thankfully, the navigation screen has been tidied up more successfully.
Major functionality upgrades include the Wikipedia POI search facility, which is a bit of an eye-opener. I’d never really given much thought to how many locations are now in Wikipedia, complete with latitude and longitude. The answer is, a lot.
New release, new menu (left) - and new Wikipedia POI info (right)
Also new is the alternate route calculation facility, common now on many standalone satnavs and overdue in CoPilot. Another useful new feature is “drag routing” which lets you finger-drag the course of a route on the map to include a new waypoint.
Live traffic and fuel price data can now be purchased from within the app at £9.99 and £4.99 for 12 months, respectively. I think ALK has missed a trick by not letting customers buy on a day-by-day or month-by-month basis.
Alternative routes are offered (left), and there's a handy distance-based detour tool (right)
In keeping with the current obsession with social networking, you can now post your travel details directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts should you wish to.
The actual mechanics of navigation are much the same as before, but since they weren’t broken ALK didn’t need to fix them.
Up-to-date traffic and petrol price info cost extra
The maps are a little richer but still clear and easy to follow. Routing decisions are reliable and vocal guidance succinct - if sometimes repetitious - and you get a selection of seven free voices and full text-to-speech support, though only with the synthetic voice.
At £24.99 - by the time you read this the £12.49 introductory offer will have expired - CoPilot Premium is only £2.50 more expensive than CoPilot 8. That makes it the best navigation system available for Android but don’t feel you have to replace CoPilot 8 if you already have it on your phone - it’s not that much of leap forward. ®
Size 16.3MB (Application) / 12.3MB (Data) / 175MB (Maps)
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Is quite a lot for an app which doesn't appear to be all that much more clever than the already-installed Google Navigation.
I guess if you drive a lot, it might be worth it, but I would have liked to hear why this is better than the free alternative.
"Why in hell does a navigation application need permission..."
to make phone calls - so it can call POIs, the AA etc etc directly from within the app.
read my contacts list - so you can navigate directly to a contacts address from within the app.
phone state - so when you call a rescure service etc they can see your incoming number.
I'm reading down the list of system permissions for CP right now and everyone is pretty obvious.
Has google Nav got offline maps now (not cached)? I know it was rumoured, but didn't know they were already doing it.. That's the only reason I bought CoPilot some time back - because google Nav let me down massively when I was out in the back end of nowhere in Wales with a wavering 1 bar of GSM reception. The lack of data connection's a big deal for me as I use it on holiday too.. Much cheaper to buy a region's map than pay for overseas data usage.. If Google are providing free offline maps then that's amazing.
It needs permission for phone calls because it can make phone calls - find a POI on the map (e.g. a restaurant or chemist) and click on it, you'll get info about it, including phone number and "Call" and "GO" buttons. Click the call button to make a phone call to that location.
I imagine the other permissions have equally explainable purposes.
Re: Open Street Map client for Android?
Yep, its called NavFree - http://www.expansys.com/navfree.
As the name suggests, its completely free. Maps are stored on the SD card so no lag with downloading on the move.
I've been trialling it and generally its pretty good. My main complaint so far is that occasionally the navigation can be a little ropey (got very confused when trying to route me to one particular address - took me a terrible route when I knew a shorter & quicker one existed). But hopefully these will get ironed out over time.
Sure beats forking out £25 smackers for CoPilot for very little obvious advantage!