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Navigation app CoPilot Live goes freemium next month

But loves Google Maps

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MWC 2012 Premier navigation app CoPilot will go freemium next month, with a cut-down version designed to convince users to throw away their dedicated satnav and buy in for 20 quid.

The company behind CoPilot, ALK, claims it hasn't been pushed into this by Google's free offering – apparently Google Mobile Maps has done nothing but good for the sales of the CoPilot Live app – but some people apparently still need convincing that their iOS, or Android, phone is up to the task.

Not that the free version of CoPilot will have the best bits; anyone wanting turn-by-turn directions, or a 3D rendering of the junction ahead, will still have to cough up 20 quid for the full version. But locally held maps, route plans with 50 way points and drag-and-drop routing will all come for free just as soon as the application-store-approval process is completed.

It would be easy to suggest that this is an inevitable response to Google Mobile Maps, which provides a lot of the basic functionality for free, so we did just that. But David Quin, Head of Consumer Applications at ALK, assured us this wasn't the case. In fact, according to ALK, Google Maps has been a near-perfect promotional tool – educating people that their phones can do navigation, while not offering a good enough user experience to replace the in-car satnav.

Not quite perfect, obviously: if it were then there would be no reason to have this new fremium offering.

CoPilot won't carry any advertising, paying customers will be subsidising the freetards, and ALK reckons they'll get enough upgrades to make it pay. But at least when using CoPilot one isn't constantly wondering what Google's advertising algorithms make of one's movements, and that alone is a good enough reason to give it a go. ®

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