Share this Story

Garmin Releases viago Navigation App For $0.99, Pay In-App to Unlock Features that Google Maps Does for Free

Besides Gmail and Search, the other service that has become synonymous with Google has got to be Google Maps. Since it comes pre-installed on almost all Android phones, it has become the go-to mapping and navigation service not only because it is convenient, but because it is also very good. If for some reason you do not want to opt-in to Google’s great maps service, though, there are other options out there. A new option with a brand name attached to it has launched today in the form of Garmin’s viago

Unfortunately for viago, as previously mentioned, Google Maps does a lot of things, and does them very well. Viago costs $0.99 just to download from Google Play, but if you want to unlock some of its “premium features” you must pay to unlock them through in-app purchases. These premium features include downloading maps to your device so you don’t need a data connection to access them. Or Live Traffic updates which shows you how the roads are ahead of you in real time. Or the Sound and Buildings purchase which unlocks spoken street names and 3D buildings on your map. Is this all sounding familiar? Because they are all things that Google Maps does for free.

It wouldn’t be so egregious if you paid once to unlock all of these features, but paying $0.99 up front to download the app and then having 17 (yes, seventeen) different in-app purchases to make a complete app is completely ludicrous. Unless you work for Garmin or are heavily invested in their ecosystem already, there is absolutely no reason to install this application over Google Maps unless you are keeping your information out of Google’s hands. But then, why would you have an Android phone in the first place?

Follow the link below if you are still interested in this app.

Play Link

  • MJG333

    For those of you preaching about how good google maps are. The one thing to keep in mind is that google tracks everything you do. So if you use google maps they know the routes you take, the stops you make, how fast you were going, and even the date and time you went there. There is no doubt that google maps has so awesome feature and all for free but not really.Check this link out (https://maps.google.com/locationhistory/). At least with standalone GPS you are not attach to an account. Hope this helps.

  • Arie Hoogendoorn

    Anyone else having issues with Google Maps Freezing while in Navigation? It has happened to me several times since the 8.1.0 update.

  • MacNificent

    Yeah… I’m biased. I can’t see why anyone who owns android would download this or any other map besides Waze. Unless you have sprint and your service just sucks..

    • larrybud

      Waze doesn’t so live traffic nearly as good as google maps. And now that google has bought waze, they’re incorporating waze info into google maps.

  • RSS70

    We have 2 smart phones with google maps and 2 garmin units, one pre-dates the smart phones, the other is newer for my 16 yr old son, who does not have a smart phone. I like Google maps, it is getting there, but still not on par with the stand alone Garmin units. I really like the Garmin units for GPS. They have been focused on GPS for so long, they get it right. Good interface. Accurate directions. Good routing. I have been waiting for them to come out with an android app.

    I would easily pay $10 for this app, instead of the nickle and dime approach. But I understand that the pay-by-the-option approach creates a price structure with different price points for different budets. Make all the maps downloadable onto my phone/sd card. As mentioned by others, displaying current the speed limit is a feature I miss when I use Google maps or Waze.

    I hope Garmin can make a go of this and give Google some competition. Nothing like competition to keep everyone upping their game. Since Apple wants out of Google Maps, maybe they’ll license Garmin’s technology, then that would fund Garmin’s mobile efforts to keep the competition alive. Garmin should also license their technology to fitness/IoT/smart watch providers. Become the defacto provider for these types of GPS dependent apps.

    • Joshua Elias

      I have a Garmin built into my stereo in my truck and it’s nice for most things and usually gets me where I need to go without a hiccup. I have actually been lead the wrong way by it a couple times though, my parents had the same happen to them in South Carolina. Yes Garmin has been doing gps for a very long time, and I love the speedometer on my stereo and it tells me the speed limit. It’s awesome but Google maps is more reliable in my area. I wish they would implement offline in though so you can reroute when your in the middle of nowhere. As for the app that Garmin offers that’s ridiculous amount of in app purchases and I wouldn’t purchase it just for then going this route.

  • HotInEER

    One word. WAZE

    • RSS70

      Why hasn’t Waze rolled out displaying current speed limits yet? Seems like it would be easy to do, with their user contributed mapping capability. I know I would submit the speed limit changes where I drive.

      • Eddie Spageddie

        What phone do you have and what version of Waze are you using? Waze has displayed speed limits for quite some time.

        • Pakmann2k

          Sorry but I can’t seem to find where to toggle that on either. Where in Waze? Moto X, latest update of Waze.

          • Eddie Spageddie

            It seems you may have overlooked it (or have not searched thoroughly). Go to SETTINGS then find DISPLAY SETTINGS and enable/select the SPEEDOMETER option.

          • RSS70

            Not quite sure what you meant when you said ” Waze has displayed speed limits for quite some time.” It is the speed limits on current roads that Waze lacks.

          • Pakmann2k

            We knew about that. I have the speedometer enabled. We were wishing the map showed the speed limit of the road you are on, not how fast you are going. Some of the other GPS products display the speed limit and can even be set up to warn you if the limit happens to lower. Like when a highway comes into a town, the speed limit usually drops below 45. People want that feature. Garmin has it.

  • Jprime

    Google maps has been freezing since 8.0, and its STILL the best

  • gambit07

    It would be nice to have an overview of the cost of those IAP’s. For example, another 99 cents or less to be able to download maps to your device wouldn’t be so bad (I don’t think Google let’s you do this for the entire country anyway just for routes and specific areas), but if they are $3-$5/per it would be a real problem. More info DL!

    • Alan Burnstine

      Each feature seems to be $9.99 (at least currently), so for everything, it can add up fast. On the other hand, $9.99 is about the least expensive off-line maps you can get for Europe and Australia, and the best price I have seen for “Here” (formerly Navtek) North America apps. Everyone cheaper uses TomTom which are pretty to look at, but give really bad directions.

  • bittermormon

    Google maps is free but maybe you get what you pay for? The interface in those shots looks really cool. I might skip a few coffees and check it out next time I’m traveling.

  • austindood

    So, I should use Garmin instead of Waze? Waze is free, tells me that there is heavy traffic ahead, tells me when there are cars on the shoulder and such. It also routes me the fastest way to get to my destination going around the traffic.

    • RSS70

      Garmin should have bought Waze well before Google did. Would have been a killer tandem. Just like Blockbuster should have bought Netflix and Redbox early on. Hope Garmin can make a go of it.

  • kilbasar

    How much does the offline maps IAP cost? I would probably pay up to $10 to have an app that does offline navigation for the full USA. I’ve been in situations before where Navigation or the phone crashed while I was way out in the middle of nowhere and I couldn’t navigate until I got a signal again.

    • Dan

      Currently on sale for $9.99, and it is the only feature for me that makes this better than GMaps, and the reason to get this, which I have as I’ve always been happy with my dedicated Garmin units, and am frequently offline.

      • MH


        Google Maps has had this feature for some time.

        • kilbasar

          I’m referring to navigation. You cannot navigate (or search at all) offline, you can only scroll around the map.

          I’ve tried OSMAnd, which kind of works for that purpose, but is also kind of awful.

        • Dan

          No, no it hasn’t, and still doesn’t. you can download map areas, but you cannot start any navigation or change routes if you do not have a data connection.

  • running out of news

    There’s a sucker born everyday

    • EdubE24

      Gotta love auto correct!!

  • monkeyboyep

    Garmin gets its info form Here (formally Nokia), so the quality of the maps is better for certain applications, but overall there’s no reason to use this over Google Maps. Especially with the integration Google has with Waze and it’s own mapping serivce. If anything, this is just to compete with Tom Tom.

    • Alan Burnstine

      Actually, it is even better than that. Here is also formerly Navtek (from what I an see, they merged with Nokia Maps to create “Here”). For North America, Navtek maps and Navtek routing algorithms are second to none. Google is catching up fast, but if I am traveling somewhere I am totally unfamiliar, I’ll run my Garmin Navigon over Google Maps every time.

      I am not sold on this new Garmin Viago yet. To bring it to the same functionality level of Navigon, you need to buy all of the in-app purchases (however, there are also some in Navigon). I haven’t sat down and calculated which winds up more expensive in the end, but for someone who travels by road a lot, the expense of one or the other is certainly worth it. Unless they stop maintaining Navigon, I doubt I would switch, even though the Viago UI seems better put together.

      • monkeyboyep

        Exactly right!! Navteq was second to none, and are still the best maps around. The number of cars and trucks using Navteq maps is astounding. No one comes close. But Google is definitely catching up. And true that the only way to really make the Garmin app worth using over Google Maps is by buying everything.

        If you travel a lot, especially in remote areas, I can see this being a good purchase, but for your everyday consumer who commutes to the city to check traffic and what not, it’s not worth it at all.

      • Alan Burnstine

        Looking at Garmin’s web site, it looks like they may not continue selling Navigon (for Android) or Street Pilot (for iOS) and Viago may replace them both. Navigon is still on the play store, but no mention of it on the Garmin web site at all. I wonder if they will transfer my maps license over to Viago (hah, unlikely).

  • Dt Bell

    I use Waze, it’s a little more interesting than Maps, and I like that Google kept the staff pretty much intact.

    • epps720

      Love Waze, and use it everyday for my commute. Best app I’ve used to help me avoid traffic, it’s been a life saver

    • James

      I’ve been thinking of giving Waze a shot now that it’s Google-owned. How much more data does it offer compared to Maps (which now bakes in some Waze data)?

    • d-rock

      I love Waze! I use it daily and report and rely on reports by other users. It shows the speed you’re going too. Love the speed trap reports, etc it gives you from other users feedback too.

    • mike

      I use Waze every time I’m in my car, just to contribute traffic data or report that sneaky cop hiding behind the bushes of the cemetery. Or that nasty pothole. Or that roadkill in the road!
      My GNEX has actually suffered some burn in because of how much I use it. For all of you using GMAPs, when it says that accident was reported via Waze app, you’re welcome! 😉

      • Pakmann2k

        I had the same burn-in on my Gnex. There are some good apps to remove the burn in but eventually, I took the phone into the VZW store and had it replaced.

  • JasonWhite

    The only feature that I miss from my dedicated GPS unit was mentioned in this video. Showing you how fast you are going and what the actual speed limit is. Hopefully Google will implement that at some point.

    But you are dead on – this app is pointless when the best is already free!!!!

    • rawr

      Google has led so many people to the wrong house because they have inaccurate data. Garmin, of course, does not.

      • James

        I believe you are thinking of Apple Maps.

        • JoshGroff

          Apple maps leads you into the middle of a lake, not someone’s house.

          • LocBox

            or a runway of an airport smh.

          • James

            Oh right. My bad…

          • I was in LA one time and we were using my gf’s. IPhone for nav and it told us to make a turn down a one way street going the wrong way. Luckily no cars were coming and the people walking were yelling at us.

          • JoshGroff

            If only life had a HUD.

          • Tom Z

            In this case the big ONE WAY sign or DO NOT ENTER wasn’t enough for you not to turn?

          • michael arazan

            Off cliffs and in the middle the desert, into the Pacific too

      • j

        Gmaps are partially crowd sourced. If you have an error, submit it, and it will be corrected. I’ve done it. It works.

        • LocBox

          yes this is true. I’ve done this a few times

        • James

          I have done this as well, many times. The response time tends to be quick. I wish more people would take the time to submit feedback.

        • Nathan D

          or just fix it yourself: http://www.google.com/mapmaker

        • rawr

          I’ve submitted a report, still the same error.

      • zurginator

        I can’t comment on any other map provider, but I am 100% sure Google Maps gives the wrong location for my house.

    • Adam White

      I use Ulysse Speedometer which has a speed overlay feature that works quite well with Google Maps. Now all we need is the speed limit.

      • James

        That’s a decent workaround, but I think most of us would prefer the option baked into Maps itself.

    • LionStone

      I have a speedometer in my car, I just use that and observe posted speed limits

    • MH

      There are overlay apps you can use to do precisely that. They work perfectly.

    • droidify

      It has a speedometer, is owned by google, and has traffic, accidents, road debris, everything.

      • MH

        And crappy looking, toy-like maps. To be honest, I much prefer google maps for actual navigation. Waze for warning about upcoming revenue collectors.

      • mjmedstarved

        WAZE alllllllll day.

      • scastro87

        But no speed limits

    • antwonw

      Oh believe me they will. Remember how they just added lane direction? Well look below at the image and what is right next to “Lanes.” That’s right Max speed. All this data is in Google Map Maker.

    • archercc

      The only other feature would be the true offline navigation.

    • jaymonster

      I actually tried this “feature” while playing around with Here+ on a Windows Phone and found it quite annoying to constantly be “warned” (beeped) at for your speed, particularly in stop and go traffic.

    • Daniel Maginnis

      This and red light camera alerts that my Mazda built in GPS provides. I don’t run red lights but its a nice feature.

      • TowelieMeBanana

        Totally agreed. With my Mazda nav-unit my phone stays tucked away in the console. I don’t get distracted by it. And if need be, I ask my Moto X “what’s up?” and it reads me my notifications over the bluetooth stereo.

      • Christopher Moore

        I have 2 cars, a truck and a motorcycle. My Note 3 works fine in all my vehicles including others that I get into including my motorcycle. I hate built in navigation because it doesn’t go with you, expensive and it’s the same boring interface for the life of the vehicle. Google and others could release a killer new interface at anytime for free. You might have to pay for a upgrade disc. Plus you can pre-program your destination before you even get into your car. Useful for verifying addresses with a friend or coworker without going to the car.

  • Hack Journalism

    Yea so crazy to charge money for your hard work/service/code. I mean why doesn’t Garmin just use the data they collect from android/maps/gmail/search/etc to earn money instead?

    Oh wait..

    • Like I said in the post, I could understand one purchase to download the device, or one purchase afterwards to unlock all premium features. But asking for that much money to have an app that barely competes with Google Maps does not sell well.

      • James

        Not to mention the fact that people work for Google too. And by all accounts, Google treats its employees very well.

      • Dan

        Eric, the part where you say “premium features include downloading maps to your device so you don’t need a data connection to access them” misses the point, as it allows full offline navigation which Google Maps does not for any price, oh and not to mention the misleading title.

    • James

      Feel free to pay your money to Garmin. I’ll keep using Google Maps.

  • TheDave1022

    Offline Navigation and Speed limits is about the only thing missing from Google Maps

    • PoisonApple31

      You can navigate offline on Google Maps now.

      • James

        you can, but navigation requires data.

        • PoisonApple31

          If you have the map offline and stay within its limits, how is it using data?

          • James

            Calculating navigation requires plotting a route. that happens off device on a server, which requires a data connection. You can view a map without data, but you cannot start a new route or recalculate an existing one.

          • PoisonApple31


          • James

            No problem. I agree with the OP that I would love to see offline navigation added, even in a rudimentary form (e.g. no alternate routes, business data along route, etc.)

    • Guest

      I use Ulysse Speedometer which has a speed overlay feature that works quite well with Google Maps.

    • LocBox

      offline navigation is on GMaps..asks you to save an area on your screen, downloads it to the cache, then when you drive and hit a bad service area it will continue to lead you to your destination. Works great all the time for me.

      • James

        only if you don’t have to start a new trip or recalculate a route…

      • TheDave1022

        My main problem is that I can cache a map for say Europe and then have almost no use for it except to see where I am in that map. I’m heading to Europe next month and needed a different app to be able to offline navigate since I wont have a data connection.