FINALLY, an affordable GPS navigation system for ordinary Indian users
GPS navigation systems have been available in India for over 2 years now - and most of the products have targeted vehicle owners. A few – mostly mobile phones embedded with GPS -- have addressed the pedestrian user – but being smart phones they are all priced around Rs 25,000.
Finally this week, we have a GPS navigation for the rest of us – which means lay users who might be on foot or on an autoriksha or a two wheeler. That is not to say that MapmyIndia’s new navigator, “Light” Lx130 cannot he fitted in a car; but its price – Rs 11,990 – and that includes an all India maps software package that covers 400 plus towns and over 800,000 kms of roads -- makes it arguably the most affordable GPS system in India and one that the average customer can at least consider buying.
We have tried out MapsmyIndia’s maps package earlier, so we can vouch for its general accuracy and utility. Like most Indian maps software, it works better in cities where the available data is denser, more accurate and more frequently updated. That is because the government woke up to the compelling value of its cartographic holdings only in recent years – and almost grudgingly made it available to commercial agencies to harness and transform into customer friendly packages.
MapmyIndiaLight Lx130 is just 122 grams in weight; yet the screen is an acceptable 3.5 inch diagonal. You can search for shops, restaurants, ATMs, complete with phone numbers where available and can also compute distance to go and estimated arrival, if one enters the speed at which one is moving. Car owners who did not buy a GPS as a pre purchase fitment, can now think of adding the device and attaching it to the windscreen ( it comes with a special mount and car charger).
Small enough to slip into pocket or ladies purse, we are predicting that a product like this for the first time will make lay consumers consider what GPS can do for them. Why face the barriers of ‘bhasha’ and the hassle of asking directions from the nearest ‘dhaba’ when you can ‘do it yourself’?
Anand Parthasarathy, Bangalore June 27