The popular navigation app Waze is planning to take its first steps outside the mobile world – by directly implementing a navigation system in your car. At a time where nearly everyone uses smartphones, is this the right move to make or one that is intended primarily to compete with Apple, which is planning to offer a similar service soon?
Waze is best known for their navigation and map services, which are continuously created and updated by the Waze community, consisted of users with the app installed on their smartphones. While driving, drivers’ coordinates are transmitted to Waze’s servers (via GPS) and are translated in real time to provide users with information about road infrastructure, blockages and traffic.
The company recently introduced a major upgrade to the application: using the information base provided by users to help drivers locate the nearest and cheapest gas stations. Additionally, this recent upgrade allows users to determine a few stops before reaching their final destination, while Waze calculates the fastest travel route.
With a database of 19 million users, it is apparent that the company is interested in continued development, though not necessarily in the mobile sector. CEO Noam Bardin revealed in an interview for Bloomberg that Waze is working with several big automobile manufacturers on directly integrating their product into the vehicle, eliminating the need for a smartphone as a mediator.
Bardin declined to name the auto manufacturers with which Waze is collaborating, but he did add that customers will see such integration of the navigation app within the next year.
Preparing for iOS-6?
At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, held a few weeks ago in San Francisco, the company introduced their latest mobile operating system: iOS 6, which among other features will include Siri services for drivers. The company announced that it is working with a variety of auto manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes, and Toyota on creating a button in the steering wheel that automatically activates Siri. Among its uses, Siri could be used for providing hands-free car operation, like receiving navigational options via Apple’s new Maps app.
Bardin explains that he is not worried about Apple’s move. According to him, when Google introduced its navigation services, both general use and number of Waze users were unaffected, which suggests that Apple will not be able to challenge Waze’s position in the market.
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