Thursday, May 31, 2012

New PNDs, new Free iPhone App in France

French mapping portal Mappy is pursuing its development in the navigation market with the launch of a new iPhone application and a new range of Mappy-branded Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs).

On Wednesday Mappy launched the second version of their free iPhone navigation software. After a first version released in December 2011 with AND maps, the French mapping brand is coming back with the same software (from NDrive) but this time with TomTom maps, a more premium offering that is likely to rejoice users.

While the navigation software from NDrive works well, the minimalist integration of PagesJaunes local search (the parent company of Mappy) is a bit clunky, as it is a very basic integration of the PagesJaunes Mobile website into the IOS app.

Menus are too small and too many clicks have to be performed for a driving usage. In addition to that, a pop up - asking the user to agree to allow PagesJaunes to use its location - is displayed for almost every search, quite annoying. These issues already found in the previous version could have been corrected to get a more polished interface.

Nevertheless the application is currently number 1 in downloads in iTunes in France, pushed by a massive web banner campaign on the homepage of Mappy’s portal today (i.e. in April 2012 the portal enjoyed an average of 580,000 unique visitors per day and 8 Milllion in the full month according to audience monitoring firm Mediamétrie).

The monetization of the application still appears to be work in progress, thus far limited to the local search module that displays banner ads, most of them geo-targeted.

Premium content such as other countries maps, traffic, speedcam, etc... are not yet available on the embedded store which unfortunately looks as empty as a soviet era russian department store.

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