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GPS Navigation and Map Applications
May 14, 2012
2:41 pm

I have been following with interest these apps and have several of them in my Playbook. I think the size of the Playbook screen is ideal for these apps. The problem I found that all navigation apps rely on network support (wifi or data link) for many if not all features. Here are a couple promising downloadable maps, and by default unaided functionality. 

Magellan Compass V.3.  by o2 Interactive 

I have recently upgraded my Magellan Compass to version 3. In spite of the free trial a was charged for it.  But I figured that if it lives up to its promises the $5.99 is a reasonable person price. Well, it is far from a truly on-device navigation app. While you can download 'tiles' of maps, provided by either MapQuest or OpenStreet maps (your choice), you have no idea of the size of the geographic area the tiles cover. In practice you will like run 'off the map.Laugh Maps should be downloaded by states, provinces or countries, not by tiles. A large number of features need network access. To be fair the vendor, o2 Interactive mentions that some features need network connection, like searches. 

My TomTom does not. Neither does Nokia's free navigation app, (assuming you set the app to run 'unassisted').

Navigator by OBJ Studio 

Yesterday I shelled out $6.99 for the "Navigator" a converted Android app, available on BlackBerry Appworld. It also promises to be a truly on-device navigation app. It supports downloadable maps by US states and Canadian provinces. My problem with this app is that it is stupifiyingly complex. The setup options are mind boggling and have to have a PHD in geography AND computer science to understand the options. It still likes to be connected for some features. Because of the relative complexity I need more time to fully test it. My 75 year old uncle had no trouble to learn operate a TomTom. There is no way on earth he would ever learn the operation of the Navigator.


Here is my advice to all developers trying to write a navigation app for a phone/tablet.

1. Get yourself a dedicated GPS unit, maybe you can borrow your mom's. (I will loan you mine!) And see what is expected from a navigation app.

2. Find a good map, bowabout OpenStreet Map, and POI source.

3. And Keep It Simple Stuped – KISS principle.

4. Do a market research, check out the competition (dedicated navigation devices) both their functions and prices. Make the Playbook a TomTom killer. Market your app for say $9.99 with home country map (break it down by state, province et.) included. Offer other downloadable maps for say $1.99 each. 

5. Make online update of the maps and POIs simple.


From all the navigation and map apps I have seen my favorite  is still NavDroyd. It allows you to download maps (uses OpenStreet Map) by country and you never will need a paper map ever again. It is not a navigation aid, you can't plan a trip, find a bar, etc., but it does what it advertises and does it well. Oh I forgot, it is free!

May 17, 2012
1:30 pm

Update to my previous post.

Once I figured out the app it is quite useful. Easily the best standalone, on-device navigation app to date on the Playbook.

One painful shortcoming is an easy way to set a destination. It is not intuitive at all. There should be a 'Set Destination' button once you pull down from the top bezel. I still could not figure out if you can, and if so how, to set multiple locations on the same trip or how to edit the names of my own Favorites. It is just a pain to figure out these details. A good User Guide would go a long way to help.

I am using the downloaded map of Ontario/Canada. Maps available for the states of US and provinces of Canada. The developers promise more maps. Right now the only other map available is for the UK.


The bottom line? It is an excellent start, but it has too many bells and whistles. It needs to be simplified.

May 23, 2012
6:34 pm
maybe I found something: 



but is is only available for android, maybe someone can convert and test it??


June 3, 2012
4:22 pm

Try the Navigator.

If by any chance you have a Nokia phone, I found out out that you can download maps from It is in beta testing for BlackBerry's OS 10, which the playbook already has. It works quite well.

June 27, 2012
7:30 pm

Update. The latest version of the Navigator is better. At least there is a quite reasonable help file. Once I figured it out, the app worked well in Ireland. It managed to find the B and B we were looking for, when my Nokia Maps could not help.

Also, it was in the news that TomTom has signed some sort of agreement with RIM (and Apple!). It will be interesting to see how RIM will use this relationship.

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20 thoughts on “GPS Navigation and Map Applications | BlackBerry PlayBook Apps | PlayBook Forums

  1. saltysnack

    I'm in outside sales. I'm always looking for a way to keep my gadgets charged. You would think a car charger would do but when I have my playbook, 9900 and my laptop all to babysit everyday it sure makes it tough. The Zaggsparq sure would make my life a whole lot easier! Peace out and may our 2.0 make the playbook the best tablet eva!

    1. godot2011

      I suggest drop your car chargers. All of them. Get a 12V to 120V inverter and use the wall chargers shipped with your devices. Note that the 'generic' USB chargers will not do a very good job for the PlayBook. The PlayBook needs a powerful charger to charge quickly.

      I also suggest to get yourself a "magnetic" charger. It will fast charge your PB without the possibility of damaging your micro USB port. This is the best investment you can make.

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    1. Joe Styer Post author

      what do you need help with. Feel free to use our forum. lots of folks can help.

      1. agus04b

        Hi. I have problem with my pb. Cannt use my camera. Always show error 4003
        How to solve thats?
        I just update my os to a new one

  7. Pingback: BlackBerry PlayBook Tip: Using Kindle E-Books on your PlayBook

    1. Henrie VII

      The ones converted so far are not working. I have tried several times. The same with Funding radio not working.

  8. Hoodykid007

    can you put more games on plsssss and we just save from you,,, we do not no any web pages to find games,, pls text back

  9. snozzy

    Hi,I was lucky to get PlayBook for my 85th birthday
    .Now I am enjoying. Snooker, Suduko, Racing moto, Slide, etc.Sideload Kindle,(abit disappointed with it, not as good a reader as the reader I purchased from BB.)
    Maybe Skype soon?

  10. Bear

    I am a new user here so be gentle if i screw up......i want to say how disappointed i am as i purchased the new 4g PB for my wife and especially to have the Kobo reader app, only to find out that the app is useless unless you are connected to wifi......she likes pb for simple computing needs etc but looks like i need to buy a kobo reader...what a pile of crap.....does anyone have a fix???....thanks...Bear

  11. snozzy

    Hi, am I alone in having an app that refuses to delete by the regular way?
    Found a way, using sideloading delete button. A bit of a pain but reclaimed some space.
    I hope this helps if anyone has deleting problem.

  12. ecoder

    Was wondering how long it might be before kindle does an app for the playbook, kobo came free with the playbook can't figure why kindle doesn't care about losing all those customers.

  13. ecoder

    Yes I know it has been said we can side load and all of that for kindle but really, why should we do that when it is to help buy their books?

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