Even after a recent clean out, I have more that 50 apps downloaded on (each of my) smartphones. If you’d asked me to guess before I did the actual count, I would have said it was around 20. At a stretch. Yes, yes, I hear you. I don’t use most of them but I am soooo grateful to have Tetris to turn to once a year when I’m standing in *that* post office queue (someone please help them develop an app so I don’t have to?!).
The Telmap homepage
Once in a blue moon I stumble across an app, download and use it non-stop. It’s been 2 months and so far Telmap has made my GPS device (which is rather dated at 5 years old & it doesn’t help that I’ve just never bothered to do a software update) obsolete. Ditto for Google maps (previously my back up when my GPS let me down).
Telmap is an Intel company who at just 2 years old have over 12 million users worldwide, with a local presence in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, the US, Romania and South Africa.
Day time navigation screen
Night time navigation screen, note the traffic update.
So what’s the fuss? Here’s what I lusted, loved and loathed about Telmap…
- First things first. Powered by TomTom, in terms of the navigation itself (i.e. the basics of getting me from point A to B) for me, the hit rate so far has been around 99%. For some reason there was one address/place it just couldn’t pick up in Soweto one day but that’s never happened again since…
- But Telmap is more than a navigation app, they’ve partnered with key local and international providers to enrich the app with integrated value-added services. That’s a mouthful, let me explain. For example ones that I like are BP (my preferred petrol station because of the savings offered on Vitality) and Pick n Pay (again, Vitality savings). Being able to find my closest branch of these saves me time and money while I’m on the go.
- But it’s also quite a bit more than “find your closest branch of X”. In conjunction with the likes of Eat Out & you can search and find restaurants by categories, see ratings, contact numbers and business hours. Another nifty one is Always On, a newish free Wi-Fi service (they partnered with Samsung recently) – so that you can stay connected on the go.
The Eat Out section of the app
- The app is free! You can download it on all platforms: Blackberry, Android and IOS.
- If you do want the premium version for 9.99$ (R99) once off you’ll also get speed camera & danger zone alerts (you get a free automatic 14 day trial on download).
- There’s room for personalization like saving locations under “My Places” on the homepage; choosing route preferences (e.g. avoiding toll roads/highways) & your choice of navigation voice (Kim Cattrall will set you back 1.99$) – everything you’d expect from a store bought GPS device.
- The updates to the app don’t happen often but when they do happen it always seems to be when I’m in a rush to get somewhere. They take literally 2-3 minutes but it does feel like ages when I’m rushing.
- I’m not really phased by the advertising banner at all but some people could mind this. You’re not able to opt out of advertising with the upgraded/premium app either.
Need to know
- For safety & ease of use I highly recommend investing in a car kit (that attaches to the windscreen/dashboard) for your phone if you plan to use it as a GPS. Also if you don’t and keep it on your lap or the centre console, you’ll regularly lose signal.
If I ran the brand
- I’d find a way to be telling more people about the app!
Telmap has over 800 000 users in SA today with around 65 00 signing on every month. For me it’s a no brainer.