Skobbler free sat nav app tops 72,000 downloads

Free iPhone app sets sights on standalone devices

Don't know where we're going but got a way of knowing...

The free mobile navigation app, Skobbler has reportedly clocked 72,000 UK downloads in the three weeks since it mid-June launch, posing a serious threat to dedicated sat nav makers.

The iPhone-based, German-made app has topped the UK free navigation apps chart since its launch and has even broken into the top 10 of all free-to-download iPhone applications.

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With 266,000 dedicated satellite navigation devices shipping in the UK in the first quarter of 2010, the Skobbler app is already well on the way to surpassing this mark, recording an opening three week uptake, 27 per cent of this total figure.

Proving more successful in the UK than its native Germany, the Skobbler app’s UK popularity has prompted the company’s Co-Founder Marcus Thielking to say: “It’s early days and to have experienced such success in such a short amount of time is quite overwhelming and encouraging. It demonstrates again just how popular mobile phone navigation is becoming.”

Differentiating itself from other sat nav apps, the Skobbler app takes a Wikipedia-esq approach employing a community based map updating system. Whilst this means that the app’s map data is kept meticulously up-to-date, like Wikipedia, its community edited approach leaves it open to abuse and falsified editing.

Whilst an aesthetical and iOS 4 compatible update will land shortly for the Skobbler iPhone app, many none-Apple users will be pleased to hear that a Google Android edition of the free navigation app will also be available later this month.

Can free and low-cost mobile apps really take over from expensive standalone sat nav devices? Let us know what you think via our Twitter and Facebook feeds.