Looking for a Google Maps Alternative? This Android Auto App Will Soon Get New Features

Google Maps and Waze dominate the navigation world on Android and Android Auto, but the search for alternatives is a never-ending struggle due to bugs appearing occasionally.
OsmAnd on Android Auto
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Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/OsmAnd

OsmAnd is a top choice, using the OpenStreetMap (OSM) map database for accurate directions and up-to-date information.

A new version scheduled to launch this month will boast a long list of improvements, including Android Auto refinements that’ll make the app an even better alternative to the like of Google Maps.

Let’s start with the Android Auto improvements.

The OsmAnd development team says engineers have been working on making the interface more straightforward, and the first menu getting a facelift offers faster access to favorites, tracks, and POI categories. Version 4.5 will include a new start screen that’ll bring all these items under the same roof.

As a result, OsmAnd will no longer display favorites, tracks, and POI categories separately, eventually making the interface more organized. Users who save their favorites and settings on the device will be allowed to upload the data to OsmAnd Cloud. However, this feature will be exclusive to mobile devices – you can still make changes on Android Auto but can’t upload the data directly from the dashboard screen.

The new version will also include 3D relief support for Terrain maps and an option to announce deviation from the route. The new feature should make it easier to follow an active route and notice suggested deviations, especially when the application finds faster routes to the destination.

The upcoming update will include additional refinements for widgets, pedestrian routing, and track management.

Users who want to stick with Google Maps on Android and Android Auto must know of a glitch that breaks down alternate routes. Due to a glitch introduced in a recent app update, Google Maps fails to correctly calculate the time you save when taking a faster route. The map displays alternate routes with ridiculous times, despite the destination being just a few minutes away from the current location. Google has not acknowledged the problem, so users should stick with the current route or switch to an alternative navigation app.

According to reviews posted on the Google Play Store, OsmAnd doesn’t experience this kind of bug, but the app has been struggling with other glitches. Occasional GPS connection problems break down the navigation, making it impossible to follow a suggested route. Others claim the app no longer follows them on the map, though this could also be linked to the glitch GPS connection.

The upcoming update is also expected to come with additional under-the-hood refinements, so I’ll let you know when it becomes available for download. In the meantime, the latest update is dated April 2023 and brings improvements to the Coolwalk integration.