Modern smartphones are packed to the brim with low-power sensors like accelerometers and gyroscopes, which means they're capable of precisely measuring almost any type of movement. So why is it that when you just want to get walking directions somewhere, your device still uses its battery-sucking GPS connection to track your progress?
This question is what sparked developer Christian Henke to create a unique navigation app and submit it to Google's Android Experiments project. The end result of his work is an app that gives you walking directions without relying on GPS, instead using internal sensors to give you more accurate navigation while saving as much as 80% battery life.
Henke's innovative navigation app is called Smart Navi - Step Navigation, and it's available for free on the Google Play Store. To begin, search the app by name and get it installed, or use the following link to skip straight to the download page:
When you first launch Smart Navi, you'll be greeted by a quick set-up guide. Tap "Next" on the first popup, enter your height in inches or centimeters on the following menu, then press "Start." This information will allow Smart Navi to accurately measure the length of your steps while giving you walking directions to a location.
With your basic information entered, Smart Navi will function like any other navigation app from now on. When you open the app, it gets a lock on your location using GPS, but that's the only time it uses this battery-sucking feature.
From there, just search for a location to get directions, and Smart Navi will chime in with navigation steps. Along the way, it will be using your device's internal sensors to track your progress, and because this information is more accurate than GPS, the directions are even more fine-tuned than traditional navigation apps.