Pay-to-use iPhone app hits all wrong notes

The iPhone is already a powerful navigation tool

With the advent of iPhone OS 3.0 and its support for paying for applications by monthly subscription, we've already seen the first pay-as-you-go app hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Developer Networks In Motion's (NIM) Gokivo sat-nav application debuted this week at 99 cents (60 pence) a pop for the basic version, with the option to add more functions, including turn-by-turn directions, by paying another $9.99 (£6) every month.

Confusing options

While that might not sound like the most appealing deal ever offered, a problem arose when NIM mistakenly included the option to also pay by the minute to use the higher functions, confusing early adopters about how to proceed.

The company explained: "Due to an error in the build that was initially posted in the iPhone app store some users were told they would have to pay 99 cents a minute for turn-by-turn navigation.

"Yikes!! Clearly a mistake on our part and one we quickly corrected as soon as we noticed."

Free iTunes music

Nevertheless, the apology evidently wasn't enough to satisfy some customers who may have felt a little like guinea pigs, particularly when they paid for the Gokivo application believing they would get all the features.

In response, NIM went even further, saying it will give "a free song from the iTunes store to any iPhone users that downloaded the Gokivo application from the store that were confused by the In App purchasing system."

While the episode has become something of an unholy mess for NIM, it also bodes ill for other iPhone developers looking to squeeze monthly subscriptions from their customers.

Via theAppleBlog

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.