This is why mobile companion apps have become so popular lately. As one of the top e-bike makers, Cowboy invested big in a mobile application, trying to provide customers with all the tools they'd need when riding their bikes.
The company has also equipped its e-bikes with an integrated wireless charging pad specifically to provide mobile devices with some extra juice. And given the mobile companion app is supposed to run all the time, this is an excellent piece of equipment for Cowboy customers.
Despite this very helpful approach, Cowboy's companion app has so far struggled with an essential feature. The integrated navigation solution was disappointing, to say the least, sometimes failing to provide even basic directions to a chosen destination.
Most recently, Cowboy decided to overhaul the navigation experience, and unsurprisingly, the company picked the leader in this space. Google Maps is now in charge of getting you from where you are to where you want to be on your e-bike using a completely optimized experience.
First and foremost, Google Maps has long been a popular piece of software among Cowboy customers. Sure enough, using this navigation app on a mobile device wasn't necessarily the most convenient thing to do, especially when Cowboy's companion app was supposed to stay on the screen. Some Android devices allow users to run two apps side-by-side, but doing this on iPhone is a major pain in the neck.
As such, users just had to jump from one app to another, and we all know how frustrating this can be when riding a bike. Cowboy integrating Google Maps is, therefore, a very convenient update, addressing one of the biggest shortcomings of its mobile companion app.
Google Maps comes with a very clear purpose: to provide e-bike owners with a flawless navigation experience to a specific destination. And to do this, the application uses the existing cycling navigation engine, this time optimized for electric models.
Google Maps bundled into the Cowboy app works exactly as you'd expect it to work.
First of all, when you launch the app and search for a destination, Google Maps provides the user with the available route options. The preview screen displays the ETA to the destination, as well as essential details, such as fewer turns or the fastest route. Cowboy users can choose between the quickest route to the destination or the simplest, with the latter typically focusing on straight lines.
Thanks to the integration into the companion app, Google Maps also provides a series of extras based on the selected route.
Additionally, the app displays air quality information because this is critical information for every cyclist. Such data is already available in Google Maps, so the navigation app reads the information from the provided route, determining the AQI values in advance.
Eventually, you can start the navigation to the destination, with Google Maps showing the typical route guidance screen. You get next-turn information, as well as the travel speed, the ETA to the destination, and everything else. If you've ever used Google Maps, you should already be familiar with its UI, so the experience overall is nothing new.
The good news is that Google Maps is already a fantastic app for cyclists, so its road network also includes very detailed information on most routes for e-bikes. As such, it'll provide efficient routes that'll help preserve battery life and reach your destination faster and safer.
As it turns out, the Google Maps integration into the mobile companion app is just the beginning of a broader collaboration between the Mountain View-based search giant and Cowboy. Neither company wanted to elaborate on this, but Cowboy says more details would likely be announced later this year in the fall. It's too early to speculate on this front, but Google Maps is already a huge addition for Cowboy customers.
The most recent version of the mobile companion app already includes the Google Maps navigation component, so if you're a Cowboy customer, you only need to update the app. It's available in the app stores, so make sure you get it as soon as possible on your device. Once you update the app, the original navigation engine that Cowboy integrated is gone for good.