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GPS-based navigation has found its way to more cellphones.
More cellular-based navigation services have turned up to deliver turn-by-turn driving instructions to GPS-equipped cellphones and to cellphones that communicate via Bluetooth to portable, pocket-size GPS receivers.
The solutions featuring separate GPS receivers are intended for use in GSM networks. The solutions deliver more accurate position readings than GSM carriers' TDOA (time difference of arrival) location technology. TDOA is a cell-tower triangulation method accurate from 300 feet to 900 feet. In contrast, separate GPS receivers deliver accuracies from 2 meters to 5 meters, as do CDMA and iDEN phones with built-in assisted-GPS technology
In the latest developments:
Gate5 and Route 66 announced separate navigation services that marry Bluetooth cellphones with Bluetooth-equipped handheld GPS receivers.
Telmap announced that its navigator service will be available for a Nokia phone for the first time, joining a handful of other phones in the United States.
Carrier Nextel unveiled new navigation services for select GPS-equipped cellphones.
And in a departure from other companies' business models, TomTom launched a service that delivers real-time traffic and weather data to TomTom's portable navigation devices via Bluetooth-equipped cellular phones. The navigation devices provide turn-by-turn driving instructions and use the cellular-supplied traffic information to reroute a driver around traffic congestion.
The developments follow last year's launch of separate cellphone-based navigation services by Motorola and by Telenavigation. They're designed for select GPS-equipped Nextel phones. And for a Nokia GSM phone, a third party launched a navigation service. All of the services use GPS-equipped phones and deliver turn-by-turn driving instructions.
For its Java- and GPS-equipped cellphones, Nextel has begun using MapQuest's digital maps and directions for the first time to provide two location-based services. One application, called MapQuest Find Me, is available as an over-the-air Java download. It lets subscribers share their whereabouts with select friends and relatives authorized to locate the subscriber on a map appearing on their PC. Location information is transmitted from every two seconds to every 20 minutes.
Find Me also helps users pinpoint their location on their phone, find nearby destinations such as street addresses or restaurants, and download maps and text directions. The service doesn't yet offer voice prompts but will in the next generation, said a spokesman for MapQuest parent AOL.
Find Me also lets subscribers use a PC to view their location history anywhere in the Nextel network, which includes 297 of the top 300 U.S. markets when affiliated networks are included.
Find Me is available on compatible Java-equipped handsets at $3.99/month for subscribers with existing data service plans or $5.99 as a standalone service.
London-based Telmap, which recently opened a Chicago office, announced that abut 10 GPS-equipped cellphones have the resources to support its Polaris navigation software and subscription service.
Last year in the United States, the software was capable of running on the Sony Ericsson P910 Symbian-OS PDA phone and on PocketPC-based PDA phones. Recently, Motorola's i860 came to market, and in the fall the GPS-equipped Nokia CDMA 1x 6155 will become the first U.S. Nokia phone capable of using Telmap software and service. The midtier clamshell 6155, due in the fourth quarter with 1-megapixel camera, will download Polaris as a Java or BREW application.
Telmap's subscription price is $10 to $12 per month.
Polaris uses voice and graphic prompts to provide GPS-assisted real-time turn-by-turn driving and walking instructions through voice and graphic prompts. The software can be downloaded to the phone over the air, via wireless email or via CD or memory card.
Like other cellular navigation services, Telmap's service downloads instructions to a handset to minimize connect time and eliminate missed turns if a signal is lost. Also like others, it downloads common mistakes that people can make if they drive off course and automatically provides new instructions without reconnecting to the company's server. Unlike other services, however, Telmap contends its service uploads more potential route errors than other services, reducing the likelihood that the phone must reconnect to the server for new directions, executive VP Ronen Soffer told TWICE.
Telmap's software runs on Java- and BREW-equipped phones as well as on smartphones and PDA phones based on the Linux, Microsoft, Palm and Symbian operating systems.
Like Telmap, Gate5 of Redwood Shores, Calif., is targeting users of GPS-equipped cellphones. The company teamed up with Socket Communications to offer a GPS-based navigation service for users of select smartphones, PDA phones and standard PDAs.
Gate5's smart2go application, plus included Tele Atlas map database, runs locally on the handheld device, which gets its position information via Bluetooth from a supplied battery-operated GPS receiver made by Socket. The receiver's rechargeable battery lasts for nine hours of continuous use.
The handheld device displays a user's location on a map and uses graphics, text and voice prompts to deliver turn-by-turn driving and walking instructions to a destination.
Gate5's application is loaded directly onto a smartphone or PDA; maps for the user's planned trip are transferred to the device's memory card from a PC. Unlike most navigation systems installed in a vehicle, the Gate5 solution lets users plan a trip on their home PC and then transfer all the map data needed to make the trip, president Michael Fisher said.
The application runs on PocketPC-based PDAs and PDA phones, smartphones built on Microsoft's smartphone OS, the Treo 650 PDA phone, smartphones based on the Symbian 60 and 80 OSs and Nokia's Communicator, said president Michael Fisher. PDAs and PDA phones provide 3D views of a driver's real-time position.
The smart2go package will retail for a suggested $299. The price includes Bluetooth GPS receiver, which acquires its position in one to three minutes. The price also includes cigarette-lighter charger, maps on CD-ROM, a desktop PC application to select routes, a card reader, and an in-car cradle for a PDA or smartphone. Socket will market it direct to retailers, and Gate5 will market it to carriers. The bundle will be in Frys, Mobile Planet and online retailers on April 30.
Like other services, smart2go automatically recalculates a route if a driver takes a wrong turn. It calculates fastest and shortest routes and pedestrian routes to a destination, which can be selected by address or category.
A similar solution will be available to retailers in the second quarter from Route 66 Geographic Information Systems of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The company is importing its $299 solution from Europe and plans to sell through carriers and hardware manufacturers.
Route 66's bundle consists of a handheld GPS receiver and a memory card preloaded with Route 66's software and Navteq-provided maps, which run locally on select smartphones. The software and maps are downloaded from the memory card to Windows-based PDA phones and smartphones and to Symbian series 60 and 80 smartphones. Route calculations are done by the phone, and turn-by-turn instructions are delivered in real time on screen and by voice.
Although the phone itself calculates the best route, users can opt to connect via GSM/GPRS to a Route 66 server to download free traffic information. Consumers must pay a carrier's airtime charges, however.
The new navigation solutions join wireless navigation services launched last year by at least three companies, including Motorola and Telenavigation.
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