By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Cellular carrier Sprint Nextel plans this month to upgrade its phone-based navigation service by adding automatic traffic updates and providing alternative routes around congested traffic.
Sprint TeleNav Traffic service, hosted by TeleNav, "is the first intelligent rerouting system for traffic on mobile phones," a TeleNav spokeswoman claimed. Other cellphone-based navigation services provide traffic data for an entire metro area, but they neither customize the traffic data for a driver's specific route nor automatically calculate a new route to get around traffic, she said. The TeleNav Traffic service also provides drivers with an estimated time of arrival based on traffic conditions.
Consumers can opt to have the service automatically calculate a route around traffic jams, or users can opt to press one button to recalculate the route after getting a voice and onscreen traffic alert from TeleNav's servers.
The traffic service is integrated into an upgraded TeleNav-hosted TeleNav GPS Navigator service, which delivers voice-based turn-by-turn driving instructions through a handset's speakerphone and 3D maps with visual driving prompts on a phone's display. The phones send their GPS location and destination to TeleNav's servers, which calculate a route and downloads driving instructions to the phone.
The traffic service is available today as part of an upgraded Java-based TeleNav GPS Navigator application that can be downloaded over the air onto three GPS-equipped phones: Sanyo Katana, Motorola RAZR and Motorola KRZR. The application will be available for downloading to other GPS-equipped phones after testing later in the year.
GPS Navigator service without traffic updates is available at $9.99/month for unlimited use from Sprint. The traffic service is available for free until June 30, when it will cost $3.99/month.
TeleNav's application is being demonstrated on Sprint phones at the Qualcomm, TeleAtlas and Navteq booths.
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