Verizon Upgrades Navigation Service
By Joseph Palenchar On Feb 7 2011 - 6:01am
BEDMINSTER, N.J. —
Verizon Wireless is upgrading
its cloud-based navigation service for cellphones to offer
more of the functions of a portable navigation device
The upgraded subscription-based service, called VZ
Navigator VX service, is available on select Android
smartphones. They include select Droid smartphones,
such as Motorola’s Droid X and HTC’s Droid Incredible,
as well as the Samsung Fascinate.
Upgraded features include navigation views presenting
a through-the-windshield view of a map rather than an
aerial view. In addition, the through-the-windshield view
displays 3D views of buildings
and landmarks flanking
a street or highway and
realistic images of street
and highway signs at intersections
Android phones also
come with free cloud-based
Google Maps Navigation
service, which offered only
a 2D map view until the
December availability of
Google Maps 5.0, which
provides 3D views of buildings
on phones with the Android
2.0 or higher OS.
Verizon’s new capabilities
are available at launch
only in six cities: Chicago,
Detroit, Los Angeles, New
York, Washington D.C., and
Kansas City, Mo. More cities will be added in 2011.
The Verizon service also offers satellite maps, as does
the free Google Maps Navigation service.
Consumers can download VZ Navigator VX from the
Android Market and pay $9.99 a month for unlimited use,
$4.99 for a weekly use, or $2.99 for 24-hour use.
One advantage to a cloud-based service, the carrier
said, is that consumers don’t have to manually download
updates to maps and points of interest databases. The
monthly charge includes continuous updates to maps
and points of interest.
One disadvantage that VZ Navigator VX doesn’t address
is the ability to automatically reroute a user who
turns off a predetermined course into an area where cellular
signal is lacking or blocked. The service, however,
will continue to guide drivers who lose signal coverage
but remain on the recommended route.
Off-line route recalculation also wasn’t available in
Google Maps until the 5.0 update, but that capability requires
a phone with the Android 2.0 OS or higher.