By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Verizon Wireless will become the latest U.S. carrier to integrate real-time traffic data into its cellular-based navigation service, joining AT&T and Sprint.
In April, the carrier launches version four of its VZ Navigator service, enabling consumers in 75 cities to wirelessly access traffic information and find detours around traffic congestion and accidents. Additional cities will be added in the coming year.
In addition, the new VZ Navigator adds a 3-D perspective [windshield] view, a movie and events finder, weather reports and forecasts, and gas prices at nearby gas stations, thanks to data integrator Networks In Motion. Traffic data is provided by Navteq.
The carrier expects that almost all of its Verizon Navigator-equipped phones will take advantage of the new services following an over-the-air upgrade, a spokesman said. Windows Mobile smartphones and BlackBerrys will get their upgrades later in the year.
In the initial 75 cities, a driver's route will be calculated using historical and real-time traffic information. The historical information includes whether traffic is affected by traffic lights, heavy traffic or school zones. The historical data covers more than 750,000 miles of roads in 48 states to make travel-time estimates more accurate, Verizon said.
Other new features are 3-D windshield view to display maps from angles customers would see through car windshields; a gas finder, providing customers with the location of nearby gas stations, including prices at many gas stations; and weather conditions and forecasts based on the phone's location.
Version 4 service will be available for $9.99 for unlimited monthly access or $2.99 for one-day use.
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