Torrance, Calif. — Pharos, the supplier of navigation services and portable navigation devices (PNDs), launched a pair of second-generation PDA-phones that double as Internet-connected PNDs.
The new GSM world phones, the Traveler 127 and 117, are the company’s first to offer 3G cellular speeds, assisted GPS, and Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system. The previous model, launched January 2007, featured Windows Mobile 5.0.
Unlike other cellular phones that offer carrier-based navigation services, the Pharos phones use maps and route-calculation software that can reside in the phones or on Pharos’s server. As a result, users aren’t dependent on getting a good cellular connection to navigate to their destinationif they choose to use maps and software residing in the phone. Alternatively, users can choose to conserve storage space on the phones by wirelessly accessing maps residing on Pharos’s servers, which will also perform routing calculations.
As Internet-connected PNDs, both devices and their predecessor receive free real-time traffic updates and updated points-of-interest (POI) data. The new models add free Follow Me service, making it possible for people to view the GPS location of Pharos users through their own Windows Mobile devices on through an Internet-connected PC.
The Traveler 127 features 2.5-inch touch screen and hard QWERTY keyboard, and the 117 features a 2.8-inch touchscreen and no QWERTY keyboard. Both retail for a suggested $529.95 and will be available as unlocked phones on December 1 from major online retailers, including Amazon.com, Dell.com, Ex-pansys.com, and Newegg.com, the company said.
Like their predecessor, both models feature quad-band GSM/EDGE cellular-data technology and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, but the new models add tri-band high-speed packet access (HSPA) cellular-data technology for use in U.S. and international markets. HSPA downloads data at up to 7.2Mbps peaks and uploads data at up to 2Mbps peaks in networks supporting those speeds. The addition of network-independent assisted GPS will accelerate the time it takes for the devices to calculate their location when turned on.
For the first few months, Pharos will preload the phones with a 2GB MicroSD card containing maps of the U.S. and Canada. After that period, card-based maps will be $99.95. Consumers also have the option of downloading maps over the air from Pharos. When traveling, consumers will be able to rent a corridor map for their specific route, a regional map, or the map of a foreign country for a day, week, month, or year. Users would download the maps to their device or use server-based maps if their device’s memory is filled. In either case, access to the maps would expire after the paid-for period expires. Prices are $1.99 for one day of access, $4.99 for a week, $6.99 for a month or $49.99 for a year.
Other features of both phones include 4.8-ounce weight, talktime up to four hours, 200 standby hours, Bluetooth v2.0+EDR, replaceable rechargeable battery, 2-megapixel camera/camcorder and a 0.3-megapixel front camera for video conferences.