BELLEVUE, WASH. — T-Mobile’s
launch of a full-touchscreen 3G smartphone
that doubles as a portable navigation
device (PND) and costs only $69.99
after $50 rebate will bring the convergence
of cellphones and PNDs to a new level.
Sure, the price requires a minimum
$39.99/month voice plan and minimum
$9.99/month data plan and a two-year
service commitment is also required.
But the Symbian OS-based Nokia
5230 Nuron, due in the coming weeks in
T-Mobile stores and select retailers, features
3.2-inch display is different.
Like a traditional PND, the Nuron incorporates
onboard maps, points-of-interest
(POI) data and routing algorithm. But
the data resides on the device rather than
on a carrier’s servers, and the Nuron and
multiple advantages over carrier’s subscription-
based navigation services, such
as not having to wait for maps and route
information to download over the cellular
network. Phones can be used for navigation
even when a cellular signal is lost, and
users don’t have to pay a monthly fee.
With the planned T-Mobile launch,
PND phone options get more affordable.
Unlike Nokia’s unlocked PND phones,
for example, the Nuron’s price benefits
from a carrier subsidy. Likewise, AT&T
subsidizes the price of the Garmin-Asus
PND phone, which is priced at $99 after
$100 rebate and requires $30/month
data plan. The iPhone, priced from $99
to $299 with required $30/month data
plan, is available with downloadable
third-party navigation apps that cost an
additional $39 to $99. Those apps feature
onboard maps, routing algorithm,
POIs and, in some cases, traffic reports.
Verizon’s Motorola Droid, available
at $199 with required $30/month data
plan, and the $179 Google Nexus One at
T-Mobile, also with required data plan,
come with navigation app called Google Maps Navigation, a hybrid navigation
technology that downloads a route’s
maps and driving directions on demand
from the cloud for temporary local storage.
Unlike carrier-based navigation services,
the app continues to provide route
guidance even if the cellular signal is lost.
The navigation service is included in the
price of a subscriber’s data plan.
For its part, Nokia began offering its
fi rst PND phone in the U.S. late last year
as an unlocked model without carrier subsidy.
Earlier this year, Nokia expanded its
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unlocked PND phone selection, but the
Nuron is the fi rst Nokia smartphone available
through a U.S. carrier with preloaded
Nokia Ovi Maps navigation application.
The Nuron comes preloaded with
maps for the U.S., Canada and Mexico
and lets users access maps of more than
180 countries when traveling at www.
nokiausa.com/maps. Like Nokia’s unlocked
PND phones, the Nuron features
pedestrian and driving route guidance,
automatic rerouting and lane assistance.
An embedded database that includes
points of interest (POI), speed-limit
warnings and speed-camera locations
can be updated via over-the-air downloads.
Free online services include realtime
traffi c updates, event and movie listings,
and weather forecasts. The phone
also features IM, email access and full
Nuron’s maps and navigation data are
provided by digital map maker Navteq,
acquired by Nokia in 2007.
The Nuron is also the first Nokia
phone from a U.S. carrier to come preloaded
with an app to access Nokia’s
Ovi store. Carrier-offered Nokia phones
from AT&T, in contrast, require users to
download an Ovi Store app from http://
store.ovi.com before downloading store
content, Nokia told TWICE. The cost
of Ovi Store content can be added to the
user’s phone bill or to a credit card.