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 (PND).
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 and ramps.
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.
Other PND-like enhancements include a day/night mode that displays a blue sky on the screen during the day and a darker sky at night.
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.