Mapping Mania at CTIA
Why splurge for a dedicated GPS mapping
system when you can get the driving guidance you need in
your cell phone?
NEW ORLEANS -- Could GPS
mapping be the killer app for data-enabled cell phones? Judging
from a proliferation of products and services at the CTIA
Wireless 2005 show here, a lot of people seem to think so.
The contenders in the
burgeoning cell phone (and connected PDA) market for mapping,
directions, and other location-based services range from mighty
America Online, whose Mapquest subsidiary introduced both
location and traffic information services, to smaller and less
familiar companies such as Televigation and ALK Technologies.
Maps and directions are,
of course, nothing new for Mapquest: Its previously launched
Mapquest Mobile service lets you get Mapquest maps on your cell
phone for about $4 a month.
At the CTIA Wireless 2005
show, however, Mapquest announced its first service for a
GPS-enabled phone (right now, only certain Nextel phones can
play). Called Mapquest Find Me, it will identify the phone's
location on a map, allow you to share that information with
others, and let you search for businesses (such as restaurants
or hotels) based on proximity. You can store locations for
future use, and get turn-by-turn voice directions from your
current location to a stored location or nearby business.
Mapquest Find Me costs $4
a month if you already have a data plan with Nextel, or $6 if
Mapquest's other new
service, Mapquest Traffic, is aimed at commuters who can benefit
from real-time traffic information. The $3-a-month service
provides both text about potential traffic problems in some 90
major urban areas, and maps showing their location.