Let Your Cellular Phone Do the Driving
Service adds GPS navigation to a mobile
phone, but has some shortcomings.
Nobody likes a backseat
driver, but a mobile phone that gives driving directions could
come in handy, especially for business travelers and for
tourists visiting unfamiliar territory. Televigation's new
TeleNav service provides directions across the continental
United States and Hawaii. The service has great potential, but
it's too glitchy to recommend for now.
TeleNav requires a Nextel
phone with GPS and a subscription to Nextel's Total Connect data
plan (the TeleNav service adds $10 a month to the plan price).
Nextel's cellular network enables the service, so if you don't
have a signal, the GPS can't find you and can't give you
I tried out TeleNav using
Nextel's i730 phone in Los Angeles and in the San Francisco Bay
Area. There are three ways to input locations for which you want
directions: Dictate your destination address into the phone,
type it in via the keypad, or access the service via a
Web-connected computer first.
recognition method sounds convenient, but the service often
didn't understand the street names I dictated. And typing in an
address using the dial pad was even more cumbersome, not to
mention time-consuming. Accessing the service by PC in advance
requires more planning, but it's also the most straightforward
method, and it worked the best.
TeleNav has BizFinder for
locating businesses, too, but I found the yellow-page
information terribly outdated. Despite such hang-ups, once I
provided my destination address, TeleNav's mapping database was
usually good enough to get me there with turn-by-turn
instructions. The most helpful part: If I missed a turn, TeleNav
recognized that I had gone off-route and offered to reroute me
with a fresh set of directions.
service still has too many rough edges at the moment, but with
some work this phone-based navigation tool could become a real