Exclusive review: TeleNav GPS Navigation Service for T-Mobile G1 Android phone

February 12, 2009
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T-Mobile G1 owners will soon be able to use the feature-rich TeleNav GPS Navigator.  TeleNav made the official announcement this morning that their award winning software will be released on February 24th via their website, and will be available in the Android Marketplace later this year.  Android Community was given the opportunity to test out the program in advance of its release.

While the G1 comes preloaded with Google Maps, that app certainly falls short if you're looking for the full PND experience on your phone.  Street View and directions are useful, but they're no substitute for spoken instructions and dynamically-tracking maps.

The GPS Navigator displays directions in full color 2D and 3D maps with voice and on-screen turn-by turn directions in both landscape and portrait orientations.  I decided to literally take the program on a test-drive.  The database has a large, easy to search listing of businesses, restaurants, gas stations (which you can sort by price), shopping, entertainment, lodging, hospitals, services, etc.  You can do your search by entering a specific address, by voice or by text.  I found the voice recognition to be a bit buggy, so I opted to use the text entry method.

I decided to do a search for local restaurants.  It immediately brought up a list of nearby restaurants, indicating their distance from my current position and rating.  Once I chose one, I had the option to call the restaurant, rate it, drive to it, map it or save it to favorites.  I chose to drive to it and within a matter of seconds I had on screen directions to get me where I was going.  I found the GPS to be accurate to within about thirty to forty feet.  At one point, I purposefully made a wrong turn, and the program quickly recalculated my route for me.

One of my favorite aspects is the ability to go into the "My Stuff" file and create commute alerts.  You can enter specific routes, indicate the days and times during which you travel them and it will send you a traffic alert via email to warn you of congestion.  If you are already in route, and a traffic situation occurs, you will receive both a verbal and on-screen notification, with an option to find another route.

TeleNav offers current weather conditions and a five-day forecast for your present location, or any other location that you choose.  Another nice feature is the ability to sync your phone with your online account at www.telenav.com.  There you can add contacts, addresses and even spots to share with friends.  You can also pre-plan your trip online and then send it to your phone, bypassing the on-device text or voice entry altogether.  There are additional plug-ins available for download, including a TeleNav button with which you can highlight an address on the web, click the button and have it send that address to your phone.

Overall, I found the program to be very responsive, accurate and useful.  It is one that I can see myself using frequently, being a commuter in a large city, as well as a frequent traveler.  It can provide users with traffic information, maps, where to dine and lodge, movies, weather reports, and more all in one package with a very friendly user interface.

TeleNav is available for a free 30-day trial at http://www.telenav.com/gps-navigator/t-mobile-g1-phone.  After the trial period is over, you can continue the service for a subscription fee of $9.99 per month.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36V_e0U3x-A[/youtube]


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