The need for a GPS cell phone? Picture driving an unfamiliar highway and witnessing a small red car careening off the road into a ravine. You pull off the highway and with your heart pounding you get out of your car to find the red Chevy about 80 feet below – upside down. You realize someone may be hurt badly. Fortunately you have a cell phone, as many people do. You call 911 but you don’t know where you are other than on Route 95 about an hour north of Needles in the deserts of Nevada…
Fortunately, the U. S. FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has mandated a program called E911. E(nhanced) 911 requires the location of any cell phone used to call 911 can be determined to within 50 to 100 meters. The law took effect at the start of 2005. That means cell phone manufacturers have incorporated a GPS receiver in virtually every cell phone. A side benefit of this law is now we have the combination of a cell phone and GPS which is good for two additional uses: 1) driving directions in your automobile and; 2) the ability to use a cell phone as a handheld GPS for out-of-car purposes.
The two ways to get driving directions with your GPS cell phone are by subscription and with a software package. Both methods require an additional GPS receiver module that sits on the dashboard of your car. The receiver is usually included with the service or software package. Some receivers are connected by wire to the cell phone and some are wireless.
Subscription – One way to get driving directions with a GPS cell phone is to subscribe to a GPS navigation service. Nextel offers two: Televigation’s TeleNav and Motorola’s ViaMoto.
Using the GPS and Nextel’s network, TeleNav and ViaMoto can send driving directions to a Nextel phone. If you make a wrong turn or miss a street, the service detects that you’re off the route and new route is calculated to put you back on track.
TeleNav and ViaMoto also offer location-based services. This means you can choose a category such as restaurants, hotels, or theaters. Then the service determines your location and sends your phone search results. Once you make your choice, you can get driving directions.
One drawback is in areas without Nextel coverage, the GPS navigation functions won’t work. The GPS features are dependent on a network signal.
Another negative is the cost. To use the TeleNav or ViaMoto services, you must subscribe to Nextel’s voice and data plans, plus purchase one of its cell phones. In addition to the cost of the monthly data plan, there are setup fees plus monthly service charges. TeleNav ranges from $5.99 to $9.99 per month depending on how frequently you use it, while ViaMoto costs $9.99 per month with a 3-month contract or $8.99 per month with a 12-month contract.
Software – A second way to get driving directions is to purchase a software package to use with certain cell phones. All programs and maps are on the memory card that comes with the package. This means that everything is installed locally and there is no need to pay for a monthly data service unless you wanted the option to have traffic announcements. It also means that since the maps are in the phone, you are not dependent on a GPRS connection which may occasionally cut out and cause you to miss a turn.
There are currently two software platforms: Windows SmartPhone and Symbian. Symbian is a collaboration between Nokia and Ericsson. The Windows software works on phone brands such as Orange and QTek.
Other GPS Cell Phones and Solutions
For the user that wants to take her or his GPS cell phone while out of the automobile, integrated GPS cell phones as well as some GPS add-ons are becoming available. One application is the hiker that wants both a cell phone and a GPS. Another is the person that travels a lot and is likely to need directions while navigating on foot while in a large city.
Nokia has an accessory that goes with their 5140 cell phone that makes it a GPS cell phone. It’s called an Xpress-on GPS shell (model CC-70D) and it provides many of the functions of a typical mapping handheld GPS receiver.
Also from Nokia is a GPS module, the LAM-1, that works with their 9210 and 9210i phones. The module comes with RoutePlanner and TomTom CityMaps, along with an extra external GPS antenna. It turns your phone into a navigator, gets location information and route directions. This item is for use in Europe.
Verizon has a service called getGOING. You can download applications such as AtlasBook Places. With AtlasBook Places you can get maps and directions and navigate to nearby places. An option is a web-based planning tool. Supported GPS phones are the Motorola T720 and T730, Audiovox CDM8600 and CDM9500, and Samsung’s SCH-a530 and SCH-a530s.
Another application is the Go2 Directory which lists nearby restaurants, hotels, filling stations, and just about any other business. This application works on the Kyocera 3035e, Audiovox CMD8600 and CMD9500, Verizon Z-800, LG brand VX10, VX4400, and VX4400B, and Motorola T720 and T730.
The Garmin NavTalk GSM is for Europe and South Africa. This GPS cell phone offers GPS mapping with automatic routing and voice-prompted turn-by-turn guidance. It comes with the MapSource City Select on CD-ROM. It has five routes with up to 50 points per route as well as 500 waypoints that you can assign a name and graphic symbol to. The track log can contain 4000 points.
The Thuraya Hughes 7101 is a combination satellite, GSM, and GPS phone. It has satellite coverage for Europe, India, Central Asia, the Middle East and North and Central Africa. The 7101 gives GPS distance and direction, location determination, location transmission via SMS, and storage of 25 GPS positions.
The rugged, rubberized Motorola i305 cell phone and the i530 GPS cell phone have built-in GPS functions that supports location-enhanced services such as Mobile Locator. A laptop or PDA connected to the phone can also display the phone’s GPS functions. The i530 is a clamshell handset and the i305 is a standard one-piece handset.
Nextel‘s PhoneTracker: TeleType Co. has developed a unique mobile vehicle tracking solution based on TeleType GPS software, TeleType GPS enabled maps, and GPS-enabled Nextel phones. It can be used to locate family members, security and service personnel, and function as a high-end mobile navigator for streets, air, and marine simultaneously. It can be used with Nextel’s i58sr, i88s, and i530 models.
The Benefon Esc! NT2002 Personal Navigation Phone has a GPS navigator to guide you to your destination – regardless of GSM coverage. The unit will locate other users of the Esc!, plot them on the map, and will guide you to them. It sells for 734EUR, which is about 900USD.