Thursday, January 31, 2008

GPS And Google Maps On My Blackberry

So I was quite fortunate this week. After managing to break my last Blackberry Curve after about 6 months of (heavy) use, I got a warranty replacement - and was quite surprised to find it to be GPS-enabled. So somehow I got a little upgrade to the 8310 version (CNET review) for my trouble, and should thank AT&T just this once for that.

I never quite understood how cool having GPS on your phone would be. And when the phone tried to force me into paying for the built-in Telenav application, which looks exactly like a Garmin interface on your phone, I quickly declined to pay the extra cash.

Then, almost without thinking, I installed the most recent Google pack - a pleasant experience - and went about my business. The next time I loaded up some maps, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see a little blue dot showing me where I was driving, right across the San Mateo bridge. Pretty sweet.

I wanted to test this out, and I was hungry and need of something quick. After a quick search for "Quiznos" (without any other modifiers like zip code, which I was used to), I was immediately given the 10 closest Quizno's restaurants to the San Mateo bridge. Sweet! Selecting one of them, I was then given step-by-step directions to get there from where I was.

What does make me angry is the built-in telenav, and how AT&T tries to force it on users who don't know enough to use the Google version. That's why I support the OHA so strongly, and am very interested to see what happens with the ongoing FCC spectrum auction.

I'm sold on GPS. And I'll never get a new phone without it - it makes the mobile maps that much more powerful and useful. And sorry, iPhone - you're cool, but I'll take my iPod Touch and my Blackberry. More info from the good folks at Google here:

More on the spectrum auction and the OHA:

Note: I hold stock in Research in Motion (RIMM), but not Google (GOOG). Validated by ZeccoShare.

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