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Phones

GPS on the Pre

GPS capabilities on the Pre are at the very least on par with most GPS phones.

There are 2 GPS applications on the Pre, the standard Google Maps application and a "Sprint Navigation" application.

Google Maps
Google Maps
Sprint Navigation
Sprint Navigation

It appears that the Google Maps application is a generic application (available on most phones I believe) which can pinpoint your location, provide directions from that location, and display a variety of maps and detail. Sprint Navigation, on the other hand, while the maps may have less detail (like satellite view), is supposed to operate like a stand alone GPS system, providing turn by turn directions from your location. Unfortunately, the phone needs a good GPS signal to accomplish this, and it doesn't appear to be up to the task.

The Google Maps App is very similar to Google Maps on the web with one added feature - it can use your location.

Google Maps Loading
Google Maps Loading
Google Maps location (with traffic)
Google Maps location (with traffic)

. When the application loads, if you've told the phone to ask whenever location services are requested (like I have) you get prompted to turn them on; otherwise, you can just use the maps with out GPS. It then, very quickly, identifies your location and zooms into it.


Google Maps Menu
Google Maps Menu
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Google Maps directions

From the Menu button, you get a number of choices to include display traffic (as shown above), getting directions (from your location or another location of choice) and satellite view. If you find yourself scrolling around the screen, you can also press the blue 'bullseye' to get back to your location. The only real complaint I have is regarding the directions, and again, I think this is an issue with all versions of Google Maps on all phones. Once you start moving, the application does a good job of tracking your location (although it has been a block off on occasion), but the directions don't advance with you. As you come up on a turn, if you haven't advanced through the directions list, it won't tell you what your next turn is, you have to manually do that and pay attention to where you are. It's a little tedious, but certainly acceptable.


Sprint Navigation:

Telenav Acceptance
Telenav Acceptance
Enable GPS
Enable GPS

Starting Sprint Navigation required signing into and accepting telenav service, which sprint uses for their navigation apparently(Sprint Navigation powered by Telenav). Once in, it resembled Google Maps, but a little more 'cartoony'. It initially found my location, and I was able to show traffic and also view in a '3D' mode, which really just provides more of an angled perspective.


Sprint Nav: My location with traffic
Sprint Nav: My location with traffic
Sprint Nav: My Location '3D' View
Sprint Nav: My Location '3D' View


Sprint Nav: Menu
Sprint Nav: Menu

Choosing the Menu (Map symbol w/ the plus sign) brings you to a menu to choose a number of handy items. You can choose an airport (it brings up relevant airports to your location), contact addresses, businesses or simple address searches. You can plot a course to any of these locations from your present location. Once you choose a destination, then the easy to use and view 'Navigation' screen takes over. I was very excited when I saw this!

Sprint Nav: Navigation Screen - looks great, if only the service worked
Sprint Nav: Navigation Screen - looks great, if only the service worked

For all intensive purposes, it looked like this was what I was wishing Google Maps had, turn by turn directions that didn't require too much attention if you were driving alone! I started trying it out by walking around downtown Seattle, but was never able to acquire Satellites. I chalked that up to too many tall buildings, so I waited until I was on the open freeway, with my wife driving, so I could give it a good test run. However, on the open freeway, no buildings around, I couldn't acquire satellites. I rebooted, ensured gps/location services was enabled, and made sure that Google Maps could get my location, and all seemed to be working; except Sprint Navigation couldn't find Satellites. I guess it's back to semi-manual directions with Google Maps. I did notice that one of my fellow Pre bloggers was able to get the Navigation to "work". It sounds like I'm not missing much: Navigation, Was That What I Just Dealt With?.

A disappointing result from such a promising application, but that's how it goes I guess.