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TeleNav Comparison to In-Car GPS Systems


In the TeleNav demo they compare themselves to traditional In Car GPS systems. I found their comparison to be very week and even misleading. For purposes of this discussion let’s compare it to the Garmin Quest. The first comparison is that the TeleNav system is portability. TeleNav is certainly portable since it is physically a cellphone. However at only 5.6 ounces I’d say the Garmin Quest is pretty darn portable as well. Next is cost.

TeleNav costs $9.99 per month. The Garmin Quest is currently $369.99. So in less than three years the Quest will pay for itself, or use it for 18 months and sell it for $175 and upgrade to something newer.

TeleNav’s map updates are free since they are dynamically sent to the cellphone. They say in car GPS systems will cost about $200 to update. Many people will probably never update their maps and if they do it normally doesn’t cost nearly that much.

Finally they compare “destination input”. TelNav offers voice in by calling a phone number and following voice prompts. Have you ever had a telephone voice recognition system make a mistake? I certainly have. You can also key in data from your cellular phone which as a frequent text messaging user I know how difficult that is! And finally they offer typing in destinations on the web. That is a strong point although with many vehicle navigation GPS systems you can enter destinations on your computer and then transfer them to the GPS unit via a SD card or similar.

How about a few other comparisons. Screen size. My cellphone has a nice one inch screen while most automotive GPS systems are several inches.

Sound quality

. My cellphone’s speaker would never be loud enough to be heard clearly over the car stereo (even at a reasonable level) while driving down the interstate. And I’ve yet to figure out what happens to your navigation when you drive out of cellular range with TeleNav?

Don’t get me wrong, cell phone based GPS navigation is very cool. However it certainly has many limitations over traditional vehicle GPS systems.

4 Responses

  1. Nice comparison but you missed one MAJOR thing! The future of navigation is traffic avoidance which is the number one feature of Telenav.

    Ricky - January 31st, 2008
  2. TeleNav does have traffic, but so do in-car GPS systems. You can even get devices like that from NAVIGON for under $200 and which include lifetime traffic updates.

    Something else to keep in mind is that this article was written in September of 2005. Much has changed since then and I’m actually going to have a new, full review of TeleNav out shortly. Stay tuned!

    Tim - January 31st, 2008
  3. I have tested many Windows Mobile programs like Garmin, Tom Tom, and Mapquest Navigator. They advertise traffic avoidance like the Navigon but fail miserably. Telenav calculates the average highway speeds of your route and is very reliable. I am always at my destination within 5-10 minutes of my original ETA. At the moment the only comparable product to Telenav seems to be the Dash in car navigation. It is hard to know because most reviews do not go into detail about the traffic avoidance of GPS software or devices.
    P.S. If you do test Telenav, do it with a 3G or better connection. If not you will notice it is slow to reroute and your review may be misleading

    Ricky - February 3rd, 2008
  4. Ricky – Garmin, TomTom, and other GPS manufacturers use INRIX as their data provider for traffic services which is why they tend to report the same traffic issues. But TeleNav also uses INRIX as their traffic data provider. :)

    I don’t see any recommendations from TeleNav that you be on the 3G network for the best experience. Therefore if the data flow is slower outside of the 3G network to an unacceptable level, it would be misleading if I didn’t report it.

    Tim - February 3rd, 2008

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