Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Rental Cars, LBS and Cellphones

Sometime last week I received an email from the Sprint Ambassador program soliciting feedback for the Phase 2 timeframe. I have to say that I have really dug the program and it has forced me to evaluate things I wouldn't normally look at in the course of my information ferreting process. After giving my feedback I fired up my phone and did some deck cruising to see some of the things they have that I may not normally look at. Combing through the record crates as it were.

For some reason, that is mostly historical, I usually rent cars from Budget. The primary reason I think is that I really like the guy who runs the Budget franchise at Union Station in Los Angeles and he always takes care of me when I am in LA. Beyond that I really am on the fence about Budget, especially the outfit at the airport in Seattle. those people are a case study in miserable customer service.

So yesterday I headed up to San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a busy day of meetings. While booking a car late at night on Monday, budget was sold out at SJC, which happens more than occasionally. Big sigh. I went over to Hertz and found a bunch of cars and went ahead and booked.

The next morning while picking up the car, I was asked if I need satellite radio or GPS or anything special which I declined but I realized that I had a little bit of all those things in my Sprint phone, which is an LG Fusic.

I have to admit that the thought of GPS navigation on my cell phone for the car seemed really ridiculous. I recalled from my previous digging around that there was an application I had subscribed to called TeleNav Navigator. I fired up the application and set it up for directions to San Francisco. I know how to get to San Francisco but I wanted to see how well it works.

As I exited the Hertz parking lot the phone started barking out directions to the city. Very cool. The speaker could be a bit louder but the experience was as good as what I have seen pre-installed in cars with the exception of the sound volume. While flying up the 280 I pulled out the phone and was blown away by the really cool 3D representation of my car cruising up the coast route.

I spent the better part of the day making the application map my directions and all in all it was really good and surprisingly kind to the battery. At $10 a month for an application like this I have to wonder what sort of threat this poses to the guys charging $2000 to load this stuff directly into cars. If I can do a bluetooth connection to a car speaker system I can get the sound piece worked out and I am good to go. Just a thought. I will come back to some other implications of this shortly as it relates to the mobile relevance of applications or not in a post I am working on assuming I actually finish it.


Anonymous said...

Telenav sucks, crashes all the time, wrong routes, keeps "recacluating"... when just driving on the road. Dont like it at all

Derrick Oien said...

I didn't get any crashes until late that night when the battery had just about died. When I tried to enter SJC in the airport finder the phone did in fact crash and hard booted which I didn't think was too common on a J2ME application.