The most elaborate GPS software for cell phones is TeleNav, and it's also the longest running. I remember testing its turn-by-turn navigation with a Nextel phone back in the summer of 2004, the GPS-phone equivalent of the dawn of time. Today TeleNav introduces version 5.2, starting with Sprint customers first. It may sound like an incremental update, but it's really a whole new deal, with location sharing, business ratings and other fun stuff, plus a new user interface courtesy of frog design.

The main attraction is that you can now shoot your location to people who can then navigate to you if they have TeleNav. If they don't have TeleNav, they still get a text message with your position, plus a link to a map and "static directions". (Some carriers—ahem, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile—do not allow links in text messages, so TeleNav is coming up with a workaround for that.)


The other new feature is a directory of user-reviewed businesses, sorting local restaurants from highest-rated to lowest. Of course, you can give a rating of a restaurant yourself, directly from the phone. You can't write a full review from your phone just yet, but that may be an option for the highly opinionated very soon.

A combination of the two of these new features is an improved Fuel Finder: When you discover a place with the lowest gas prices, you can send it to your friends and family so they won't get totally screwed at the pump.

The new version is immediately available for a handful of Sprint handsets (LG 550 Fusic, Motorola KRZR K1m, Motorola RAZR V3m, Motorola SLVR L7c, Samsung M500, Samsung M610, Sanyo M1, Sanyo 6600 Katana, Sanyo 8400) and will cost $9.99 per month.

From the press release:

...Subscribers can now send their current location to any other mobile phone that can receive text messages, creating a quick and easy way to meet with friends or co-workers while on the go. Customers can also share addresses of favorite businesses, including restaurants, hotels or movie theaters. With TeleNav's Fuel Finder feature, users can even send information on local gas stations with the cheapest prices for that day. Other new features include reviews and ratings for nearby businesses and the ability to rate restaurants directly from a mobile phone.

Location sharing—Now users have the ability to send their current location or the location of a nearby business to one friend or many friends all at once. This information can be sent from a mobile phone or from the "My TeleNav" account on TeleNav GPS Navigator users can quickly navigate to locations they receive using the service's turn-by-turn directions. Mobile users not subscribing to TeleNav GPS Navigator will receive a link to view a map and static directions on their phone.

Business reviews and ratings—Before they head to a restaurant or make a reservation at a hotel, users can now see how it was rated and reviewed by other people. Users can sort by highest to lowest rating to help them make a decision or view all of the search results on a map. TeleNav GPS Navigator also allows customers to rate restaurants themselves—directly from a mobile phone.

Fuel Finder—TeleNav GPS Navigator includes updated gas prices for local gas stations, and provides driving directions to the station with the lowest gas prices. Now, with just one click, friends and colleagues can share locations of these stations with each other as well.


Other Current TeleNav features include:

• Voice and on-screen turn-by-turn driving directions
• "My TeleNav" website access
• Biz Finder (local search)
• Real-time traffic alerts and one-click rerouting
• Full-color 3D moving maps
• Spot Marker
• Pedestrian Mode


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