Android Developer Spotlight: TeleNav
Mar 5, 2010 5:03 PM –
I recently spent a few days with PR folks and executives at TeleNav, mobile navigation provider for most cell phones and GPS devices, in their first WayPoint media event. A score of other popular tech bloggers and I quickly learned they power a host of GPS and Location-Based services that we were not aware off. Dan Cohen of Gear Diary summed it up best with his analogy of HTC and most major telecom carriers. In summary, TeleNav is the leading company behind many navigation apps; AT&T Navigator, Sprint Navigator, and Ford Sync similar to how HTC powers many Windows Mobile and Android phones.
Enter Google and Nokia with Free GPS Navigation
Traditional revenue models for GPS companies has been either subscription based or flat fee for updated maps. Things became complicated when Google stepped into the picture and offered turn-by-turn GPS navigation in the U.S. for free, soon followed by Nokia. My immediate thought was the damaging effects something like this could have on GPS companies like Garmin, TomTom and TeleNav. Upon this announcement some GPS makers stock dropped nearly 20%. But I soon learned that competition only inspired more innovation for TeleNav.
Competing with Google & Nokia
So how do you compete with a giants like Google and Nokia now that they’ve muscled in on the GPS navigation space? Better navigation algorithms, add more convenience to the existing services for consumers, and premium services. In a testament to better navigation, thus far my experience with TeleNav has been the most accurate regarding routing. Often times I notice when using Google Maps Navigation it tends to send me on a slightly longer route. On some occasions even send me to the wrong location altogether (i.e. sending me to 600 SOUTH versus 600 NORTH when the latter was verified).
A Brief Look at TeleNav.com Features
There are some features on TeleNav.com that make travels convenient whether you have their app on your mobile phone or not (however they do have support a multitude of feature phones and smart phones). For example you can plan trips from the website and have those directions sent straight to your phone, using the My TeleNav feature allows you to sync and manage contacts, for runners and bicyclists they have a Pedometer feature that allows you to track and share your routes with distance and calorie calculations.
Non-traditional GPS Products
TeleNav recently released Sipity currently only on available for iPhone. The app basically allows you to find and learn more about people at events that you may be attending. In some respects it can break the ice when going to a networking event if you could find out more about a given speaker, ping them, which could better segue speaking with them afterward. It’s an idea, like Waze, requires more awareness and user interaction to fully understand and appreciate.
What can you expect to see in the future?
We cannot spill the beans yet, but trust me… we’ll announce some cool, convenient and innovative TeleNav GPS products and services learned about at WayPoint in due time.