Monday, April 10, 2006

Wayfinder Mobile Navigator

It is not that common to find evaluation versions of navigation software. You won't find versions of packages like CoPilot, TomTom, iGuidance, Destinator or Ostia out there. A great invitation to piracy. [To be fair, TeleNav does provide trial versions of its Java package to Motorola iDen phones and other devices].

So it is quite refreshing to see someone offering a trial of its product to the public. WayFinder as posted earlier is a Symbian Series 60 and PocketPC/Mobile Windows package of a group that spun off the Swedish-based Ericsson.

This link should take you to the Free Trial download. For United States, you need to select between your choice of providers. I used T-Mobile Internet (not the VPN type). Cingular and AT&T Wireless customers also got the choice. From the Welcome screen you will see that maps from TeleAtlas are used.

To make full use of the package you need a BlueTooth enabled GPS Receiver so that your Nokia phone can read NMEA data through a serial protocol, but even without it you can access all menus and dialogs. You can purchase a car kit that includes a BlueTooth GPS Receiver with Wayfinder Navigator for US$ 99.95.

Installation

Give away your phone number, model, preferred language and email for a SMS. I never got it but managed to download the .sis package file thru a link from another SMS. You can also try InfraRed to the phone (see below). Install to the memory card (don't choose the phone memory, it requires at least 1.5Mbytes adding some 400K for maps).

Receive by SMS

Send "a SMS with the word Wayfinder in it to +4670932017".

"You will receive two messages. One includes a link with the application. The second is a text message with information."
Notice that the SMS refers to Getwf.com so click over it to install the downloader, only after running it you will be offered the choice to actually download and then install Wayfinder. You can also download it by opening a Wap Broser and going to http://getwf.com.

No List

I didn't get the first SMS with the GPRS configuration for the Nokia model I registered with so I got a "package list missing" error message while lauching Wayfinder for the first time. To get around this I selected "Check for Update" and a download for the missing list started.

After the download completed I skipped the security risk, picked English twice, one for the launcher, another for the installer and confirmed the install. Just pressing that left button.

But it didn't warn me that it wouldn't fit in the main memory. So I ran out of space at some point. So, do remember to pick the memory from the card instead of the main memory so you won't run into the same issue (1.1Mbytes for Wayfinder itself, not counting maps).

[But if you do get stuck go back to GetWayfinder and select Check for Update, that should get you another download.]

After adding space I was able to get the second part installed to the Memory card which had enough space. Half an hour later the new icon at the top menu showed up named WayFinder. Wow.

Finally, Using it

Allow WayFinder to connect to the Internet thru GPRS and if you are provided with service, it should succeed. After that select the 5 day trial option, instead of the Activation options below.

The main menu gives you the following options: Map, New route, Favorites, Communicate.

Under Options you can create a new route, connect to the Bluetooth GPS, arrange settings (volume, sound, backlight, GPS Auto reconnect, Internet access point) and how to activate the product after the trial under Services.

Not having your current location, makes the phone guess that you were last seen in Europe so zoom into Paris or London or Oslo and get directions to the icons in the maps. You can see at least hospitals, stations, info centers, gas stations, etc.

From the top menu by hitting the right arrow you can scroll through views as Map, Guide (visual directions), Itinerary (step-by step instructions) and Destination (speed, distance, time to goal and arrival time).

You can send your currrent position thru SMS, keep a list of favorite routes and create them. A route can be created from a point in the map, from a search or by looking up at categories like airport, terminals, hotels, museums, parking, gas stations, so on. You can also select by country where US states get listed along with European countries.

Under Settings you can also set use of backlight, if you are in a car, taxi or walking as a mere pedestrian; set units (miles & feet or yards), positioning of map heading, automatic rerouting, route optimization (time, traffic info, distance) and if you want to avoid toll roads and/or motorways.

Notice that the whole vocabulary sounds pretty British and probably the main target for the product. You can also set the size of the cache for map images (2MBytes default) and which categories you want displayed (including Wifi spots).

After the route is created, you can listen to the directions by selecting one by one in the trial version. For prompts related to your current position you will need to have a GPS receiver connected to the phone.

In English, the prompts are pre-recorded messages with simply indication of which direction to turn (or go around a roundabout) in a female voice with British accent.

Remember that you are paying for it every time you get a map refreshed or while panning and zooming into it. Check this page for some idea of cost and for the product specs. You can also create and save routes online through MyWayfinder.com.


The documentation is pretty well done with a very visual User Manual that shows every step along the way, nice job.

Bottom line:

Maps, POI and directions data from TeleAtlas.
No Voice Directions prompts during trial.
Bluetooth GPS required.
Free 5-day Trial.
Painful and tedious installation process.

InfraRed

The Nokia 3660 (and other models) have an infrared communication port so you can transfer .SIS files from a PC equipped with infrared port and a phone.

SIS are packages for a Symbian OS executable. If you install the Nokia PC Suite, it will get installed and working the corresponding InfraRed driver under XP.

Just get close enough to trigger XP to recognize it and use the Wireless Link to transfer files among devices. From here you can choose at Wayfinder's website between a SMS link or InfraRed transferrable download.

No comments: