BlackBerry’s Dark Little GPS Secret

2FatDads totally faked out BB PearlYou _don’t_ need TeleNav! What you say? BlackBerry holding out their beloved _crackberry_ loyalists? Well yes, in the case of their GPS services they have completely undersold their own apps in order to sell you something you probably don’t even need.

I had never really used BlackBerry Maps on the my previous BB 72502fatdads rolling down the high after stopping off at Tim's for a large 2 milk! and 7130, simply because Google Maps is such a better application especially once they activated the little blue dot that used triangulation to find your location. But when I got the 8130 Pearl, I decide to give all the old apps a once over to see how RIM had improved/adapted them for the BlackBerry OS 4.3. I was delightfully surprised by just about every app and actually quite shocked at how much better BB Maps was. For a start they added GPS support for the 8830 World Edition, the 8130 Pearl and the Curve. Most of us will go to the Maps app, turn on the GPS, wait a few minutes and then after seeing where we are will turn it off again until we get lost somewhere without or TomTom’s.

This is probably our first mistake. If you leave the GPS on and then plot a course for say your local ski hill, then BB Maps will use your current GPS position and plot the rest of the course for you. So far this is still pretty much par for the course with other devices. So how is it so different? Well once you have your directions, instead of click on [Get Directions], simply click on view on map and then hit the [6] key and start driving. Your little red arrow will start moving along the map and if you are zoomed to 3 or 2 (two is a little extreme when doing any kind of decent speed) you will see your self moving along the purple course. As you pass your first step simply hit [6] again and the map will display the next marker and your location to it. Your location marker may be off screen but as you approach the next step you’ll pop into view again. If you missed the step or were a little over zealous with the [6] key, simply hit [4] top go back again. Clicking the trackball will switch between the zoom mode and pan mode. OF COURSE, You shouldn’t do any this while driving!

Most carrier will offer the TeleNav service for $10.00 on top of your data charges. Which is really quite steep for what you are getting more than what the basic Maps has to offer:

Turn by turn is pretty cool and has a lot of advantages, but if this is really what you want, you’re better off buying a TomTom for $150 and not get get bogged down with data charges. Every other feature is already covered in either the BB Maps or the FREE as in Beer Google Maps application.

So go ahead and use the BlackBerry Maps application for the few times when you really have no idea where you are going and save your pennies to eventually get a real GPS unit with a large screen, Bluetooth, and a sexy British voice like the TomTom ONE XL