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An Engadget adventure with TeleNav's G1 GPS software: hands-on, impressions, and video


After learning that TeleNav would be releasing dedicated turn-by-turn GPS navigation for one of our favorite devices -- the G1 -- we got more than a little excited. Thankfully, we've had a chance to take the software for a spin before its February 24th release date, and these are our findings.

  • The software is really snappy, snappier than a lot of dedicated GPS units we've used.
  • Finding satellites can be a major pain sometimes, and the signal can drop while you're driving (see video), which could be a major headache if you're on a trip and you really don't know where you're going.
  • The app doesn't seem to eat up much space (it occupies 4MB on the device), so it appears to be pulling map data OTA. That's a good thing if you're worried about filling up your G1, but bad if you need info quickly or you're not in a data-gettin' spot.
  • We experienced a crash while it was fetching satellites. The software is still being tweaked from what TeleNav tells us, so we're going to assume that won't be an issue once it's on the market.
  • The traffic, restaurant, and gas station services are top notch and pretty speedy (once it figures out where you are). Since a lot of GPS units aren't pulling live data on surrounding businesses or traffic / weather info, this is a nice touch.
  • The speaker volume on the G1 is probably a bit quiet if you're cranking on a highway -- that could be an issue if you're really relying on what Stephen King calls "the GPS voice."
  • As expected, it's a power hog, so plan on having an adapter in the car if you're going to get any use out of this.

Gallery: TeleNav G1 GPS hands-on | 21 Photos

Overall, it's a mostly passable alternative to a traditional GPS, save for the fact that the G1's GPS chip remains somewhat unreliable (as we noted in our initial review). If that's something that can be helped by a software tweak, wonderful, but our gut feeling is that we're going to have to wait for the G2 for those improvements. Still, even with those drawbacks (which don't rear their head too often), if you're a G1 owner and you don't mind taking that monthly $9.99 hit (a fee which we think is a bit too steep), this is great alternative to lugging a separate GPS unit around.

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