Vodafone's latest version of its Compass GPS system allows users to find cheap petrol nearby. Will this be the feature that moves GPS in mobile phones beyond the novelty phase?
Cheap petrol is an Australian obsession. Will it be enough to lure customers to pay-per-month mobile GPS?
Yesterday Vodafone announced an upgrade to its -- so far -- unique to Australia Compass satellite navigation service. The latest upgrade now allows users access to current petrol prices along their route, as well as the cost of parking at their destination. Unlike traditional GPS services, Compass requires the payment of a fee. That's because Compass -- like Nokia's N95 -- downloads mapping data significant to the current journey, rather than using pre-loaded maps, such those found in portable navigators from TomTom, Mio, Navman and Garmin, and factory installed in-car units. Vodafone claims that by doing it this way, users will benefit immediately from any changes that Yapp, its mapping provider, makes -- rather than waiting for Sensis's yearly map updates. Read our GPS Buying Guide for more information on how satellite navigation works.
In conjunction Vodafone has also launched a AU$149 GPS Navigation Pack, containing a Motorola Bluetooth GPS receiver and a number of attachments, including a belt clip and an attachment for car sun visors. This allows Compass to be used on a range of Blackberrys and Symbian-based Nokias -- like the Nokia N73, N80, N70, 6680, 6120 Classic and E65, and BlackBerry Pearl 8100 and Curve 8300. Phones from those two makers with a built-in GPS receiver -- the Nokia N95 and 6110 Navigator, Blackberry Pearl 8800 and Curve 8310 -- are still supported.
The Navigation Pack is available now and includes three months of free access to Compass. From thereon, access is priced at either AU$2.50 per day, AU$8 a month or AU$79 a year.