AT&T Nokia E71x: AT&T Navigator is your pocketable GPS assistant
TeleNav has very good software/services products with their TeleNav GPS Navigator lineup and I have used it on Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Android (rocks on the G1), and their Shotgun products in the past. It has saved me numerous times on business trips and I am a big fan of their products. The AT&T Navigator software on the Nokia E71x was one reason I was excited to try out the device since I have not seen their software yet on a Symbian S60 device. After a couple days of testing, I have to applaud them for yet another great product that should appeal to buyers of the Nokia E71x.
Looking through the TeleNav list of supported devices I see there was a Java version in the past for the Nokia E62 and 6682. I never used it back then so cannot say how much different this new E71x-optimized product is. Since I have used it on multiple new mobile operating systems, I can say that the E71x product is as good as all the rest with just about all the same functionality and familiar layout, as you can see in my video below.
After you launch AT&T Navigator you need to login to your account and view the safety warning. You can also go through the tour, which is very helpful to do the first time you try out the software. The E71x actually comes with free 30-day trial so you can test it to your heart’s content with no obligation. After this, you can use AT&T Navigator for $9.99/month. The E71x is not in the TeleNav purchase database yet, but there may be other purchase options such as discounted one or two year plans. The great thing is that you can just buy the service for specific months you travel or need it so it can actually be a very low cost GPS voice navigation solution. Plus, you get the very latest maps and data so you don’t have to upgrade every year for $100. The one caveat is that you need to have a cellular signal to use the service. You can always use the free Nokia Maps client and load up static maps on your E71x for travel when you know you will not have a wireless signal.
The Home screen on AT&T Navigator includes four options; Drive To, Search, Maps & Traffic, and Tools & Extras. You can move the center navigation button right or press in (action) on the center to select one of the options.
After selecting Drive To a display appears that gives you several options for destination choices, including My Favorites, Recent Places, Address, Intersection, City, Business, and Airports. I LOVE the My Favorites option because this is where you can send destination addresses to the E71x from your web browser. I use this often to send a month’s worth of soccer game locations to TeleNav and then I can quickly just pick the destination from a predefined list. The Recent Places option also shows you a list with a search box up top to filter your places even faster.
When you choose any of the other remaining destination options a display pops up with just two choices; Type It or Speak It. When you choose Speak It another screen pops up and gives you verbal instruction. You simply press and hold the send/green button and speak the destination. If it gives you multiple options then a small box appears at the bottom so you can just type the destination if you don’t want to try again. I found the voice recognition to be quite accurate when you hold the phone up like you are talking on it.
If you select Type It then there will be fields for enter all the necessary data to define your destination. The software will also smart filter as you type so if you are looking for a city like Seattle as you type S-E-A you should see the list of cities filter down quickly to the one you want to help speed up text entry. When you want to enter a business then you can also filter down the search through categories. There are something over 10 million Points of Interest (POI) in the TeleNav database so your destination should be somewhere in the database.
So after entering a destination you are taken to the navigation display that shows you a large yellow arrow on the bottom left for the next turn with the name of the next street and distance to that turn. On the right you will see a box flash between total distance to travel and ETA. I love having an ETA and have found TeleNav’s software to ALWAYS get me to my destinations within one minute of the ETA time. This time may adjust slightly as you travel based on your actual speed and traffic that might appear.
Your route is clearly defined with blue lines and arrows. The street you are on and going to turn on appear with name labels. You can choose the View menu with the left soft key to select Turn Icons Only, 2D map, 3D map, Route Summary, Map Summary, Traffic Summary, and Search Along.
The Turn Icons Only option is great for those times when you don’t need to see the map and just want to see very large turn icons and prompts to go with the voices on the display.
The Route Summary view shows you the distance on each leg, icon with type of turn (right, left, veer, etc.), and street/road you will be traveling on. Selecting a specific leg and pressing in on the action button has a pop-up appear with the summary in a different view. This can be helpful as you choose different route types to match how you want to get to a destination.
Choosing Map Summary shows you a full map of the entire route (zoomed out) so you can get an overall feel for where you will be traveling. This is helpful to get a feel for the scale of your trip.
Traffic Summary is similar to the Route Summary view, except that you see the distance, street, and then speed on each leg. The speed is highlighted in different colors (red, yellow, green) to reflect traffic conditions with speeds that you can expect to travel on. These are not speed limits either as it shows the flow of traffic speed that is commonly just over the speed limits. You can use the directional pad to select a leg and then pressing in on the center selects it and gives you further leg details. In this detailed view you can select the left soft key to Avoid this leg of the trip too.
I never have seen the TeleNav software with the Search Along option (or maybe I just missed it before), but this is a cool feature that lets you type or speak an interim stop along your route. After entering a destination you can route to it and then after making that stop you can go back and choose the previous destination to continue on your main route. The software doesn’t automatically go back to the main route with the interim stop (at least from what my experiences showed).
When you select Search then you will at first see the same Type It or Speak It options, with the same functionality as I described above. Selecting Type It takes you to a text entry screen similar to searching for businesses. You can filter by categories and enter the What and Where fields for your desired destination.
By the way, when you find a destination you can select to drive to it, call it, view reviews (if applicable) view the map of it or save it to your favorites. You can also post ratings on destinations yourself to help out others when they search for the destination so they make a more informed choice.
Maps & Traffic
Maps & Traffic can be used when you want to view yourself traveling on a map without any destination in mind. After you select this option you are taken to the last type of map you selected (2D or 3D) with your GPS location shown in a circle with a red arrow. You can scroll around the map with the directional pad. Pressing in on the directional pad or selecting the left soft key opens up a menu with options to Zoom In, Zoom Out, Show Traffic, Toggle 2D/3D, Cursor Address, and Get New Map.
You can actually zoom in and out with this Options menu or by pressing the Fn and */# keys. You need to press both to activate the * and # and I found just using the left soft key to be a bit faster option.
One MAJOR bonus with using a connected solution like AT&T Navigator/TeleNav is that you can get real-time traffic data on the E71x. As a commuter in a heavy traffic region I find using the TeleNav software to be a something you can use even if you know how to get to your destination. Traffic alerts and the software can reroute you around traffic congestion and save you lots of time. The software regularly checks for traffic if you have it enabled and I think it is set for every 5 minutes by default.
Selecting Cursor Address gives you the address for where the cursor is at the moment and then gives you options to drive to that cursor location or save it to favorites. You can use the cursor to select a destination on the map without entering the destination via voice or text.
Tools & Extras
There are five options available in the Tools & Extras display, including Record Location, My Favorites, Product Tour, Preferences, and About. Record Location lets you select your current location and give it a name to save for future use. My Favorites shows you all the favorites you setup on the device or sent to the device from the web. Product Tour walks you through the software and About gives you the version number of the software you have loaded.
When you select Preferences you are presented several options for route style, traffic alerts toggle, distance units, type of moving maps, audio options, guide tones (default included voice is English speaking female), Help card prompts, and Speech Input. Some of the route styles include fastest, traffic optimized, prefer streets, pedestrian, and many more. As you can see you can use the E71x for walking around the city when you have pedestrian mode selected.
The options within Speech Input include the input method (speak in directly or call in), address input default prompt selector, and search input default prompt selector.
Closing thoughts on AT&T Navigator for the E71x
AT&T Navigator on the E71x is a fantastic GPS navigation solution and works very well for my navigation needs. It has just about all the latest and greatest TeleNav functionality and gets a GPS fix in just seconds on the E71x. I recommend every new E71x owner at least give the free 30-day trial a test to decide how useful the software can be for your navigation needs.