Navigon MobileNavigator for Windows Phones: Quick First Impressions

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Navigon made a splash last year by being the first (if I recall correctly) turn-by-turn navigation app available for the iPhone. They recently released MobileNavigator for Windows Phones and provided an evaluation copy for me to try. I installed it on my HTC Touch Pro2 running Windows Mobile 6.1.

Navigon recommends having at least 1.5GB of free storage space since it installs the maps for North America in this space. Note that this is different from, for example, online map solutions like Bing or Google Maps. These services require 3G wireless in order to operate. In theory Navigon’s product can work with just a GPS signal.

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MobileNavigtor for Windows Phone started up quite slow on my TP2. The registration process was slowed down by two interesting design choices: First, the keyboard is in an ABCDE layout instead of QWERTY. Second, it would not switch to landscape mode to let me use the TP2’s physical QWERTY keyboard.

I found Navigon’s legal disclaimer quite amusing: Do not operate this unit while driving. Yes, it is something their attorneys undoubtably insisted on including. But, it is amusing nonetheless.

My TP2’s problematic GPS provided a bit of a initial roadblock. During my first test, it took about 10 minutes for the TP2 to acquire GPS satellite signals. My Droid and iPhone acquired accurate satellite data in well under a minute standing in the same spot under clear skies and no tall buildings of any kind in sight (there was a small hillside nearby on one side). Once satellite signal was acquired, MobileNavigtor provided accurate information about my movement while walking.

My next test was downtown among relatively tall building. The TP2 unexpectedly picked up GPS satellite data in about a minute. You can see the three-quarter and overhead views in the photos above. The two biggest issues I had with MobileNavigator during my first set of tests were:

1. The ABCDE keyboard layout slowed down typing information into it
2. I would like the option to view maps in landscape mode and use the TP2’s physical pull-out QWERTY keyboard

I expect to give it more of a workout while in the Seattle area next week. My only concern is that the TP2’s battery drains quite fast when its GPS is used.

Navigon MobileNavigator for Windows Phones has a retail price of $89.