Pearlized driving

May 16 2007

During my 36 hours in Z├╝rich, I spent a fair bit of time talking with coworkers about our various smartphone devices.  And now I'm convinced I'm missing out on another benefit of the Blackberry Pearl -- GPS navigation.  It's not built-in, like on the 8800, but an external GPS adapter can be had for between US$50 and $100, cheaper than a stand-alone navigation unit.  I didn't even know about this when the Pearl first arrived -- the Telenav application didn't appear until I added the 1GB microSD card.

David Via, a former Ferris analyst who joined Lotus last year, swears by his Pearl's Telenav application.  He said he's been able to use both the GPS and a headseat via bluetooth simultaneously, without either missing a beat.  Telenav isn't distracted by a mere telephone call, either.  So, I need to order a GPS bluetooth "puck" this week -- though as many point out, my sometime-nickname of "human map" calls into question why I want a GPS navigation device altogether.  I guess it's just the boys-and-their-toys factor...

David was surprised to learn that my recent adoption of the Pearl wasn't a switch from some other smartphone, but rather my first smart mobile device ever.  We also talked about ways to keep work/life balance in check, even while using some of the Pearl's fun features.  He said he leaves his Pearl in his home office most weekends (not an option for me), turns off data roaming, or has even considered putting the SIM card in a dumphone on weekends.  I'm still adjusting to the fact that a lot of my travel is international, where the data roaming rates have been killers, and prioritizing 12 CHF for an hour of wifi vs. turning on data on the Berry.

That international point comes into play for the GPS navigation as well.  For devices like the TomTom, international maps are readily available as separate memory cards.  Does anyone know what might work on the Pearl?  The Telenav app doesn't seem to even include Canada, much less Germany or Indonesia or whatever.

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