Palm launched its latest smartphone last week the Palm Treo Pro and it came complete with GPS capability, as so many new phones do these days. It was no surprise to find that Google Maps was preinstalled, but also included was a 14-day trial of a navigation package, I have to admit, I had not come across before – Webraska 7.5.
This software isn't just available to Palm Treo Pro owners, though. Anyone with a GPS-equipped Windows Mobile smartphone can download and use it, and the list of compatible standard mobile phones looks very impressive too, so I thought it was high time to give it a thorough going over. Could it compete with CoPilot Live 7, my current favourite phone navigation package?
The first thing to point out is that it's a slightly different type of product to CoPilot Live 7. As with Wayfinder and Telmap, instead of being stored on a flash memory card, maps are downloaded to the phone after a route is requested. The result is that you're able to save your potentially limited phone memory for important stuff like video, music and pictures, rather than having them occupied with gigabytes worth of mapping information.
With this type of navigation software route calculations are also carried out off-device and downloaded dynamically to your phone. Other advantages include maps that are always up-to-date, tightly integrated live traffic information and, more importantly, the ability to charge for navigation in a much more flexible way. Webraska takes that opportunity to the extreme.
You can buy a package of 10 “day passes”, which will cost you €22.90 for access to maps of the entire world. Or you can buy time-limited access to single countries or areas - Europe for example - or even smaller group of countries (UK and the Benelux countries). Europe for one month costs €7.90; the whole year is €79; three years is €179. Maps for the UK cost €5.90, €59 and €139 respectively.
Usefully, these regional maps can also be downloaded on-demand so that, when travelling abroad where roaming costs make online navigation expensive, you can continue to receive driving instructions. Speed cameras are included as standard, but traffic information costs extra, at four euros per month for the UK and €42.90 for a year. As the website states, this is truly satellite navigation “à la carte”.