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WayFinder, GPS done right, preps for US launch

Swedes show Americans the way to go home

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3GSM The top GPS system for mobile phones, WayFinder, is set for a US launch this summer. For anyone who doesn't have GPS built into their car, or a dedicated GPS with display, this is good news. While it's not the only navigation system on the market it is fantastically useful, giving you the capabilities of an in-car system, with spoken directions and more. It only needs a compact Bluetooth GPS module.

We saw the version of Mobile Navigator for Series 60 phones and a rudimentary version for Nokia's 9500 Communicator, which was a more of a demo than a full blown application, but it does demonstrate WayFinder's intent. (It also runs on the UIQ version of Symbian OS). The software does the hard work of burrowing into your contact book, minimizing the number of modal shifts. You can SMS the directions to a friend, or if you use email, it will dispatch a small map. And the spoken instructions sound altogether less spooky and robotic than the in-car systems we're familiar with.

WayFinder already covers Europe, and the States will follow in the summer. It's a subscription model you can find out about here.

The irony is that it really shouldn't be a Swedish company showing US citizens how to get home. GPS is a US satellite system. But if there hadn't been so many fatuous squabbles over air interfaces and similar technical arcana, it would be a US company. Here's hoping they don't repeat that mistake.

Oops, too late. ®

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