One thing that slipped by with Bell’s announcement of the BlackBerry 8830 (which sold out on day one here in Ottawa), was a built-in GPS Nav software offered by Bell for $10/month. The biggest hurdle to either of these is data rate issues. Ever tried to use Google Maps on anything less than unlimited data? It’s not a pretty phone bill. TeleNav’s press release for Bell’s rebranded software even says “Ongoing subscription to the service costs $9.99 per month, plus a data plan for unlimited usage”, which Bell doesn’t even offer (they top out at 250 MB, with $3 for each additional MB, and that’s not even counting voice). While Bell will generously be offering unlimited data on EVDO for early adopters on the BlackBerry 8830, after that, users are back to square one.
If location-based services are going to have any hope of flying up north, developers are going to have to get a much more data-efficient system in place, because carrier rates up here aren’t showing any signs of letting up. BBCool will be testing out TeleNav’s release on Bell sometime in the near future, and we’ll give you the straight story on handheld GPS in Canada – namely whether or not the costs justify the service.