Pharos Science & Applications Inc., has introduced Smart Navigator, the first Web-based service to combine GPS navigation, real-time traffic and dynamic points-of-interest lookup for users of Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs (as well as Pocket PCs with integrated phone capabilities.) To mark the launch of Smart Navigator, Pharos is offering the service for free through the end of 2003.
Smart Navigator takes advantage of the wireless Internet capability of Windows Mobile devices and GPS positioning to deliver location and navigation information to a position specified by the user. Users of Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs throughout the U.S can access the nation’s newest traffic reporting service, Smart Traffic™, to select the most efficient driving route, and improve mobility. They also can locate nearby ATM/banks, hotels, restaurants, Internet hotspots or other businesses using Smart Finder™, all while on the go. And along the way, Smart Navigator employs GPS satellites to guide users to their destinations.
“The days of being stuck in traffic or lost en route to an important meeting may soon be a thing of the past,” said James Oyang, Ph.D., president of Pharos. “Smart Navigator brings together three innovative technologies initiated by the U.S. government — the Global Positioning System, Internet communications and Intelligent Transportation Systems — for the benefit of the general public. Our Smart Navigator is a time saver, a safety monitor and a mobile information kiosk all rolled into one.”
Aggregating up-to-the-minute highway monitoring data from various State Transportation Departments and its partners, Pharos’ Smart Traffic provides travelers true real-time, traffic-flow information and options to avoid traffic congestion. “Integrating real-time traffic information into navigation systems will assist travelers in selecting the best travel choices and lead us to a new level of transportation efficiency,” according to Neil Schuster, president & CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America.
In addition to visualizing real-time traffic conditions, Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC users can wirelessly access hundreds of thousands of points of interest (POIs) hosted on Pharos’ Smart Navigator server. Smart Finder listings include addresses, phone numbers and Web sites for restaurants, hotels, gas stations, automated teller machines, banks, hospitals, airports and any number of other destinations. For added convenience, Smart Navigator users receive voice-prompted (or graphic or text) driving directions to those POIs from their current location.
“The Microsoft Windows Mobile platforms are all about empowering people with the ability to stay in contact and manage their business and personal lives while on the go,” said Julie Wymetalek, partner marketing manager in the Mobile Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. “Pharos’ new Smart Navigator illustrates perfectly how Windows Mobile-based products can impact our daily lives, making our travel smarter and safer.”
Smart Navigator traffic, POI locations and routing information are all delivered to users’ wireless-internet-enabled Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs. Users can access Smart Navigator via ActiveSync from their desktop computer, a WiFi connection, wireless modem or Bluetooth; while users with Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs with phone capabilities can simply access the Smart Navigator server via “always-on” GPRS or CDMA wireless data networks.
Smart Navigator requires Pharos’ Ostia 6.0 navigation software which is available from Pharos’ authorized dealers. Current Ostia 6.0 users can subscribe to Smart Navigator today directly from the Pharos Web site (www.pharosgps.com), to access the powerful, GPS-based location and navigation service. The service is available for free through the end of 2003. Following the introductory period, Smart Navigator customers can continue to receive the service for only $5.95 per month on an annual subscription basis.
Pharos’ new feature-rich Ostia 6.0 navigation software allows Pocket PCs and Pocket PC phones to display maps in day and night modes, store recent destinations, resume map display from Text Directions, zoom-in & zoom/out with a slide scale, and record trips — all with the touch of a button. In addition, Ostia 6.0 will compute multiple-stop routes with user-defined or optimized path options and show detailed destination information upon arrival. All of these features are accessed from a simplified user menu that makes obtaining information on the go easy.