I just started using a Bluetooth GPS receiver from Teletype. It seems to work well when I toss the device up onto the dash. Initially, I used the freely available BlackBerry Maps from RIM, however, the lack of voice guided turn-by-turn directions makes it useless while driving. After a quick Google search for BlackBerry GPS Guidance apps, I found TeleNav and this morning I downloaded it and signed up for the 30 day trial.

TeleNav worked surprisingly well. I was surprised that the voice prompts came from the speaker and didn’t require a headset. It’s recovery from a wrong turn wasn’t as fast as the nav system in my wife’s minivan, but I’m guessing that that is a function of the data link between my 8700 and TeleNav’s servers. Furthermore, the full color interface and 3D map graphics made for a pleasant interaction with the application.

IMHO, I do not have a problem with the monthly fee ($9.95/mo). When you look at TeleNav’s side-by-side comparison to a conventional nav device (like a Garmin), it makes a lot of sense. For example, if I installed a Pioneer nav unit, with XM Traffic, I’d be on the hook for a monthly fee, and oh, BTW, TeleNav gives you the same routing around traffic. So when you look at it like that, it’s probably a better deal.

At this point, I’m awaiting a call from a TeleNav sales rep regarding bulk pricing. I’ve been looking for a nav solution for our fleet of 50 vehicles and this may be it. I can leverage the benefit of a BB in each of my technicians hands as well as giving them live, voice guided, turn-by-turn route guidance. What would be the ultimate, is to interface it with our field force automation system, so when we dispatch a call we can provide directions on the fly. That’d be phat.

I’ll keep everyone posted.