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CES 2009

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PCD Samsung Moto overseas Pharos  

Pharos was showing off a new Windows Mobile device. It's a relatively stylish number with a trackball. It's clear that Pharos and Velocity Mobile share the same manufacturer.

The Traveler 137 is, for the most part, a perfectly predictable Windows Mobile Pro slab-style device. The one stand-out spec is support for T-Mobile USA's 3G network.


The big news from Pharos, though, was the way their navigation software works. First, like a stand-alone GPS unit, you can buy full maps packages for whole countries, and have full GPS functionality even when you have no network signal at all.

The more interesting capability, though, is the on-demand aspect. If you didn't buy the full map pack, or you're visiting a different country, you can use it just as much as you need it, and only be billed a simple daily rate. When you ask for a route, it downloads all of the necessary map data dynamically over the network. When it does this, it actually downloads a whole "corridor" six miles wide for that whole route, so if you make a wrong turn and need directions back to the correct road, the software can handle that instantly, even if your trip has taken you out of network range.

The Traveler 137 will be available by the end of Q1 for $599 unlocked. On-demand navigation service runs $2/day, and will be available on other Windows Mobile devices that can run Pharos software, not just the Traveler 137.

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