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Navigon MobileNavigator 7

Satellite navigation company Navigon has been demonstrating its MobileNavigator7 satnav software for Symbian mobile phones and Windows Mobile smartphone devices.

Launching the MobileNavigator7 GPS navigation software at the Symbian Smartphone Show in London's Earls Court, Navigon showed the differences between using its guidance software in pedestrian and driving modes.

Navigon used a Nokia N96 mobile phone to show how the MobileNavigator7, when used in Pedestrian mode, found the most direct route across a city, ignoring issues such as one-way streets. A precise location was not given since the software made no assumptions about which side of the street you might decide was the sunniest and choose to walk along. Similarly, a pedestrian could be walking through a park rather than sticking to a pavement around its perimeter.

To accommodate these variations, the Navigon MobileNavigator instead displayed the user's current location as a circular blob and updated itself as they walked along a route. An arrow indicating which way they were travelling and which turn to take next we shown at the edges of this marker circle.

In future smartphones where there's a compass built in to the device, the Navigon software will be able to indicate which direction is north, further aiding orientation. On this version of the software, however, users instead get help finding their bearings through the inclusion of Points Of Interest icons as well as street names and other familiar indicators. Judging by the POIs included, you're never more than about three streets away a MacDonalds in central London.

You can instantly zoom in and out to get an overview of your local using the buttons on your mobile phone keypad - usually 1 and 3. A single button press takes you back to your current location and places it centre screen again.

Settings can be adjusted using a shortcuts menu - if you forget which button does what, there's a quick launch button to bring up a reminder and take you to settings and let you plot new or jump straight to saved routes.

To show how the Pedestrian mode differed from the driving mode, we were shown how the same route was displayed for drivers. First the MobileNavigator software went online and acquired the latest map updates and traffic alerts, along with the locations of safety cameras. (Navigon says there are more than 18,000 of these in permanent locations across Europe.)

The software then quickly calculated a route and showed a summary of where we'd be going before prompting us to set off - sticking strictly to the roads this time. A Speed Assistant and a Reality View help give you a proper indication of which lane to take and what the road ahead looks like.

Navigon MobileNavigator7 is available for Symbian mobile phones and for Windows Mobile 6 smartphones and personal digital assistants. A try before you buy offer is available at www.navigon.com.

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