Saturday, July 26, 2008

Verizon disables GPS on BlackBerry

Just switched to Verizon, which is great for voice quality but wow, had no idea that GPS was disabled on this phone. According to Verizon, their navigator program uses cell phone triangulation Here's my chat with one of their reps:

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.
Chat InformationYou are now chatting with 'Ennis'
Ennis: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. How may I help you today?
JS: why does GPS on my new blackberry 8830 ONLY work with Verizon's navigation system?
JS: are there any plans to open this access to other services (like Loopt and Google maps)
Ennis: I would be more than happy to assist you with that information.
JS: ok . . .
Ennis: Verizon disables the gps navigation system and uses VZ Navigator. The only difference is vz navigator uses cell towers instead of satellites.
JS: so VZ Navigator is different from other navigation systems that also cost $10 per month and use GPS? And therefore is only accurate to 1000-2000 ft??? why would I pay $10 per month for that?
JS: and on Verizon's website it says "Can I see the GPS coordinates while viewing a location's detailed info? Yes"
JS: so doesn't that mean it uses GPS?
Ennis: It has gps listed but no Verizon phone has the gps application only vz navigator.
JS: but VZ Navigator doesn't use gps?
JS: and so therefore, it can only be accurate to 1000-2000 ft
Ennis: Gps is traceable VZ Navigator only lists downloadable directions
JS: ok. this isn't making any sense. I'm wondering if there is any value to paying $10 per montyh
JS: if VZ Nav doesn't use gps--which you stated--it is of minimal value
Ennis: VZ navigator does not use gps.
JS: ok. then I won't sign up. thanks!
JS: (don't understand how a system can navigate without gps!!)
JS: since cell phone triangulation isn't very accurate!
Ennis: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
JS: all set . . . sadly! love my switch from ATT to Verizon for voice quality but didn't realize that the 8830 on Verizon doesn't really use gps, has no navigation program that will actually navigate!
Ennis: I do apologize for this inconvenience.

But perhaps there is some slim hope: for $4 per month (vs $10 for VZ Navigator), you can sign up for Loopt on some Verizon phones, but not BlackBerry . . . perhaps someday. Loopt is a location aware service that shows you and your friends on a map. It makes use of GPS.

PS: Of course, VZ Navigator DOES use GPS and "Ennis" doesn't know what he's talking about.

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