Scout by TeleNav iPhone app too dangerous for driving

Apr 6, 2012
Tech

In late March, navigation company, TeleNav, announced the release of Scout for Apps, which opens its turn-by-turn voice navigation services to any developer coding for iOS or in HTML 5. Integration of TeleNav into others apps will likely have a large impact on the world of navigation, but users looking for a GPS aid should […]

In late March, navigation company, TeleNav, announced the release of Scout for Apps, which opens its turn-by-turn voice navigation services to any developer coding for iOS or in HTML 5. Integration of TeleNav into others apps will likely have a large impact on the world of navigation, but users looking for a GPS aid should hold out for these newcomers rather than snagging Scout by TeleNav, currently available for iPhones 3GS, 4 and 4S and all iPads (non-universal).

Scout by TeleNav is a good-looking app and I was impressed with the rendering speed of its maps. That, coupled with its synacable Yellow Pages-style places dashboard, which displays businesses in the area filterable by category, were major pluses when it comes to nav apps. Users can log-on to the beta scout.me to search for places and then sync their findings with the app. It’s cool, but that’s where my positive spin ends.

The biggest—and most important—problem with Scout is that it doesn’t currently offer voice navigation. Other TeleNav products do offer this feature, so my only guess as to why it’s not included is that the company didn’t want to give the service away for free (can’t really blame TeleNav, there). The company claims the functionality is in the works, but without it, the app is simply not safe for solo drivers.

Even if you do opt to live dangerously and rely on the text turn-by-turn nav, you’ll need to be sure you stick to the mapped route. Scout doesn’t reroute automatically and unless you tap the button to force a new plan you’ll find yourself off course. Again, this app just needs too much of your attention for it to be a worthy option behind the wheel. Scout also claims to offer support for traffic conditions, but I didn’t see this feature during any of my weekend tests (as a passenger, of course).

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Scout by TeleNav is a dud, but the technology behind it is strong. For now, stick with Waze and the like if you’re looking for a free voice navigator. But don’t forget the TeleNav name—I’m excited to see how outside developers use the system in apps to come.

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