BlackBerry Maps is the default mapping installation on a BlackBerry handset, but it's not your only option. You can plan routes (international route-planning is supported by BlackBerry Maps) and there's a built-in GPS in the latest BlackBerry Curve and BlackBerry Bold models, and true satnav capabilities are available as a bolt-on.
However, depending on the BlackBerry handset you buy, you may or may not get some navigation software with it. Note, however, that you won't also be able to send emails or perform other data-dependent tasks at the same time as using your smartphone satnav software. Phone calls can be made and received though.
Depending on the mobile operator you buy your handset from you may be offered different options. Vodafone bought out Wayfinder last year, for example, while Telmap is favoured by O2.
Telmap set up is easy - you just scroll through the usual agreements and then let the software log your current location. It takes some time for the satellites to locate you initially, but having done so we were soon able to get cracking.
Telmap offers real-time traffic information and the ability to re-route you should the need arise. Directions are on clear, uncluttered maps that move with you rather than showing you as a moving target on a near-static Google Map. Directions are displayed as a single line in the same way as the preview messages you get on your BlackBerry email. An arrow literally points the way.
Unlike some smartphone satnav software, Telmap is equally adept at driving directions and helping you find your way around if you're a pedestrian. In our tests in and around London we found we were able to sneak through some but not all shortcuts that weren't available to road users. It generally knew about one-way roads and allowed us to walk down them. You can plot a walking route without needing a GPS fix.
After your initial trial period, the Telmap software costs £4.99 a month for the UK and Ireland version or £5.99 a month for full European coverage (£39.99 a year or £59.99 a year respectively). For an extra £2.99 a month you can also have UK safety camera alerts. These are updated monthly.
We were mighty impressed with the Telmap software. It updates quickly and in a timely fashion and we were never in any doubt as to where it expected us to turn. We were also pleased to find that there’s now a Europe-wide option. However, having got accustomed to larger-screen satnavs and smartphones, we found ourselves keener on using such apps on the Bold rather than the dinky Pearl.