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When the Pre launched on Sprint, its free Sprint Navigation turn-by-turn application was one of its stronger features, especially for users who didn’t already have handheld or car-based GPS systems. As time went on, the limitations of the Sprint system (required data connection meant no simultaneous telephone calls; major battery drain and occasional heating) became clear, and as the Pre and its siblings became available on more carriers, the navigation choices became costly and problematic (Verizon) or non-existent (as with the European carriers). Users began seeking a standalone navigation solution (like those that existed for PalmOS, including Mapopolis and TomTom) and, lacking vendor interest, started working on their own.

Among the most promising efforts has been the one described in our forum to bring the open-source Navit navigation system and routing engine to webOS. Palm’s choice of Linux and the openness of webOS’ environment made the project possible with encouragement from webOS Internals and broader PreCentral communities. User mgmft recently sent us a report that the alpha version of the Navit port is “almost usable” already.