Saturday, January 22, 2011

CES 2011: Verizon

During the last day of CES, I was finally able to get over to the Verizon booth. Having already experienced some disappointment with Sprint's 4G tent (and service that week), I wanted to see what Verizon was offering.  From what I was shown by their team, Verizon is leaps ahead of others.

VZ Navigator

The first thing I checked out was the updated 'VZ Navigator' app.  The version I was being shown was on the HTC Thunderbolt.  At first glance it seems to be a like other GPS apps, but it does something that is incredibly helpful.  While giving you turn-by-turn directions to your destination, it lets you know what lane you need to be in.  This could eliminate those last second choices when all your GPS device tells you is that you have a slight right coming up.  "Slight right?!? What the...did I just pass it?"  That's not all.  It creates a very detailed 3D environment.  From the actual building structures, to detailed freeway signs. This makes it near to impossible to not know where you are headed. 

Screen shot of VZ Navigator in action - Courtesy: Verizon
'VZ Navigator' is already loaded on most Verizon phones.  The next generation of this app will be available on Android phones.  Don't worry if you're a current user, you'll get a free upgrade to the next gen.  

Flixwagon 'Geo Edition'

Flixwagon 'Geo Edition'
There is another great app that they are working on that takes the idea of recommendation sites like 'Yelp' to another level.  "Flixwagon 'Geo Edition'" app allows you to geotag a location with not only pictures, but video as well.  So when you travel to a new place and you want to see a review about something, you can pull up the app and click on a viewer submitted video. With that, not only will you be able to see what the location looks like, but maybe even a quick review of what they thought.  But it's not just for reviews, you can tag it for any reason.  And it's all done in real time.  So the moment the video is shot, you see it on your map.  

Flixwagon developed their 'Geo Tag' edition app by using Verizon's free developer LBS SDK, NavBuilder.  

We also learned that 'Filxwagon' is capable of much more.  You will be able to use it to broadcast live over this thing we call the internet.  By setting up an embedded video you'll be able to go live where ever you are.  They showed me how well it worked over Verizon's 4G network in the convention hall.  And for anyone that was at CES, trying to upload a text or picture to Twitter was hard enough.  But seeing the video stream using Verizon's 4G signal was impressive. At POParitaville, we are now looking at the possibility of using this to app, and service, to finally do a live location broadcast where is doesn't freeze up.

Another plus with 'Flixwagon' integrated with VZ Navigator is that if you catch a video, or live broadcast, and you "Like" it; you'll get directions to the place from your current location.

The 'Paint' feature allows touch phone users to sketch
and draw on captured video and broadcast the result.

Another part of this app that makes it unique is what they are looking to be able to do with it.  When broadcasting, or just shooting video, 'Flixwagon' revealed to us that they plan to use the dual cameras found on phones.  Having that feed on a dedicated page (i.e. Facebook) opens a realm of possibilities for broadcasters of all types.  We hope to be one of them using it very soon.  

The 'Flixwagon' app is only available for use on Verizon Android devices.  So if you're planning on getting the Verizon iPhone, you won't find it in the Apple app store.  UPDATE: The Flixwagon app is now available in the Apple app store for free.


Every provider is trying to prove to you why they deserve your business, and they all have compelling arguments.  From new phones to competitive costs, there are many choices.  Besides all of those things, let's face it, we also want something that's cool. And what Verizon showed me was incredibly cool.

Now to figure out how to switch my service.

Note: This was updated to note the correct phone the VZ Navigator was shown to me on.  Also listed how Flixwagon used Verizon's LBS SDK, NavBuilder to create the 'Geo Tag' edition of their app.

Learn more about using Verizon's NavBuilder by visiting their site.     

POPped by
Jungle Jesse   

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