Why my smartphone hasn't replaced my in-car GPS receiver ... yet!

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by sobore, Jun 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/why-my-smartphone-hasnt-replaced-my-in-car-gps-receiver-yet/13472

    Almost every smartphone comes with a built-in GPS receiver and mapping software (either pre-loaded or available as an optional purchase). Does this mean that the days of the in-car GPS receiver are numbered?

    Over on Twitter yesterday I had a bit of a conversation with my ZDNet blogging buddy and mobile gadget übergeek James Kendrick about in-car navigation on Twitter (@jkendrick). We got around to talking about htis because of Dwight Silverman’s account of his summer vacation where he talked about using his smartphone for his road trip. I was surprised to find that Kendrick had replaced his TomTom with a smartphone over two years ago and instead relies on his smartphone to get him from A to B. He’ll tell you why he prefers this over on Mobile News - if you’re planning a road trip this summer and don’t know whether to leave your in-car GPS receiver at home and rely on your smartphone or not.
     
    Chimpy and jbcarioca like this.
  2. Grace
    Original Member

    Grace Silver Member

    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    500
    I will never give up my Garmin. As nice as smart phones are, there is this land not too far away called Canada where my cell phone doesn't work but my GPS works just fine!
    I also drive through many cell phone dead zones where a real GPS still works just fine.
     
  3. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    My thought also. There are many roads in the US where cell coverage is bleak to non-existent.
    In addition, lord help you if you do not have an unlimited data plan!
     
  4. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Absolutely. I cannot say I will "never" give up my Garmin, but I use my iPad for major urban areas to find businesses and other POI's, but still find the purpose-built units are more manageable and less prone to interruption.

    Within a year or so we'll have mobile devices that have direct GPS receivers and cellular-tower-triangulation too. There are also commercial communication non-GPS satellites that can be used for triangulation. There are already physical location mapping devices that work on image recognition. Google Image, for example, demonstrates that we are not too far away from that capability.

    The only thing I am sure fo is that technological advances are getting faster, thus I don't know what will happen next. I bought my first GPS unit in 1987, since then the same basic technology has been being used. It is just faster, more data, smaller, more reliable. We're about ready for the next major change, IMO, especially since GPS is now subject to interference from various sources.
     
    sobore likes this.
  5. Grace
    Original Member

    Grace Silver Member

    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    500
    I guess maybe if I invested in maps that don't require internet on my phone I should still be able to use my phone in places without a data signal.
     
    jbcarioca likes this.
  6. sparxe
    Original Member

    sparxe Silver Member

    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    63
    Status Points:
    210
    These already exist. We used a Nokia smartphone extensively in Europe recently as a GPS only device. We took the SIM card out to prevent accidentally using data while roaming. It sometimes took a long time to get a signal, but it worked great! We were able to download maps for specific countries, and it even had stores and restaurants included.
     
    sobore and jbcarioca like this.
  7. jbcarioca
    Original Member

    jbcarioca Gold Member

    Messages:
    17,507
    Likes Received:
    57,455
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I thought they were to launched later this year. I am glad to know they are already out.
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,507
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Cellphone coverage? Data plan? I am using CoPilot Live on my iPhone (it DID replace my Garmin Nuvi) and it stores the map and POI data on the device.

    I admit I wasn't sure I'd like it at first, but the US version of CoPilot was dirt cheap (now $4.99, but I think I paid even less), so I gave it a try. On my first two trips I took both the Garmin and the iPhone along, but ended up never using the Garmin, so now it's been retired. I have added text-to-voice for about $2 (in-app purchase) and also recently bought the Western European version (more expensive, something like $45), and I am very happy with it. One less gadget to take on the road. Plus my Garmin's maps were about five years old by now and badly needed updating, but the updated maps for the US and Europe probably would have cost a lot more than what I paid for the two versions of CoPilot. And they give me regular map updates for free (and even fix map bugs I report within a month).

    (not affiliated with them, just a fairly happy customer)
     
    bonnerbl and sobore like this.
  9. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Very cool! Is there an Android version?
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,507
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Apparently yes (according to Google), but their site seems to have a problem right now. Have a try at

    http://www.alk.com/copilot/android/

    I have no experience with the Android version, though I probably should get it for my wife's EVO and my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

    I mostly use GPS on road trips around the country, usually with rental cars, since I am quite familiar with the area I live in. But even in my own car CoPilot has replaced the car-built-in Nav system because I really don't like Toyota's user interface.
     
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,507
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    I should admit that I didn't actually do much research before buying CoPilot. I know there are other apps out there that have a good reputation, but the low price point made it an impulse purchase for me.

    For those who want to do more research, for starters here's an article that compares iPhone GPS apps:

    http://www.macworld.com/article/156720/2011/01/gps.html
     
    sparxe and sobore like this.
  12. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    :confused:Which version to purchase? CoPilot Live USA CoPilot Live North America CoPilot Live Premium USA CoPilot Live Standard USA
     
    bonnerbl likes this.
  13. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    +1 another vote for copilot products, but don't buy TODAY since a new version is coming out in the next few days that will be a for pay also, with most likely no upgrade!

    I've been using their products for over a decade now and they are pretty good, the north american maps could use some help (they use their own and not navteq like the rest of the world) but they are pretty tight as of now. The NA versioning is a bit confusing, i've noted that to them before.

    There is a FREE version, a pay NOW version, a FREE REGIONAL version, a NA WITH CANADA version a NA USA only version, etc. Stupid product segmenting in my opinion.
     
    sobore likes this.
  14. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,536
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Status Points:
    7,770
    Nokia Maps for Symbian phones allow you to download worldwide maps to the device or mSD card for free and use your phone as GPS without any data consumption. As part of Nokia's agreement with Microsoft, the same technology will be included in future versions of Windows Phone, regardless of the manufacturer.

    Smartphones have had stand-alone GPS receivers for a while, and are capable of determining your position without cellular signal. The problem is, free Google Maps navigation comes with no locally stored maps except for a little bit of cached content, so as you move around, the phone requires a data connection to show more than Long/Lat on the screen. Some paid apps also require constant downloading of map data.

    Most smartphones can also use triangulation to quickly find your approximate (coarse) location based on nearby towers. Even Nokia phones mentioned above would use a small amount of data to get the initial fix, or to continue tracking location if GPS signal is lost. Knowing approximate location allows for quicker satellite acquisition, too. Without cellular coverage, e.g., with a SIM card removed, the device has no idea where to look for satellites, so it takes a bit longer to get at acquire enough satellites to determine exact location.
     
    sparxe likes this.
  15. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,536
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Status Points:
    7,770
    Not anymore. The new Google Maps for Android 5.7 allows you to download surrounding area within 10 miles for offline use. Not quite as good as Nokia Maps, but a good first step in the right direction.
     
    arkleseizure likes this.
  16. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    As an FYI you are only allowed to download a total of 10 of these, but definitely a step in the right direction!
    Long press on the area of the map you wish to download, when the address box pops up press it, on the new option screen srcoll to the bottom and select Download map area.
     
  17. emajy
    Original Member

    emajy Silver Member

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    139
    Status Points:
    375
    Make sure you bring the car charger with you when using the GPS in a smartphone otherwise it will drain the battery quite quickly.
     
    sobore likes this.
  18. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    copilots new products are out now in the apple itunes store, they are listed as PREMIUM
     
  19. flamingo

    flamingo Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,239
    Likes Received:
    2,647
    Status Points:
    1,425
    Bring "spare" charger (if you can). When I visisted Kauai, Hawaii couple years ago (FREE FF tickets for family of 4), the car charger died:( on the middle of the road trip. Need to rush to Walmart to buy the spare one...
     
    emajy and sobore like this.
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,507
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Seems existing customers get to pay full price. I think I am happy with what I have, though it isn't quite bug free:

    - voice sometimes doesn't work
    - app sometimes forgets where you are when you take a break along the way.
    - Text to Speech is mangling foreign street names, eg while driving in France with an English voice selected
     
  21. Grace
    Original Member

    Grace Silver Member

    Messages:
    309
    Likes Received:
    389
    Status Points:
    500
    I was so glad I had my garmin when I was just in Montana since Virgin Mobile doesn't allow roaming and Sprint has no service there. Maybe things would be different with that new Google maps, but oh well
     
  22. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,507
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Things would be different with any smartphone GPS app with stored maps :)
     
  23. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    Well, nobody pays full price now. Instead of managing some upgrade for existing only (which istore doesn't really offer) they made the price 60% off for a week. Both existing and new customers get the 9.99$ till next week. This is a new product not an upgrade really.

    I don't like paying for things again, but it is a pretty good discount on a product that is apparently "better"

    and offers local maps, so no further download necessary
     
  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,507
    Likes Received:
    20,199
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Hmm. Didn't see that discount offer, so I'll take another look.

    Would be nice to know what exactly is better/different. I'll look if they have a page detailing that.

    not sure I get you here. I never had to download anything after the initial purchase of the "old" app, other that -- if I wanted them -- map updates.
     
  25. Tivoboy
    Original Member

    Tivoboy Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    460
    Likes Received:
    283
    Status Points:
    595
    I just meant that the maps were locally stored after the initial download so one isn't dependent on a data connection at all for route guidance.
     

Share This Page