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THOUGHT: Smartphone Navigation - the next hype?
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 15.10.04 - 11:20:21 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 8199x
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For some weeks now, I'm playing with Smartphone-navigation (like amy others) and yesterday got it finally working with my Motorola MPx220 after I tweaked it a little bit to work with my Bluetooth GPS receiver and I'm completely impressed. 8O

Pocket PC navigation is already mature enough to may replace car navigation systems sooner or later; on the other hand the Pocket PC will never reach such a penetration as we have it with mobile phones already and therefore Smartphone navigation becomes even more interesting!

Yesterday I drover around 150 test-km: from my home to the airport, from the airport back to Munich, from my favorite bar to my favorite restaurant, back to home and always drove as the Smartphone suggested it (while in parallel I had my car navigation running also to compare the results) and this solution truly amazed me.
As said before, I just used my MPx220 and my Royaltek RBT1000 only, both running wireless on their own batteries, connected through Bluetooth and simply placed on the car dashboard (an advantage of clam-shell devices).

The navigation-software gave me loud and clear commands (like turn left in xy meters, etc) like all the navigation software on Pocket PCs and the car-navigation which made finding my route a piece of cake! In addition, all the Smartphone navigation applications also provide you the routing information on the phone display and this works pretty good as long as it is optimized for smaller phone displays - porting the Pocket PC applications doesn't works because of the more limited screen.

However, what amazed me most is the flexibility and mobility of such a solution when I tried it when I was walking through Munich. I put the GPS receiver on the shoulder strap of my bag and had the navigation software running on my Smartphone. From time to time I took out the phone and checked my position and yes - the phone was always up to date. This kind of navigation is much easier with a Smartphone, especially if it is a clam-shell, than with a Pocket PC because you simply close the phone and it is protected while the navigation software continues to work (for sure candybar phones work well also as long as you can lock the kys). That's a scenario I never got working in a convenient way with my Pocket PCs and therefore So foot passenger navigation is just another scenario I believe into for the future. A typical scenario for me is if I'm in foreign cities without a clue where to go; which happens several times year like on conferences, fairs and in holidays. In future I can use my Smartphone to find my way but this requires some demands: the Smartphone batteries have to become stronger because the device can not move into the idle mode because Bluetooth is running and in the background the navigation software is calculating the current position and the route. As long as this isn't fixed it can not/will not reach a mass-market stage because for what is a phone good it the battery is drained and you are unable to make any further calls. ;-)

But anyway - am I alone with my fascination or what do you think about the scenarios above? Is a Smartphone navigation able to replace your current Pocket PC navigation or can it convince you to use your Smartphone for more than phone calls, PIM and online use only?

Cheers ~ Arne


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