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Chris Boyle

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Phobile moans again: satnav[Sep. 16th, 2008|12:03 am]

Some recent bad experiences with satnav have prompted even more consideration of my choice of smartphone. My biggest complaint against my current setup is that starting TomTom, if the separate GPS receiver has been turned off, is a fiddly, glitch-prone, lengthy process; it usually involves turning both the receiver and the phone's Bluetooth function off and on several times. Once that's done, I have to wait for the receiver to get a fix, which can take several minutes if I haven't used GPS for a while. Also, my map is at least 17 months out of date, and the frequency with which it doesn't match reality has become just high enough to be annoying. The decision to buy a system that uses a locally-stored map seemed obviously correct at the time, when I didn't have an unlimited* data service (indeed, there may not even have been any sensible products that used an online map), but it's less so now.

What I would like, ideally, is a non-Windows smartphone with built-in GPS. Edit: Such devices seem to be able to obtain a fix more quickly than my current device, though they don't maintain a fix at all times as that would kill the battery. As previously mentioned, the Palm platform seems dead, its successor doesn't look likely to ship any hardware soon; I'd hoped the first Android phone (appearing in the next couple of months) would be worth looking at but apparently that might not even have GPS. [Edit: it will have GPS and is launching on Tuesday 23rd...] As far as I know, if I'm looking to buy within the next few months, that just leaves the iPhone. Unfortunately, its Maps application doesn't look suitable for dashboard use. It won't even follow the route as you drive, let alone replan if you take a wrong turn or give you voice directions (which I used occasionally, until TomTom inexplicably lost the capability recently). There are vague rumours that TomTom are working on something for the iPhone, but I'm not holding my breath. Even if true, I would expect it to still use a local map so you must pay them per-update.

I could…Cost nowCost monthlyLock-in monthsQuick start?Good maps now?…in future?Without phone signal?Hands off replan, voiceFaster CPU, 3G, bigger screen, etc.Develop on Linux (in copious free time)More apps coming
just keep using my Treo 680 and TomTom£0£22.501✗✗✗
buy a map update from TomTom£29.95
get an iPhone contract£99/149£3518
get an iPhone PAYG£349/399?12
get iPhone with TomTom(?)? + wait????

I don't like any of those options. Does anyone have a better idea (other than a separate device or Windows)? :-(
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