Droid X means no more stand alone GPS navigation system

The Droid X we talked about last week has since been officially announced by Motorola and Verizon. Here is what we think: If Droid X won’t replace the stand alone GPS navigation system in your vehicle then we don’t know what will. Motorola must know this too so they even announced a car mount for the Droid X right away.

With the Android OS you get Google Maps Navigation for free; or if you choose you can pay for onboard maps such as the one from CoPilot. Either way any GPS navigation software with 3D graphics should work just fine on the Droid X thanks to its 1Ghz processor. To make things even better the mount automatically triggers a dashboard app that gives you quick access to your music, internet radio, and of course GPS navigation app. It can connect to your car aux via the 3.5mm cable and keep your phone charged.

Droid X has a 4.3″ touch screen display with 854×480 resolution, a camera with dual LED flash, auto focus that can capture 8MP photos and 720p videos. It has a 1540mAh battery, 8GB on board memory, and needless to say: aGPS, stand alone GPS, and electronic compass. It runs on Android 2.1 right now but will be upgraded to Android 2.2 to support flash format as well.

TeleNav claims Google’s free navigation is helping their business

There’s an interesting article on Forbes on Sal Dhanani, TeleNav’s vice president of products and marketing talking about Google’s recent expansion into 10 new European countries and Canada; offering completely free GPS navigation service following US and UK. TeleNav says this is raising awareness in the market and there are still plenty of people who are willing to pay for GPS navigation service.

TeleNav offers their navigation software to Sprint and AT&T and many more operators in Canada, South America, and even China and believes free services offered by Google, Nokia, and Microsoft can not compete with their own GPS navigation software.

TeleNav must feel threatened though since they’ve started experimenting mobile ads which show up as sponsored listings when you do a search. They even sell movie tickets partnering with Fandango where they get a cut from each sale.

What do you think about TeleNav’s business model? Do you think they’ll survive given all these free navigation services around?

HTC Wildfire

HTC Wildfire is a brand new mid range Android powered smartphone from the company - targeting young folks who may be going mobile for the first time. HTC Wildfire will be running Android 2.1 Eclair operating sytem and will come with a decent set of hardware features for a mid-range device.

Take for example the 3.2″ QVGA capacitive touch screen with pinch to zoom; or the 512MB ROM and the 384MB RAM, and even microSD card for extra storage. 1300mAh battery should give you more than 400 hours talk time but not sure how much that would translate if you were to browse the web the whole time. HTC Desire has a 5MP camera with auto focus and flash and can geotag your photos if you choose to. That means Wildfire has a GPS receiver and a few other sensor such as the G-sensor, digital compass, proximity sensor, and the ambient light sensor.

Some other stuff includes Bluetooth 2.1, FM radio, WiFi, 3.5mm audio jack, and a micro USB port. And the processor of course: Qualcomm MSM7225 buzzing at 528 MHz.

No word U.S. release just yet. HTC Wildfire will be out in Europe and Asia in third quarter of this year.

garminfone from T-Mobile

We just talked about Garminfone that will be exclusively available from T-Mobile. The phone is not out yet but some people managed to get their hands on the device, and unboxed it while documenting every step.

What makes Garminfone special is that fact that you’ll have Garmin’s expertise in GPS navigation always with you. The interface is familiar, maps are preloaded, and you can navigate to a location stored in a picture.

Would you prefer a Garminfone over another Android phone with free Google navigation?

no Google Maps navigation on iPhone

Recently there were some rumors about Google making their free GPS navigation application available on the iPhone platform. Apparently those were nothing but rumors as Google clarified that today. They said they never meant iPhone when they announced their GPS navigation application would be available on other platforms in the future.

So it looks like iPhone users are still out of luck when it comes to Google powered, free, 3D, over-the-air - but cached, turn-by-turn GPS navigation application. Sorry guys.

new Navman 575, Navman 475, and Navman 470

Mio and Navman just announced three new GPS navigation systems for the European markets. They’re the Navman 575, Navman 475, and Navman 470. What’s interesting with these new models is that TomTom licensed their IQ Routes technology to Mio for these three sat nav devices, and Mio put their own LearnMe feature on top of that which learns to use the roads that you like.

At the hardware level Navman 470 and 475 look quite similar, offering 4.3″ screens, and the Navman 575 one ups them with a 4.7″ touch screen.

A few of the other features include:

  • One year free real time traffic and safety camera information
  • SiRFStar InstantFix
  • Google Send-to-GPS

It looks like Navman 470 will be offered at a price you can’t refuse: Only £99 with Western European maps included. Navman 575 on the other hand will reach in your pocket for £149.99 when it launches in May.

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Verizon Droid Incredible

Why try to pick a fancy name for a phone… Just call it “Awesome”… too much. How about “Incredible”… that’s better. That’s what Verizon is calling their latest Android powered handset from HTC. Droid Incredible. Droid Incredible will be available beginning April 29 and will cost $200 after a 2 year contract and a $100 mail in rebate.

Droid Incredible will come with HTC Sense user interface, integrate with Exchange ActiveSync, carry Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and an 8MP digital camera.

Here are the detailed specs for the device:

  • Android 2.1 with HTC
  • 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 8 MP camera with dual LED flash
  • 3.7 inch WVGA (480×800) AMOLED capacitive touch display
  • Optical joystick
  • Proximity sensor, light sensor
  • Digital compass
  • Integrated GPS
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
  • 3.5 mm headset jack

There are many ways you can get GPS navigation on this phone. The easiest of course is Google’s own Google Maps with Navigate feature.

GPS navigation system user with two 12yr olds needs our help

We get a lot of emails from our dear users and some of them actually think we’re the makers of the GPS navigation system they’re using. Sometimes we really do not know how to respond to them. Maybe you can help us out. How should we reply to this email?

I used my Navi-g sat nav to go to Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire and was very distressed at the complete mess up of the motorways it made causing me to have several very near misses in accidents. I had two 12yr olds with me and at one point they were crying hysterically.

It did not give enough notice when to turn off only telling you to move to left/right within 100yards of actual turn off when you need at least 500-1000 notice and then repeated when nearing. Was not very
verbal at all and the volume was turned up full but was no way loud enough.

Is there possibly an updated memory card to go with it as without this or replacing it, I will not feel safe to use again. We was even pulled over by the police was not giving enough notice changing lanes and had to explain. They told us not to use it as it was making us a danger to be on the roads.

Please help.
Thank you.

Here is the surroundings according to Google Maps based on what we know from the email:

View Larger Map

ultimate car black box

This is the Ace Antenna A DR-200. It is a black box for driving. We came across this on a Korean site that we really have no way deciphering.

However the features of this device is pretty apparent from all the pics. It mounts on your windshield and has two cameras. One facing the road, the other facing the inside of the vehicle. Inside camera seems to have some sort of night vision capability as well. It has an integrated GPS receiver, and a microphone too.

This device is literally recording your every move, every word, and it knows where you are.

To be more specific - as can be seen in the screenshot of the software it records the road in front of you, it records the inside of the vehicle and using the GPS receiver puts you on Google Maps and records how fast you were going at what time. And finally the audio recording from inside can be played along with the rest of the fields.

And if we’re right it even has a 3G module to transmit your location/video/audio in real time…. this is just too much.

the original GPS navigation patent

It was about 40 years ago when Roger L. Easton applied to USPTO to get a patent for “Navigation System Using Satellites and Passive Ranging Tecniques”.

The abstract was this:

A navigation system wherein the navigator’s location is obtained by determining the navigator’s distance (or range) from one or more satellites of known location. Each satellite transmits multifrequency signals that are derived from a stable oscillator which is phase synchronized with the navigator’s equipment that produces similar multifrequency signals. Phase comparison between the signals received from the satellites and the locally produced signals indicates both the distance between the navigator and the satellites and the navigator’s location. In determining his location, the presence of the navigator is not revealed since no interrogatory transmission by him is required.

If there’s a little bit of geek in you, you can check out the full patent here.

Just recently Roger L. Easton made it to The National Inventors Hall of Fame, taking his rightful place next to names like Edison, and Bell.

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