Navigation Aids Advance on Smartphones
By Eric Lin, Wed Nov 12 00:00:00 GMT 2003

Maybe it's because the market is nascent, but smartphones aren't creating so much a software revolution as an evolution. Even if it isn't ground breaking, the software being ported to smartphones is at least helpful and convenient.

All About Symbian choose one area where software ports are really making a difference, maps and navigations, and provided a rundown of what's available for Series 60 devices. We would normally consider this Nokia centric, except that there really isn't anything available for other platforms. One of the factors that the article takes into consideration is the software's ability to cooperate with a GPS receiver via Bluetooth, however there are no Palm OS phones with Bluetooth, and the first Microsoft phones that have it went on sale just a few days ago. Nor are there any Microsoft or Palm phones with integrated GPS, and to date the only handset that comes close from Symbian is the Matorola A920. One of the products is from TomTom, and since they offer navigation software for the Pocket PC, we expect it won't be long before they port their Symbian smartphone packages to Windows Mobile.

Each package works and is priced differently, but each accomplishes the same task. All of them allow you to plan a route and display turn by turn driving directions right from your smartphone. In addition, each provides the option to connect to a Bluetooth GPS receiver in order to provide a point of origin and prompting users for upcoming turns at the appropriate times.

While many of us don't always travel with a PDA or laptop, or have a PDA or laptop to travel with, nearly everyone has a mobile handy. Since we're more likely to have them with us, smartphones are perfect for solving information crises. We don't expect we'll get lost, just as we don't expect we'll need to know the name of that movie with guy who does the thing, but both become important, time sensitive issues when they arise.

These systems are young. Smartphones lack built in GPS hardware, the software lacks advanced location based services features, but they are laying the foundation for the next generation of position critical information- and they already serve a useful purpose.