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PocketGPSWorld.com Event Article

Computex Taiwan 2007 : Asia's Top IT Extravaganza


Last year was the first time we ventured into the heart of the technology manufacturing region of the World in Taiwan, when we visited the largest Asian technology expo: Computex 2006. Well it is nearly June again and Computex 2007 is fast approaching. This year both Mike and Darren are taking the opportunity to visit the tradefair and see what new products will be coming out of the far east over the next few months.

We were impressed with the HUD bluetooth receiver from GlobalTop that was on display at CeBIT, and are wondering what new and novel GPS products will catch our eye in Taipei. We have already heard some rumours about various Speed Camera detectors.

It is also quite interesting to see what is tucked away out of sight at these shows. There is a lot of competition between the GPS (and other) companies in Taiwan and the companies tread a delicate line between attracting the attention of buyers and letting their competitors know what they are about to release.

Whilst we are out there we have taken the opportunity to organise a visit to some friends in Hsinchu City, where Holux and Evermore are based. Hopefully we will be able to give you an insight into the development and manufacturing processes for GPS products.


Created by Mike Barrett on Friday, May 25 @ 21:29:05 EDT


Holux are to launch a GPS photo tagging system


Holux are to launch a digital picture geotagging system in the next few months. On display in the Computex booth was a GPS datalogger styled in the shape of a film canister. This is based on the MTK chipset and according to Holux has excellent sensitivity allowing a patch antenna to be used despite the design of the casing. I was concerned that the shape of the casing would mean that the antenna would not always be facing in the optimum direction to receive the GPS signal as was the case with the Sony CS-1 with a similar design. We will find out shortly as I have been promised an early unit to test on a bike ride between London and Paris. This will test not only my endurance, but also the power consumption and sensitivity of the data logger.

Provided with the unit will be software to manage the geo-referencing of your digital images and also conversion of the datalog into the popular Google Earth format so you can share your travels with your friends.


The Holux GPS datalogger film canister
The Holux GPS datalogger film canister


Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, June 11 @ 14:21:07 EDT


Mio launch a new PND, Smartphone and Assisted GPS system


Mio were the only "mainstream" SatNav company exhibiting and had a huge stand in hall 4, and were displaying an impressive range of satnav systems which are available in all continents of the world (except Antarctica). They had 3 new products on display: a new PND the Mio C720T; a new Smartphone the Mio A-702 and a new mount technology called Navsteadi.

The Mio C720T was an interesting device as it incorporates a 2 megapixel camera and uses the GPS co-ordinates to geotag the picture. Sounds familiar? Is it a coincidence or is this the first crossover technology resulting from Mitac's purchase of Navman? The Mio C720T aslo has a Business Card reader built in. We were not able to test this functionality, but it could possibly be a boon for taxi drivers, just pass the business card of the person you want to visit and off they go... The C720T has all the features you would expect from a top of the range SatNav including SiRFIII chipset, 4.3" LCD touch screen and handsfree bluetooth. Interestingly the C720T will not be available in Europe, this may be because of the clash in product lines with Navman.

The Mio A-702 smart phone had it's first public viewing at Computex last week. It is a fully featured Windows Mobile system with 2.7" touch screen, built in GPS, and we think Wifi. The mobile phone technology is 2.75G. The phone itself has a nice mat finish that feels almost rubberised.

The final product of interest was the new Navsteadi technology. This uses a dead reckoning sensor to keep track of your position when the GPS signal is weak or not available. The dead reckoning sensor includes acceleration and direction detection. This is plug and go technology built into the system mount. The Navsteadi allows for up to 2 minutes navigation after loss of GPS signal. This should cater for most urban canyon environments, but may be marginal in areas with longer GPS downtime such as the tunnels in Basle and Zurich or the Big Dig underground system in Boston.


The Mio C720T PND
The Mio C720T PND

The Mio A-702 Smartphone
The Mio A-702 Smartphone

The Mio Navisteadi dead reckoning system
The Mio Navisteadi dead reckoning system


Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, June 11 @ 14:07:27 EDT


Hiacom show us a new tracking system


Haicom showed us a new tracker with a unique reporting capability. The HI-601VT. It doesnt require GPRS data or SMS messaging to transmit your position. It can use normal voice communications to send the data, much like touch tone phones. Whilst your call is connected you are monitoring the position of the tracker in real time.

It comes as 2 separate devices: the main tracker and the acoustic decoder. You are also able to connect a number of accessories to the main device such as a microphone (to monitor conversations) and a car control harness to immobilise the vehicle by phone message.


The new tracking system from Haicom
The new tracking system from Haicom


Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, June 11 @ 13:29:49 EDT


Globalsat display a wealth of BT GPS receivers and trackers


As usual Globalsat were displaying a number of new products. These were mainly Bluetooth GPS receivers and trackers. Of particular interest was a Bluetooth GPS which includes a TMC receiver. It was not clear if the FM antenna for the TMC data was internal or required to be connected externally. To use the combined GPS/TMC receiver you would need to use software like Destinator 7 or iGO which are capable of decoding TMC information sent over the NMEA datastream.

Then there was an extremely thin Bluetooth GPS receiver. Then the BT-689 Bluetooth GPS which looks like a replacement for the tried and trusted BT-338. Next was the BT-335 a Bluetooth GPS with datalogger capabilities. This has the same form factor as the current BT-338. Globalsat are producing OEM BT GPS devices for RIM. On display was a Blackberry branded version of the BT-359. The final BT-GPS we were shown was the smallest one Globalsat have produced. Approximately the size of my index finger it was difficult to see how they could fit all the electronics, a battery and the GPS antenna into such a small package

Moving on to trackers Globalsat were showing a "Black Box" solution the TR-150/151 which would be permanently installed in a vehicle with an external GPS antenna. Then there was the replacement for the TR-101/102 the TR-203. This has a much improved design, and looks more like a functional piece of hardware rather than the original devices.


Globalsat
Globalsat's TR-203 personal tracker

The Globalsat BT GPS/TMC receiver
The Globalsat BT GPS/TMC receiver

The Globalsat slim BT GPS receiver
The Globalsat slim BT GPS receiver

The Globalsat new BT GPS receiver
The Globalsat new BT GPS receiver

The Globalsat BT-335 GPS receiver and data logger
The Globalsat BT-335 GPS receiver and data logger

The Globalsat TR-150 GPS tracker
The Globalsat TR-150 GPS tracker

Globalsat
Globalsat's smallest BT GPS receiver


Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, June 11 @ 13:08:45 EDT


Qstarz launch the BT-Q1000 Travel Recorder


I reviewed the Qstarz BTQ-818 some time ago and was most impressed with the performance of the MTK chipset. Qstarz have now developed a datalogger using the same high performance chipset. The "Double 32: Bluetooth Travel recorder allows both connection to a PDA/phone/laptop for navigation at the same time as recording your journey to memory.

The track log can be downloaded into a computer and converted to Google Earth format. Allowing you to share your journey with friends. You can also use the log in conjunction with freely available software to geo-reference your digital photos. This allows you to create a picture blog using Google Earth.

The BT-Q1000 also has a button to allow you to record a specific location as an explicit POI.

Also on display was a new light, slim and sensitive Bluetooth GPS the BT-Q844. This has a nice soft touch casing, and is really slim. Using a new 44 channel MTK chipset this GPS is ideally suited for pairing with a mobile phone.

Also on display was an updated Solar Powered GPS Receiver. This is a big leap ahead in terms of styling from the original BT-Q858 and once again uses the MTK chipset, with a claimed navigation time of 50 hours using the internal rechargeable battery and the solar panel.


The Qstarz GPS Travel Recorder
The Qstarz GPS Travel Recorder

The Qstarz GPS Travel Recorder
The Qstarz GPS Travel Recorder

The Qstarz GPS BT-Q844
The Qstarz GPS BT-Q844

The Qstarz GPS BT-Q844
The Qstarz GPS BT-Q844

The Qstarz Solar GPS BT-Q858
The Qstarz Solar GPS BT-Q858


Article by Mike Barrett on Friday, June 08 @ 06:03:58 EDT


Supa Technology were demonstrating the GT3000 tracker


Supa Technology have been developing trackers for some time now, and if you have been following our visits to tradeshows you will have noticed them appearing with tracking devices. Today they showed us the GT3000 a tracking system that connects via GSM sms messages to the internet or a PDA.

The GT3000 tracker is based on SiRFStarIII technology and has a built in emergency phone. The system has a built in SOS button and can store up to 1440 entries in the datalog. It can also be used to create a geo-fence alerting you when the GPS moves outside a set position. (Useful if you leave your car in a place where it may get stolen).

One good feature of the GT3000 system is that there is no call centre required. All the software needed to control and display the position of the tracker is supplied.


The Supa Technology GT3000 GPS Tracker system
The Supa Technology GT3000 GPS Tracker system

The Supa Technology GT3000 GPS Tracker system
The Supa Technology GT3000 GPS Tracker system


Article by Mike Barrett on Wednesday, June 06 @ 07:23:25 EDT


The RoyalTek RGM-3800 Datalogger with Photo Geo-referencing


RoyalTek were displaying the RGP-3800 Bluetooth GPS and Data logger. The device runs off 2 AAA sized batteries and weighs in at a mere 50g or about 2oz. Not only can this device be used as a Bluetooth GPS receiver it also records where you have been as a set of data points.

This track record can be downloaded to a computer back at home and with some special software can match up the data in the track to any photos that you took on your digital camera during your travels.

Each digital picture file contains some additional information that is not part of the image. This includes things such as the date and time, the camera make, the focal length of the lens, the exposure details etc. There is also information of the Lat/Lon position where the picture was taken. Normally this lat/lon field is empty as very few cameras have built in GPS, but if you have a GPS track then you can match the time in the track to the time the picture was taken and then update the location information in the image. Simple and effective. These pictures can then be used by all sorts of geo-aware applications such as Google earth.


The RoyalTek RGM-3800 Datalogger and GPS
The RoyalTek RGM-3800 Datalogger and GPS


Article by Mike Barrett on Wednesday, June 06 @ 07:11:14 EDT


San Jose Navigation show the GC-101 Tracking Device


San Jose showed us what they claim is the smallest tracking device in the world. With a SiRFStar III chipset it supports "real time" positioning tracking via both GSM and GPRS.

The GC-101 is a GPS tracking device that is self contained, light, portable and user friendly. It comes in a range of colours and allows your position to be displayed either as an SMS message on your cell phone, or as a map using a web page.


The San Jose GC-101 GPS tracker
The San Jose GC-101 GPS tracker

The San Jose GC-101 GPS tracker
The San Jose GC-101 GPS tracker

The San Jose GC-101 GPS tracker
The San Jose GC-101 GPS tracker


Article by Mike Barrett on Wednesday, June 06 @ 06:23:13 EDT


The Computex Opening Ceremony


The opening ceremony was held on monday night at the Taiwan World Trade Centre. The importance of the Computex tradefair was highlighted by the fact that the Vice Minister of Economic Affairs and the Mayor of Taipei were both present.

There were 25 "best of show" awards spread across 11 different industry sectors. It was interesting to see that of the 25 no less than 3 were GPS products. There was the Eten X800 PocketPC Phone, the GEOSAT AVL tracker, and the MIO C720T SatNav. All in all a good representation for the GPS and Navigation industry.


The Taiwan Minister of Economic Affairs
The Taiwan Minister of Economic Affairs

The Best of Show winners
The Best of Show winners

The Eten X800
The Eten X800

The GEOSAT AVL
The GEOSAT AVL

The MIO C720T
The MIO C720T


Article by Mike Barrett on Wednesday, June 06 @ 02:38:15 EDT


Orion Speedtrac GPS Tracker


ORION Technology specialise in AVL products and were showcasing their Speedtrac and Easytrac GPS Trackers. The Speedtrac is an all-in-one vehicle tracking device that has uses in tracking and security. Equipped with SiRFStarIII and a Tri-Band GSM/GPRS module from Siemens it also contains built-in GPS and GSM antennas which allow simple installation and recovery of the unit. It also has an IP-67 rated waterproof enclosure.

The Easytrac device differs in that it is designed for permanent installation in a vehicle and consequently requires an external power supply and external antennas.


Orion SPEEDTRAC
Orion SPEEDTRAC


Article by Darren Griffin on Tuesday, June 05 @ 11:00:03 EDT


Leadtek LR 8M03 LBS Tracker


The catchy name given to Leadtek's Tracker belies a device that is actually rather neat. Equipped with a 128x64 pixel OLED display this device is intended for personal positioning and emergency reporting. To facilitate this it can transmit its coordinates via SMS or GPRS. In common with other similar devices the 8M03 can also function as a basic mobile phone and can be configured with four quick dial numbers. It's SirFStarIII chipset should ensure optimum satellite reception and a GeoFence faciity allows it to send an alert if it leaves a pre-defined area.

Although such devices have yet to catch on in large numbers I think that these will become standard issue to children, indeed a news item on the BBC today discussed the fears that parents have and the generation of cotton wool kids we are rearing such devices could allow us to let them have a bit more independence.


The Leadtek personal tracker
The Leadtek personal tracker


Article by Darren Griffin on Tuesday, June 05 @ 10:50:36 EDT


Eten X800 - PocketPC Phone with GPS


Winner of the Communications Category in the 'Best Choice' awards was Eten's X800 PocketPC Smartphone. Described as the 'thinnest 3.5G all-in-one phone' at only 18.5mm thick it has an air of quality about it.

The feature set is also impressive with a lengthy feature list that includes HSDPA, WiFi, BT, VGA Screen, 256MB Flash Memory, Windows Mobile 6 and of course a SirFStarIII Chipset equipped with SiRF's InstantFix utility and an FM TMC receiver.


Eten X800
Eten X800


Article by Darren Griffin on Tuesday, June 05 @ 10:35:44 EDT


First Day Over!


Well the first day is nearly over. In a very humid and at times very wet Taipei we've managed to cover most of the stands in the four Halls of Computex 2007 and we'll try and bring you the highlights in the blog here. Certainly GPS Datalogging and Vehicle Tracking were the main applications that stood out. As far as GPS receivers and PNDs are concerned there was very little that stood out.

Interestingly the 'Best Choice of Computex' awards this year featured three GPS products, Mitac's C720T PND, Geosat's AVL (Automatic Vehicle Locator) LGG and Eten's X800 GPS equipped PocketPC Phone.


Day One
Hall 1


Article by Darren Griffin on Tuesday, June 05 @ 09:56:04 EDT



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