What's in store
for GPS and Pocket PC in 2003 and beyond ?
January 1st 2003
Well 2002 has been a great year both for
the Pocket PC market, and for GPS. In 2000 and 2001 we only had
a handful of Pocket PC manufacturers, last year (is it really last
year ?) 2002 shows double, nearly treble the amount of Pocket PC
manufacturers come onto the scene, including very large PC
manufacturers like Dell and Toshiba, which only means one thing.
The Pocket PC and future incarnations are here to stay, and in a very
I've always been interested in GPS, but
for those who really know me I have only recently dived into Pocket PC GPS
a year ago), in December 2001.
When I was looking for my new Pocket PC
in September of 2001 I was interested in one thing, in-car navigation.
Could I find anything out there to fit my needs ? Of course not!
There were two choices in the UK at that time that I could find on the
internet, the Pretec CF Card and the Navman
3000 sleeve. I chose the latter and this forced me into dropping
my trusty Casio's and plumping for the Compaq iPAQ which I truly had
loathed until that time. There really wasn't any good GPS
software around for street navigation which is what I was really
interested in. I had completed a lot of business travelling in
2000 and 2001 and decided I needed something that could get me in and out of a
city and know exactly where I was rather than having to rely on
AutoRoute printouts or A-Z map books.
Things have sure changed in this past
year. I created my first review for Daron Brewood (aka TekGuru) and Kevin
Tea (aka PDA Pro) back in
December 2001 which was the original Navman 3000 with SmartPath Trips
and City. Six months on from this, and joining many GPS Pocket PC
groups I realised others were experiencing the exact same problems I
was, I decided to do something about this, and after talking to
several other users who were experiencing the same problems, we
decided we would start Pocket GPS. We really didn't think in 6
months we would get the following we have, or the support from the GPS
community. We've been literally inundated with hardware and
software to test, which really has turned Pocket GPS into a full time
job for many of us, especially Mike and myself who have been churning
review out after review. Many a time I find myself receiving an
instant message from Mike saying he's testing the latest GPS product
on the way to the pub via whilst using his GPRS phone! Then
receive a message when he's at the pub saying he arrived safely, and
the GPS got him there in one piece! ;-). Low and behold, what you now see is the
net result of all our hard work here at Pocket GPS, which has now
become the most popular Pocket PC and GPS related website in 2002 and
our website stats have simply soared through the roof!
What has 2002 brought us ?
2002 has been very good to us, we've seen major
software GPS product releases like Navman releasing SmartST Pro both in Europe
and in the United States of America.
We've also seen TomTom
upgrade it's current offering of RoutePlanner and CityMaps to TomTom
Navigator for Europe. TomTom recently upgraded CityMaps to the 2003
edition, which surprised most of us making it look more like
TravRoute also released Pocket CoPilot 3.5 UK and very
recently in time for Christmas the 3.5 European edition, the new EMTAC
GPS Sleeve which is already starting to see current Navman users
upgrade to the new sleeve, oh and not forgetting Pocket CoPilot 3 US!
We've also seen very recently PowerLOC
Destinator 2 being released with it's nice new 3D drive view, and
Mapopolis coming to Europe. EVO have managed to get it's new
release of Memory Map and 2003 maps out of the door in time for
Christmas (just). There are also several other GPS products that
will be hitting the stores in early 2003, and 2003 proves already to
be an even greater year with tons of more excitement on tap for us.
Lets not forget in 2002 we also saw some great new
hardware available for the Pocket PC including Leadtek 9531 SiRF
I, SiRFII and the 9532 which will be due out in 2003, Garmin GPSMap 76 and 76S, EMTAC Compact Flash Card, EMTAC New Sleeve, EMTAC
Bluetooth Receiver, Pretec Low Power CF Card, and many more!
The past year really has seen many more products than
we can count and remember being
released, so we're sorry if we've left your product out here.
All of this shows that GPS and Pocket PC's have become intertwined and
their destiny together is a bright one.
So what does 2003 hold for us, and GPS
users alike ? Or 2004 or 2005 for that matter ? Well my
personal belief is that Tablet PC's will take off. Since running
a Palm III and then switching to colour Palm Size PC's running CE2,
I've always longed for a tablet PC. Not in the sense that
Microsoft has now created (which really is a laptop and a swivel
touch screen), I've longed for a Pocket PC screen
twice the size in height and width, running Pocket PC operating
system. Ultra thin, in a way, something like we used to see
sitting on Jean-Luc Picard's desk on Star Trek The Next Generation.
This is what I've longed for, and I think if the Tablet PC's take off,
we're going to see the Pocket PC go in one of two ways, either back to
a handheld style (smaller laptop) landscape style display, or to a mini tablet, and
I'd bet my money on the latter.
So how's this going to benefit us with
GPS ? I think the manufacturer fitted in-car navigation systems are
eventually going to die of
death within a couple of years. The only people who are
realistically purchasing these are people who can afford £1000-£2000
in-car systems, and most of this probably falls under Company Execs or
Road Warrior Sales Directors. Nobody in their right mind is
going to pay upwards to £2000 for an in-car system that just gives you
arrows on which way to turn, has no voice navigation and no or very
little maps. I think when company execs see the Pocket PC and
GPS, they'll be realistically rolling it out to their sales staff and
higher up execs who travel a lot. Sure some of the more expensive
in-car systems may equal
the systems we're running on the Pocket PC, but nothing much better
than this. The Pocket PC screen really is too small. We've managed to do a lot with it, but we need a bigger screen.
Firstly in 2003 I think we're going to see GPS programs for the Pocket
PC that will have built in landscape support allowing you to turn the
Pocket PC on it's side and fit more on screen. Secondly and this
will probably be more into 2004 or 2005, we're going to see the Tablet
Pocket PC. This will allow manufacturers to have a Tablet PC or
in-car. Vauxhall and many other companies have on board
computers and a heads up dash display unit, the new Vauxhall Vectra has over 30 check points, and it will even
tell you your tire pressures on the HUD. I think a Tablet Pocket PC sitting
on the dash would be good, and if Microsoft positions itself alongside
the current Pocket PC manufacturers and the motor industry like it's
started doing with the mobile phone manufacturers, we'll see these
entering in-car and sitting on our dashboards in the near future, or perhaps even on
swivel mounts. If we can get these in-car from the purchase of a
new car out of the showroom, running Microsoft CE based operating
system, then we've got a large chance of being able to load GPS
software onto these. Wouldn't that be so cool ?
Jumping back to reality slightly and
back to 2003, I think voice navigation systems will become more of a
standard system. A black box sitting under the dash with no
screen will be able to direct you to the destination of your choice by
giving you voice commands.
Now you may be able to program these
manually, or load your destination in from a PC/laptop and program
your favourite destinations. Now there's already one device that
will be available in 2003 for this, and more will come, mark my words!
What about Radar Detector's ?
We've already seen in 2002 the Road Angel and Geodesy that gives
support for both radar and GPS in the same unit. This is truly
the way to go. I think in the annual 2003/2004 product releases from
GPS software houses, we're going to see more radar databases built
in. TrafCam has already created a great Pocket PC Blackspot
database in 2002 both on the
Palm and on the Pocket PC, and I think it would be foolish for this to
be ignored. It's something the market is crying out for, an
Now I could quite easily see in 2004/2005 a
new EMTAC model that would be a partnership between EMTAC and Target/Beltronics
who make the Euro 550 Radar detector in Europe to produce the worlds first Bluetooth GPS receiver and Radar Detector
all in-one. It's certainly possible today, the technology is
already here, it just needs to be integrated into a single box!
The EMTAC would have
to be made a little larger, perhaps the size of a Pocket PC, but
there's no reason why it couldn't be achieved, and if EMTAC's R&D
department have their heads switched on, I'm sure they've already
considered this for the drawing board!
One thing we solely miss even in today's
society is multiple cigarette (sorry Accessory) sockets in-car.
Why is it the car manufacturers won't support this ? And oh god
why do they support these horrible little plugs which keep springing
out when you go over a bump ? Let's see a reform and at least
see a 4-way block in-car that has a rigid 3-pin socket/plug like we
have in-house in the UK, which will lock firmly into position and not
budge. They could even have 1 or 2 of the current accessory
sockets built into this extension block. Why don't we have these
? I suppose where do they go ? Personally, my current
8-way blocks go under the seats, so why couldn't it be concealed this
way out of view ? Okay, why do we need more than one socket
On a good day I will run my Radar
Detector, 3x Pocket PC's, 2xGPS Mice, FM Transmitter in-car oh and my
MP3 player. That's 8 devices! I have two four-way
accessory socket's stashed under the seat, that is split with a 2-way
block. This is the only way I can run all the devices I want
in-car. I travel 2 hours a day, most of which are motorway
driving, and this totally recharges my battery so I have no need to
worry about power drain on my car battery.
Integrated Mobile Phones
I think 2003 will show more integrated
Mobile Technology in the form of the Pocket PC's coming with
integrated mobile telephones as standard. It's still an apples
and oranges category. You either like it or you loath it.
Pocket PC's supporting Bluetooth, GPRS,
3G should become the standard over the next year for the Pocket PC,
and I think we'll start to see more of these being sold, with more
products and manufacturers coming out of the woodwork.
A Pocket PC with GPS and GPRS/Bluetooth
has a great potential for new online services as we originally wrote
in our Wap Tech
article earlier this year. Being able to purchase tickets for
car parks, electronically knowing exactly where you are, and being
diverted into the space you've booked would be a great use of this
technology. This can still happen in multi-storey and
underground car-parks with specific GPS re-rad repeaters setup at
Traffic News and GPS Re-Routing
One thing we have already seen announced
in November of 2002 was TeamWarrior's and TravRoute's alliance with
Pocket LiveWire. This in the UK brings a rich internet like
service together with News, Weather and Sport, and also AA Roadwatch
services. When you plot your journey from A to B, LiveWire will
watch over your journey, using the latest GPRS technology connected to
a mobile telephone, it will automatically check on a preset
regular basis, and see if there are any accidents, or hold-ups on or
near roads you are travelling on, and if there is, it will prompt you
on screen and allow you to make the decision to ignore the incident or
allow for re-routing to take place around this incident. We're
going to see more features and services like LiveWire throughout 2003
and hopefully the latter part of 2003 and into 2004 should see many
more services in other countries.
I for one am excited about services like
these, they can only enhance the GPS experiencing we're currently
seeing in street mapping and routing, and I'm sure providing service
costs are kept low enough, they will take off and become as popular as
GPS is starting to become on the Pocket PC.
Something that has been talked about a
lot over at
PocketPC Thoughts is HUD or Heads Up Display. There are now
wearable devices, albeit rather expensive that can be used with PC's
and Laptops, and the market looks quite promising for the Pocket PC
and PDA scene. Think how this could enhance GPS experienced, by
having a see-through screen that flips over one eye that still allows
you to watch the road, but have a map appear in front of you ?
I already have several pairs of Olympus
Eye-Trek glasses which are for film, TV and DVD which gives you two
2.5 inch screens (one for each eye) which equates to watching a 52"
television screen at 1.5 meters away. In the top of the range
FMD-700 you get high resolution output from a PC, although quality at
800x600 is still quite poor for reading text. Sony and other
companies have followed Olympus' lead and have created their own sets
of glasses. Although they tend to be pretty big and bulky, you
get the idea that the technology is there and certainly possible with
chip technology getting smaller by the day.
Although I don't think we'll see
anything at consumer prices within the next year, perhaps we might in
2005 and with the standardisation of SDIO ?
should we be looking for in GPS products in 2003 ?
Voice Navigation is one of my pet
peeves. Most of the Voice Navigation loudness in most of the
products that are available today are just plainly not loud enough, at
least not for motorway driving. I don't drive a sports car, but
I drive an Astra Coupe which has sports tuned suspension, rides very
low to the ground and picks up lots of road noise through the tires,
and I find most Voice Navigation systems get drowned out, especially
if I have the car stereo on too. TomTom Navigator really is the
only one that I can honestly say is loud enough. Voice
Navigation also needs to be refined, TravRoute in a partnership with
Fonix have produced true spoken words and road names. This needs
to be included into many more street navigation products.
Although I'd like to see this happening in 2003, I still think this
probably won't be seen wild scale until 2004.
One thing Pocket GPS and readers have
lobbied for in 2002 is seamless routing, providing a complete country
wide map, and we have seen country wide maps available now in Navman
SmartST Pro, TomTom Navigator and Pocket CoPilot. These need to
be available in all products, and there really isn't any reason why it
cannot be achieved, the only physical limitation is storage space, and
most people now have at least 128mb storage cards, so let's make this
happen! The thing that really does need to be addressed in 2003
is seamless routing. This is where you can route between two
sectional maps, and not have to manually change maps (like you do for
instance in PowerLOC Destinator 2). If we can have seamless
sectional maps and be able to do address lookups in multiple maps,
then this could cut down on storage requirements.
One thing we should always be looking
for is better and more accurate mapping data and I've probably just
heard a cheer from every person reading this into GPS! This although
pretty good, still has a long way to go. There are far too many
problems with mapping data from many of the top geodata companies, and
this needs to be addressed. This is something we've tried to do
via the forums at Pocket GPS and feed this back to the relevant
software manufacturers, and pressure does need to be applied to have
this data sent back to companies like NavTech and TeleAtlas to
rectify. In-Car systems do not appear to have the problems we
experience with maps if they are kept up to date, so why should we put
up with an inferior product ?
By 2005 we really should be looking for
a Tablet style Pocket PC in-car, running Microsoft embedded operating
systems, allowing us to have our full workload list, diary, contacts,
GPS navigation, on a much larger screen, without having to install
some of these large or cumbersome mounts onto our dashboard.
should be looking for at least a new style power socket for the car,
preferably on an extension block, personally I would like to see the
same style block you get in the home, but with a built in AC/DC
switcher. This way you could easily take your laptop into the
car and plug it in without having to worry if it's AC or DC current.
We should also be looking a larger touch screens for in-car, and
integrated wireless radar/gps receivers in one unit. Wifi and
Bluetooth is fine for in the home, but this sort of wireless
technology we are going to find more useful in-car and this is where
it will truly excel!
Okay now, back to reality once more,
we're now at the start of 2003. I do hope a lot of manufacturers
that we know that read our website will be reading this in the New
Year, and will take
this document back to their R&D teams to look at. The future is here!
there's so much we can do with the technology we have today, let's put
our minds together, share information and accelerate the use of GPS on
the Pocket PC in the coming months to enable this to happen!
In 2002 many of you have come to rely heavily on Pocket
GPS being the main Pocket PC and GPS related resource out their for
the latest breaking news and reviews. What does 2003 bring ?
Exactly the same as 2002!
We hope to still be able to bring you the latest news
when it hits the Pocket PC and GPS scene, the latest Press Releases
from the leading manufacturers and award winning companies you've seen
products from this year, more reviews of both Pocket PC GPS devices
and handheld GPS devices, all that you've come to expect from us in
2002 and much much more. In late 2002 we started delving into
the handheld GPS market, and this will be carried through to 2003
reviewing most of the Garmin and Magellan range of GPS Receivers with
help from both of these companies and our sponsors.
All of us at Pocket GPS will endeavour to bring you the
leading World Class Website and Technical Support that you've come to
expect from us in 2002. We do still need your help though!
As always, if you have any suggestions that you would
like to see at Pocket GPS in the coming months or years, or have an
article or review you've written, or would like to commence writing
of, please drop us a note in the comments section of this article as
we're always looking to add new features, reviews, information to the
website you like the best!
Pocket GPS will also be looking to expand into other
countries, if you have a passion for GPS like we do, and are prepared
to contact GPS products in you're own country, review the latest
products in short timescales, and produce great reviews and articles
for Pocket GPS, get in touch with us, as we will be looking to expand
Thanks for all your support in 2002, and we hope
2003 will be a cracker of a year!
Thanks from all the Pocket GPS Team
Dave, Darren, Duncan, Kevin, Mike
|Here's just a handful of kind words
some of you have sent us
"you guys are top of the top GPS info site in europe!"
"Thanks guys for bringing us a great website!"
"just to say that I think you and the guys do a great job. You are
obvious candidates for merchandising the stuff via the web. If I was a
manufacturer I'd be keen to talk. Good luck and if you need a
reference you've got one!"
"I'm new to your site and am really impressed. It's great!"
"Thanks very much. great website and forum"
"By the way thanks for a really great site"
"First of all let me say what a great site you have here."
"Thanks for the site, Fantastic job!"
"Great idea for a website hope things go well for you."
"Myself and the other guys I know who use GPS are all avid fans of the
"By the way your site is extremely useful and I wish I had seen it
before I had obtained my own GPS system; it might have saved me weeks
"Firstly may I congratulate you on a fantastic web-site. Whilst the
web may be overwhelmed by sites that are at best misguided and at
worst uninformative, Pocket GPS is well constructed, easily navigated
and has a wealth of accurate and trusted content. Well done."
"What a great site I have passed you on to several of my friends."
"I am a Microsoft MVP/Mobile Devices (Most Valuable Professional) and
I am very active on the Italian newsgroup microsoft.public.it.pocketpc
I follow your site from day 1 and I don't miss a chance to recommend
it to the users of the Italian newsgroups. You (and your team) rock!
You are making a great work and providing a great service to the
community. Thank you!"
Cifani (Mobile Devices MVP)
"May I say how much I enjoy your site."
"Thanks for that, Dave. you are doing a great job with this site - I
really appreciate it"
everyone both here, in the forums and via email who thank us for what
we do on a daily basis, it really is appreciated!!! Don't forget
to spread the word of Pocket GPS to everyone you know and anyone you
meet! Also stop buy and sign our guest book and let other
visitor's here know what how good the website is!
"What else to say, great site, keep on the great
"A fantastic site of considerable resource and reference. I pay a
visit to pocketgpsworld.com at least once daily to catch up on the
forums. A must see site for PPC/GPS owners. Keep up the good work."
"I decided to become a mobile GPS user back in the Summer and I
found this site invaluable while I was making my product choice. Since
becoming a user it's been more than helpful having a group of people
who offer such sound advice in times of difficulty. I particularly
like the fact that even the questions that are "obvious" to the
experienced user are answered in a sensible manner. Thanks a lot. "
web site is one of, if not the most informative sites I have
ever come across for providing useful information of a subject that is
new to me."
"You really do have the best Pocket GPS
site on the web, believe me, I've tried in vain to find anything
close. I thought I was a gadget geek, but you really take the cake! "