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3GSM 2007 World Congress : Barcelona, Spain

The 3GSM conference is taking place in Barcelona, Spain from the 12th to the 15th of February. Over the years 3GSM has become more and more of an important event in the PocketGPSWorld.com calendar. With the emergence of connected devices and converging technologies the PDA is slowly dying and being replaced by SmartPhones some of which have 3G, WiFi, and GPS all integrated into a PDA sized device.

Nokia have brought navigation to the fore by buying the Berlin based mapping company Gate5, and have recently announced free mapping using the Gate5 Smart2Go navigation application on compatible devices. With the biggest hand held device manufacturer in the world backing GPS SatNav there is only one direction this market is going and that is UP!!

Once again I have been invited by Navteq to be one of the Judges in the Navteq LBS awards where a number of finalists present solutions involving mapping, GPS and specific localised knowledge. The Judging takes place over the weekend leaving me free to walk the halls on the opening day, something I was unable to do last year.

As usual I do have a slight crisis on my hands: I don't have a hotel room for Monday or Tuesday, and all the rooms in Barcelona are booked... This could leave me either coming home early or finding a kind person to share with for the night... Lets see how things work out!

If you would like me to ask any exhibitor a question please post it in this forum or use the forum to discuss items in the blog.

Created by Mike Barrett on Friday, February 09 @ 10:24:38 UTC

Nokia 6110 Navigator in action

Yesterday I had the chance to talk one to one with the Navigation team from Nokia. In an hour long session I was taken out in the Nokia car around the streets of Barcelona for a demonstration of the new 6110 Navigator. I had seen the device at a distance in the press conference on Monday, but I was now to be one of the first people to get my hands on a device to see it in action.

Unlike the N95 which also has built in GPS functionality this phone is targeted at the mass market, but not only that Nokia insiders suggest that most of the series 60 phones that will be released this year will also have built in GPS technology. Although they stopped short when I asked the number of new phones and if all of them would be GPS enabled the future looks good for connected GPS devices.

The demonstration of the 6110 Navigator was as would be expected very successful. Although Barcelona does not have the urban canyons that are experienced in New York there are still plenty of high rise buildings and narrow streets, the Navigator performed faultlessly drawing in a strong signal even in the depths of the rear seat of the car. The Nokia 6610 Navigator has a dedicated button to launch the navigator showing the thought put in to the design of the device. One of the issues with navigation applications is the performance of the device's power supply with GPS running as well as the GSM and screen. The team estimate a battery life of 3-4 hours for in-car applications the phone can be powered from the cigar lighter adapter.

The 6610 works straight out of the box. the navigation application is pre-installed with the maps of your country/region, and additional maps are provided on a DVD. These additional maps do require payment and activation, but at least you do get them and dont have to find a retailer to get additional data.

Options available include a car mount and power adapter enabling it to be used in the car. Interestingly although the name emblazoned on the mount is Nokia, the mount is actually made by Herbert Richter in Germany. This means that if the windscreen mount is not your preferred method of locating the device in the car you can choose from a range of mounting solutions from HR.

One surprise was the selection of Route66 as the navigation application on the device, particularly as Nokia have their own navigation application. I was informed that the 6110 Navigator had been in development and production before the purchase of Gate5.

One of the first questions that we always ask when looking at a GPS device is: "What chipset are you using?". When I put this question to Nokia I met with a stone wall... We are not telling you they said. I pointed out that I may be tempted to take my review sample to pieces and find out myself, but that still didnt get a reply. Anyway asking about a bit it turns out that they are using the Texas Instruments chipset. I feel a trip to the TI stand coming on today...

The Nokia 6110 Navigator is probably the highlight of the 3GSM week for me. Not specifically for what is is, but more for the message that it sends out for the future. Nokia have taken a view of the potential market, and invested in a navigation company last year. This year they introduce the n95 a high end smartphone (sorry we have to call these multimedia computers now) with integrated GPS. Now with the launch of a mass market device with navigation the real start of GPS as a core technology and navigation as a must-have lifestyle enhancement is here. The explosion of SatNav PNDs (installed base in the low millions) will pale into insignificance over the next year or two when GPS smartphones go SuperNova (Nokia talk about 100 million units a year!!!)

The Nokia 6610 Navigator demonstratror in Barcelona
The Nokia 6610 Navigator demonstratror in Barcelona

The Nokia 6610 Navigator demonstratror in Barcelona
The Nokia 6610 Navigator demonstratror in Barcelona

The Nokia 6610 Navigator in action
The Nokia 6610 Navigator in action

The Nokia 6610 Navigator in action
The Nokia 6610 Navigator in action

The Nokia 6610 Navigator in action
The Nokia 6610 Navigator in action

The Nokia 6610 Navigator car mount
The Nokia 6610 Navigator car mount

Article by Mike Barrett on Wednesday, February 14 @ 09:33:31 UTC

and the Navteq LBS Challenge 2007 winner is...

Well the wait is over. On Sunday a selection of industry specialists from a broad range of backgrounds scrutinised this year's entries in the 2007 Navteq LBS Challenge. Today the results were announced at the LBS Challenge award ceremony by Winston Guillory and Serge Bussat.

The category winners were:

Social Networking section was won by AtlasCT with an application allowing Photo blogging with geo location and track display.
Business Applications section was won by SmarterAgent with an application allowing a user to locate and identify property for sale or rent.
Navigation section was won by Jentro with an off board navigation system with text to speech and dynamic traffic flow data.

The overall winner of the European LBS Challenge was Jentro with Active Pilot.

All the entries for this years final showed new and innovative ways of interfacing location information enriching the users experience and highlighting the possibilities of the intelligent solutions that will one day be built into our connected lifestyles.

The LBS Challenge winners
The LBS Challenge winners

Winston introduces the LBS Challenge winners
Winston introduces the LBS Challenge winners

Hemant Madan Director of Nokia Forum sponsors the LBS Challenge
Hemant Madan Director of Nokia Forum sponsors the LBS Challenge

LBS Challenge category winner SmarterAgent
LBS Challenge category winner SmarterAgent

LBS Challenge winner ActivePilot
LBS Challenge winner ActivePilot

LBS Challenge category winner AtlasCT
LBS Challenge category winner AtlasCT

Article by Mike Barrett on Tuesday, February 13 @ 20:16:41 UTC

ALK launch CoPilot for the Blackberry

Today ALK increased the number of devices it runs on by launching CoPilot 7 on the Blackberry Smartphones. This application includes:

Full featured voice-guided GPS navigation with clear colourful mapping for BlackBerry® devices
Detailed NAVTEQ maps with over 1 million Points of Interest and full UK postcodes
Easy destination entry via house number, street or BlackBerry® address book contact
Plus of course all the other features of the CoPilot 7 system announced on Monday.

The following is the ALK Press release:

ALK Technologies announces CoPilot Live GPS navigation for BlackBerry

Full-featured GPS navigation with integrated fleet management and tracking for the latest BlackBerry® smartphones, including the BlackBerry® Pearl™ and the new GPS-ready BlackBerry® 8800™.

Full featured voice-guided GPS navigation with clear colourful mapping for BlackBerry® devices.

Server-based navigation. Latest maps and Points of Interest are downloaded rapidly over the mobile data network each trip.

Integrated Safety Camera alerts and traffic warnings.

Detailed NAVTEQ maps with over 1 million Points of Interest and full UK postcodes.

Individual real-time Internet location tracking as standard. Optional FleetCenter™ multivehicle tracking and management.

Easy destination entry via house number, street or BlackBerry® address book contact

February 13th 2007, 3GSM World Congress, Barcelona. ALK Technologies today announced CoPilot® Live™ GPS navigation software for the latest BlackBerry® devices, supporting both the BlackBerry® Pearl™ and the new GPS-ready BlackBerry® 8800™. CoPilot® Live BlackBerry Edition is the first server-based "off-board" CoPilot navigation system from ALK, and reflects the company's ambition of making premium, full-featured GPS navigation available for the widest possible range of phones and devices.

CoPilot Live transforms a BlackBerry® into a powerful satellite navigation system, complete with clear voice guidance, detailed street mapping and powerful route calculation. Maps are downloaded automatically to the phone during a journey via the mobile internet and complete door to door trips are calculated in seconds
on the device.

Entering destinations is made simple with a choice of full UK postcode, house number, street or a BlackBerry address book contact. Home and work locations can be saved for easy one-touch navigation to the most commonly visited places.

As with all CoPilot navigation systems, CoPilot Live BlackBerry Edition's driver safety mode is designed to avoid distraction when out on the road by only displaying a map on the approach to a turn, at which point a colourful auto-zoom map shows the way ahead. If a turn is missed during the journey CoPilot works out the best new route in seconds, while an instant detour button can find an immediate route around unexpected congestion.

Out on the road does not mean out of touch. CoPilot Live BlackBerry Edition incorporates location-specific Live services that provide useful information to drivers and enabling safe interaction with others. Traffic information is delivered directly into CoPilot Live via the mobile internet, offering the choice to avoid or ignore reported incidents. Real-time location tracking is included as standard, allowing colleagues, friends
or family to view your location in real-time, send messages and even new destinations directly to CoPilot Live via a secure web site.

For a small monthly subscription, BlackBerry® devices with CoPilot Live navigation can be connected seamlessly to ALK's LBS Challenge award-winning fleet management service FleetCenter™ for multivehicle tracking, messaging, job despatch and reporting a simple web interface. Businesses of all sizes can gain real-time visibility and management of mobile assets easily and cost-effectively using mobile

A safety camera warning system is included as standard, with camera locations updated monthly. On-screen and spoken alerts provide warnings on the approach to each camera, encouraging safer driving and reducing the risk of license loss.

Michael Kornhauser, Vice President, Managing Director of ALK Technologies said "now BlackBerry users can experience high quality, feature-packed satellite navigation without needing to invest in additional hardware or a dedicated navigation system. The launch of this off-board version of CoPilot Live is another important milestone in our quest to provide customers with a great navigation experience on the widest range of mobile phones."

CoPilot Live 7 will be initially available for the BlackBerry® Pearl and the new BlackBerry® 8800 with in-built GPS receiver.

Article by Mike Barrett on Tuesday, February 13 @ 19:52:17 UTC

Garmin launch two new Bluetooth Enabled Mobile navigation solutions

We saw the Garmin Mobile 10 and 20 solutions in Las Vegas at CES. These add navigation to your mobile device in one of two ways. The Mobile 10 uses a Bluetooth GPS receiver, whilst the Mobile 20 implements a Bluetooth Cradle and is suited for a car.

I will be visiting the Garmin stand shortly for more details in the mean time here is the Garmin Press Release:

Get sat nav on your smartphone with Garmin

Garmin has today launched a solution to turn Bluetooth wireless technology enabled smartphones, PDAs, BlackBerry® devices and laptops into navigators. The new products will be on show in Europe for the first time at the mobile communications show 3GSM, in Barcelona. The Garmin stand number is number is 7F42 in Hall 7.

Garmin Mobile 10 gives you voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions while showing a moving map on your handset’s display. You also have the ability to access real-time information such as traffic alerts and weather reports. It can be used either in a car or while out and about on foot.

Garmin Mobile 20 has similar features to the Garmin Mobile 10 and is designed to be a simple way to turn your phone into an in-car satellite navigation system. It works by placing your handset into a cradle which can then be mounted onto your dashboard.

Both solutions work with a wide range of handsets. See http:// HYPERLINK "http://www.garmin.com/mobilephones" www.garmin.com/mobilephones

Garmin Mobile 10

Garmin Mobile 10 works by receiving positional data via GPS (Global Positioning System) and communicates this information to mobile devices via Bluetooth wireless technology. To enable this to happen the Garmin Mobile 10 package includes a GPS10x which is a small yet highly sensitive GPS receiver. This comes with a removable clip to make it easy to wear on your belt or use in a car and can be used with smartphones, PDAs, BlackBerry devices and laptops.

Also included is a DVD with Garmin Mobile XT software which provides the menu system to navigate and find points of interest. The City Navigator® NT mapping of North America, Europe or a selected region provides you with the ability to navigate to your selected destination using voice guidance and a 3D map on the phone’s display. These simply have to be downloaded onto a memory card and inserted into your handset.

Alternatively you can choose a package that includes a handset-specific memory card that has pre-programmed mapping and navigation software. This enables the user to simply slot the card in place and navigate straight away.

For those who want to use their Bluetooth enabled laptop as a satellite navigation device, the nRoute navigation software (which comes with the Garmin Mobile 10 package) makes this possible.

Garmin Mobile 20

Garmin Mobile 20 is specifically designed for use in a car or other vehicle. It works by inserting your handset into a specially designed cradle called the GPS 20SM™. In addition to having a built-in high sensitivity GPS receiver, the GPS 20SM smart mount also serves as a Bluetooth hands-free calling kit, phone charger and phone cradle. It is easily mounted to a dashboard or windscreen.

As part of the package different charging cables are provided for a variety of handsets, an automotive mount to attach the Garmin mount to your dashboard and a memory card containing Garmin Mobile XT software and City Navigator NT maps. These are preloaded so all you have to do is slot the card into your handset to get the familiar Garmin menu systems by which to navigate your way around as well as mapping for North America, Europe or your selected region.

The result

Garmin Mobile 10 and Garmin Mobile 20 give owners the same high-quality map and navigation features found on other Garmin automotive GPS devices. You can search for a destination using a full postcode search and choose the shortest or fastest route for your journey. There are voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions with a 3D moving map displayed on your phone. The device also automatically recalculates a route if the driver misses a turn, and it will also notify drivers of their estimated time of arrival.

Both options allow the user to look up millions of points of interest such as restaurants, hotels and petrol stations. There is the capability for you to access real-time traffic information, weather reports, safety camera alerts and more. It is also possible to select a Pedestrian or Car mode in order to get the most appropriate route for your method of travel.

The choice is yours. The Garmin Mobile 10 is ideal if you want to navigate on the go, whether in the car or on foot. If you want a “plug and play” solution for your car without the extra expense of an additional system, the Garmin Mobile 20 provides the perfect solution.

Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, February 12 @ 17:15:51 UTC

Mobiles2Go show GPS tracking devices.

We met mobiles2go last year when they were starting to produce a personal safety product called iKids. This is a GPS enabled tracking system which enables parents to have precise knowledge of the location of their children. Mobiles2go have since expanded their product range to 3 systems all using the same core technologies and infrastructure but with different backend features.

The three products are iKids, a GPS tracking system aimed specifically at keeping tabs on the little ones, though there are some potentially interesting side applications, Block a vechicle tracking system, and MyTrace designed for fleet management or workforce management.

iKids has 4 buttons that can be preprogrammed to specific numbers, and a final one that contacts a 24/7 iKids call centre after trying the 4 pre-programmed contacts. The software not only allow you to locate your kids, but also has the capability to warn you when they cross predefined boundaries known as geo-fences. The iKid device costs about £100 and service charge will be £15.95 a month.

The Block is a little black box that fits "under the hood" in your car once connected up allows you not only to find where your car is, but will also allow you to track where you have travelled. Gone are the days when you park your car and then return to the carpark hours later and cant locate it. All you need is a mobile device with a web browser and you can pinpoint the location (as long as you parked with a GPS fix). This system will cost £140 including a year of service.

The final product is MyTrace. This runs on a PDA or other WM connected device and provides fleet management and workforce management capabilities. This includes milage collation and location reporting. This will be sold through mobile operators at a price to be determined.

All of the above products are configured through a simple to use Internet interface. You simply call up the web page, enter your log in details and you are presented with detailed Navteq mapping where available. If you are traveling to a country that is not currently covered by mobiles2go then the iKids device will return co-ordinates and these can be plugged into a separate mapping application such as Google Maps or Google Earth. PocketGPSWorld.com will be reviewing these products in the near future.

From the sounds of things I need to re-visit mobiles2go tomorrow as they have some new products that they will be announcing at the show.

The iKids GPS tracker
The iKids GPS tracker

The Block GPS tracker
The Block GPS tracker

The mobiles2go GPS tracker software in action
The mobiles2go GPS tracker software in action

The mobiles2go Geofencing
The mobiles2go Geofencing

Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, February 12 @ 14:16:26 UTC

Nokia get serious about Navigation

The Nokia press conference was, not unexpectedly, one of the biggest events of the first day in a packed auditorium Nokia outlined its current news in the mobile market. Not only was the news conference presented to the 500 people in the hall, but was simultaneously broadcast on the web.

The Keynote speech from the Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo focused on the emergance of converged devices rather than PDAs such as the N series and E series smart phones. 80 Million S60 devices shipped by end of 2006. People are seeking conected applications and communications is the key. Nokia will be launching its first WiMAX device early next year. LBS features can soon be tipped to mass market applications.

Navigation was a core part of the keynote. The Nokia N95 was the first GPS integrated device for Nokia. A number of new integrated GPS smartphones will be introduced this year. The 6110 is Nokia's first dedicated navigation device. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said "Navigation and maps will become a standard feature on all Nokia smart phones". Smart2Go launched last week with free mapping for all compatible S60 and Windows Mobile platforms.

For PocketGPSWorld users the most significant announcements were the new 6110 navigator, and the statement of intent regarding Navigation being a an integral part Nokia's growth plans. The 6610 comes complete as a navigation system including mapping. The navigation application is not specified in the press release, neither is the GPS chipset, but the images on the press release indicate that the application is Route 66 rather than their own smart2go software. Other features of the 6100 navigator include HSDPA/EDGE/GSM wireless offering data speed capabilities of up to 3.6Mbps. Video voice calling is available and the device has storage for up to 2Gb, plenty of space for additional maps.

Click here for the Nokia press release.

Amongst the announcements were the Nokia N77 with integrated DVB-H digital TV, allowing you to watch "Live TV when you want it". The N77 is a Series 60 device and will be available in Q2 2007 in countries broadcasting DVB-H. Nokia's CEO stated "The N77 will take live TV out of your living room and into your hand". The DVB-H market size is 5-10 million units in 2008

Nokia Exec face questions at the press conference
Nokia Exec face questions at the press conference

Nokia Exec face questions at the press conference
Nokia Exec face questions at the press conference

The Nokia 6110 Navigator
The Nokia 6110 Navigator

The Nokia 6110 Navigator
The Nokia 6110 Navigator

Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, February 12 @ 11:41:59 UTC

ALK announce CoPilot Live 7 at 3GSM

Hot on the heels of the 12:01 CET Microsoft Announcement of Windows Mobile 6 ALK announce CoPilot 7 on 12th Feb 2007 12:05 at 3GSM Barcelona. It seems like we are not waiting until the start of the exhibition before the announcements start coming in...

The new version of CoPilot 7 will be available around about the second week in March and will support Windows Mobile 6. In fact yesterday I met the guys from ALK who had been installing CoPilot on around about 100 Windows Mobile devices in the Microsoft Demonstration Centre just across the road from the main Exhibition grounds.

During my visit to the construction site of the Microsoft stand I had a sneak preview of CoPilot 7 from David Quinn and Chris Kuruc of ALK. They demonstrated the app on an O2 Orbit on the Microsoft stand, and incredibly the device managed to get a GPS fix in the centre of the hall.

Anyway onto the new software. ALK have given the latest version of their navigation package a real work over. A lot of investment has been put into useability studies of the software in action and this has resulted in a smart looking and responsive new navigation system keyed more into the way users want to operate. Along with the change in the interface workflow the User Interface itself has been completely overhauled. ALK have taken the decision to write directly to the device and bypass the library API calls. This has given them the chance to render the graphics in the manner they want and as a bi-product have at the same time speeded up the drawing of the screen. Gone are the slow and jerky refreshes.

Along with the redesign of the UI CoPilot has a new customisation and skinning capability. CoPilot 7 comes with a number of different colour schemes, but if none of them suit you then you can create your own scheme. On top of the user customisation (or maybe I should say underneath) ALK have modified the way the UI is generated to allow it to be modified by configuration files. This enables it to be easily tailored to the requirements of the carrier or hardware manufacturer. Not only can the colours be modified, but the whole interface can be reconfigured to each specific implementation.

Other improvements include a new PC based application which manages the software, maps and enhancements loaded on the device. This also returns the PC planning function back to the package, something our users have been requesting for some time.

Whilst on the subject of mapping CoPilot 7 will come with the latest Navteq mapping which will include the extended London Congestion Charge Zone.

For more details and the full CoPilot press release click here.

ALK announce CoPilot Live 7
ALK announce CoPilot Live 7

ALK announce CoPilot Live 7
ALK announce CoPilot Live 7

ALK announce CoPilot Live 7
ALK announce CoPilot Live 7

ALK announce CoPilot Live 7
ALK announce CoPilot Live 7

CoPilot Live 7 and Microsoft Windows Media 6
CoPilot Live 7 and Microsoft Windows Media 6

Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, February 12 @ 00:08:40 UTC

Microsoft Announce Windows Mobile 6

12:01 12th February Barcelona Spain.

The long awaited update to Microsoft Windows Mobile 5 named (surprisingly) Windows Mobile 6 has just been announced. I was fortunate to get my hands on a new HTC Smartphone running WM6 this evening, and both the HTC phone and WM6 look great. In the few seconds that I had it in my hands I noticed that there is a new PV Player in the programs menu.

More details will follow shortly as the info comes available from Microsoft. Check out the Microsoft Press Release for more details.

Article by Mike Barrett on Monday, February 12 @ 00:00:16 UTC

Judging is complete in the Navteq 2007 LBS Challenge Competition

Today, Sunday 11th February, saw the cumulation of the judging of the Navteq 2007 European LBS Challenge. Along with a number of other judges from the Mobile and Navigation sectors the finalists of the competition presented their LBS applications. The competition was organised in three categories representing Social Networking, Business Applications, and Navigation.

In the Social Networking there were 3 very different applications covering photo blogging, geo gaming, and tourism.

AtlasCT showed an application which captures a GPS track (from either an integrated GPS or external BT GPS receiver) and also allowed you to take pictures, or notes which were geo-referenced. This data is then transferred to a server where the route is displayed along with the placeholders for the images and notes. Additional images can be added using a conventional camera these will then be inserted into the photo blog based on the timestamp of the image and the time on the GPS track. The back end allows users to send the blogs to friends and family and also export in a different format such as Google Earth. Images can be taken anywhere in the world and displayed in this system. The detail of the map shown will depend on the country the image was taken in. If it is in one of the countries covered by Navteq Mapping then you will get street level detail.

TikGames won the Social Networking category last year, and were back again with another more advanced Geo Game: Interpol: Stolen Artifacts. Basically this is an organised geocache adventure. There are a number of connected stages in the treasure trail, each gives a clue to the location of the next clue, culminating in the winning of the prize... The game is a good example of the integration of mapping, GPS and geo tasks. You can see where you are on a Navteq map downloaded from a central server, navigate to the destination (not turn by turn) and then when you have solved the puzzle you enter the solution. Now here is a clever bit... To stop people cheating the game will only accept the answer to the stage if your GPS location is within a certain tolerance. This has all sorts of interesting applications in the real world, particularly from sponsors, and maybe rewarded city guides and hi-tech educational games.

8Motions presented a mobile tourist application that allows users to contribute to a community city guide project. Rather than provide a formal point to point itinerary 8Motions allows users to create their own content and together with geo-coded images build and share the data with friends and the rest of the community. Also included are buddy functions allowing you to share your location data with your friends in the local vicinity.

In the Business applications section we had entries from Senda, Smarter Agent, and UbiEast. These companies provided some examples of interaction between local communities integrating technology and localisation.

Senda showcased a realtime delivery information service. As a proof of concept the system aggregates data from a number of sources and provides them to the user overlaying Navteq maps. The software looks at next generation data collection and dissemination to the community. Particular examples given were the use of "fluid car monitoring" to provide feedback and enhance the traffic data supplied by official sources. For instance it can determine if you drive through an area at normal speeds when the traffic system is showing delays and reset the traffic system info to actual road conditions. It also provides anonymous feedback about the general flow of traffic. Another application shown was to take information for the car park operators and display availability, allowing you to make an informed decision about where to park when arriving at your destination.

SmarterAgent combines location data with a database of property allowing users to efficiently search for a new home. Essentially in certain areas in Europe and across the USA you can drive to a neighborhood that you would like to live in and start the application. Once loaded it will do a search of its database and display all the properties for sale or rent in the area. The results are displayed in a manner that the properties can be selected and visited externally without the need to involve the agent in charge of the property. This has a number of potential uses as not only does it access current properties available on the market, but historical data too allowing you to make an informed decision about your potential new home.

UbiEast demonstrated an off-board (server based) navigation system. The server based solution allows you to have a thin client on the navigation device with all the processing and decision making taking place on the server. This means that new mapping data can be added at any time ensuring that you always have the latest maps. New and improved system modules can be added at any time without the user needing to install new software etc. UbiNav is a flexible product which has inbuilt friend/buddy features, and amusing computer simulation help system, and the ability to have fleet management in the backend (internet) system.

In the navigation final we had entries from Jentro, Navman, and Sharpmind. All three presented very different and innovative approaches to adding new functionality or features to mobile phones.

Jentro displayed activepilot, an off-board navigation system, capable of being deployed on any java enabled platform. Not only does it have a very light client, but it is also advanced enough to offer text to speech navigation instructions as well. The navigation displays Navteq maps in either 2D or 3D views with a relatively small footprint allowing for quick and small sized maps to be downloaded. Jentro also have a feedback module which passes traffic information back to the server generating dynamic traffic flow data from the community.

Navman are well known to the PocketGPSWorld.com community, but here they were demonstrating some of the lesser known features of the mobile product Mobile Travel Assist as well as the popular NavPix. This uses aggregated data sources to provide not only city guides, but also pertinent travel related information such as finding and displaying flight information for the nearest airports between two locations, this includes identifying not only possible primary airports for the journey, but also possible alternate ones as well.

The last finalist is SharpMind who showed us QuickFinder: "making the most of here and now". The emphasis with QuickFinder is on the now. The application is connected through to a database which has time related information. This means that for a user doing a search for pharmacies can select to show only those that are open. The application has the intelligence to determine which is the closest and what the opening times are. Based on this it can display the nearest open pharmacy. A second example showed the nearest metro station, you could then drill down into the data and show the timetable for that particular station. This application is not based on GPS location, but on Cell Id. Although not as accurate as GPS it is good enough to provide a location and it removes the reliance on additional GPS hardware.

So who has won? Your guess is as good as mine. There was a lot of good applications competing this year, and it was difficult for me to separate some of the entries. I know which one I think could be the winner, we will have to wait to see if the other judges concur. As happened last year the winner will be announced at the LBS Challenge Award ceremony on Tuesday... Of course I will report back as soon as I know the outcome.

The City Hall at Poble de Espanyol
The City Hall at Poble de Espanyol

Mike judging in the LBS Challenge 2007
Mike judging in the LBS Challenge 2007

Article by Mike Barrett on Sunday, February 11 @ 22:17:09 UTC

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