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Is Dedicated Satnav Reaching The End Of The Road?
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NickG
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there will always be a large group of non-technology people who do not want a smartphone but still value having sat-nav. My mum for example, is a bit of a technophobe and would never get an Android phone or iPhone but she still has a TomTom One.

Personally, I use TomTom on an iPhone 4 which works extremely well. I love having the speed of the iPhone and amazing screen compared to my TomTom 730 which is pretty much unused now!

What currently holds back phone-based satnav is the lack of decent mounts with a built in loudspeaker. As far as I'm aware there are NO powered iPhone mounts with an amplified loudspeaker apart from a couple of very expensive ones from TomTom and Arkon which also include a GPS (which the iPhone 4 does not require as it's internal GPS is better than the one in the Arkon mount). Using the iPhone 4 with an external mount is annoying as it means you often have to wait several minutes to get a lock each time, but when the phone is NOT docked to the mount, it gets a lock within a few seconds - often almost instantly.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with much of what you say except the mount issue.

Whilst it's true that the iPhone 4 doesn't need a GPS equipped mount (it was only ever really needed to supplement the 3G's atrocious GPS, and to a lesser extent, the 3GS), I've had none of the issue that you describe whilst using Arkon, TomTom or Magellan/Mio GPS mounts.

All lock quickly and work fine, certainly no worse than when the iPhone4 is used without.

But those issues are not within the scope of this discussion, happy to follow up in another thread if you want to?
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NickG
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(feel free to move to another thread)
Darren,

I have extensive experince in using the Arkon mount since December. Although you may disagree that the mount is slower to get a lock, most users of the mount agree with me - including Arkon themselves who actually manufacture the mount. I use the Arkon mount every single day of the week and have extensive experience of it. I have raised my concerns about the slow lock times (1-5 minutes) and they responded as follows:

Arkon wrote:

After various back and forth with the hardware engineers I believe the iPhone 4 GPS locks quicker than the RWIPC car kit. Iíve also been talking to some of our resellers and their customers are also seeing 2-3 minutes for satellite lock with the product.

Best regards,
Ben Arana
Sr. Account Manager/OEM, Arkon


Additonally, when I tried to return the mount to the vendor, they told me that the slow lock is normal for this mount and the mount was not faulty. They said a warm start can take several minutes. They refused to issue an RMA so I'm now just putting up with this delay. The iPhone 4 has a far smaller delay as it has AGPS which allows it to download the almanac data over 3G. No mount can use AGPS so it will always be slower.


Last edited by NickG on Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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BigPerk
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not just technophobes ... obviously many people

(1) use the mobile phone a lot for texts and calls,

(2) don't mind paying several £100s capital+£30s monthly rental for an 'iPhone'-type,

(3) get one from the company,

(4) need/use the LBS/GPS-type services a lot - which bump costs up a great deal further, sometimes even without you realising it (I had to get Vf to block my much more modest handset to stop the unused apps from accessing the internet 'behind my back', doubling my monthly charges).

But, unless you are such a user, I can't see the real advantages over a satnav, especially one you already own, at least until costs moderate VERY substantially? Confused
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah ok, that's interesting, I certainly never observed this with the Arkon unit I reviewed or I'd have mentioned it. I don't have it to test now.

But when I read your post I thought you were suggesting this is a problem common to all GPS mounts. I use a TomTom and Magellan mount regularly and they don't exhibit this issue at all.

Doesn't excuse the RWIPC issue though, I wonder what chipset they are using?
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NickG
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Doesn't excuse the RWIPC issue though, I wonder what chipset they are using?


It's Sirf III but I think it's a poor implementation with no non-volatile storage of almanac (orbital) data (ie not even as good as Sirf's own reference implementation). I suspect it's actually peforming a cold start each time, as often it takes ages to relock even if it was only unplugged for a couple of seconds. It once took over 10 minutes to get a lock - despite the fact I'd been using it a couple of hours earlier. To me it's faulty or poor design at best, but to be honest I'm bored of trying to return it and other than the lock delay - it works well. I don't find it very predictable either - sometimes it gets a lock after about 20 seconds, but other times it takes several minutes. I'm wondering if the backup power source is unreliable (perhaps a capacitor?).

It's also the second Arkon mount I've had (both with the slow-lock problem) but the first moutn was actually replaced by the vendor for a different fault (faulty microphone which just screached/hissed to 3rd party when on calls).
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BigPerk wrote:
(4) need/use the LBS/GPS-type services a lot - which bump costs up a great deal further, sometimes even without you realising it (I had to get Vf to block my much more modest handset to stop the unused apps from accessing the internet 'behind my back', doubling my monthly charges).

Hmm, never had an issue like that using my iPhone. Apps that are allowed access to data are controlled and, unless you allow an email app to poll for mail all the time, data usage would be very unlikely to occur, un-commanded or unnoticed.
Quote:
But, unless you are such a user, I can't see the real advantages over a satnav, especially one you already own, at least until costs moderate VERY substantially? Confused

Advantages? Few if you already own a GPS but then it's yet another device to set -up and use whereas most smartphone owners will always have it with them. Much like a camera, the best satnav is the one you have with you?
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Darren
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NickG wrote:
It's Sirf III but I think it's a poor implementation with no non-volatile storage of almanac (orbital) data (ie not even as good as Sirf's own reference implementation). I suspect it's actually peforming a cold start each time, as often it takes ages to relock even if it was only unplugged for a couple of seconds. It once took over 10 minutes to get a lock - despite the fact I'd been using it a couple of hours earlier. To me it's faulty or poor design at best, but to be honest I'm bored of trying to return it and other than the lock delay - it works well.

Wish I had one here now! No battery backup of data is very poor design.
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NickG
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Wish I had one here now! No battery backup of data is very poor design.


I'll get some TTFF timings and try and compare it to another Sirf III. If there's anything specific you think I should test please let me know. I have to admit that with both units, they don't seem as unreliable once they've been used for a bit. Perhaps the backup power source (if it uses one) takes a while to charge? Or perhaps it occasionally thinks the data is corrupt and decides to start again from scratch. What would a typical warm-start be for a device which has been used in the last 12 hours?
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lads2000
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been looking at this kind of set up for a few months now, I don't think that smart phones can replace PND's at the moment at least due to one big factor - Price. I have been using sat nav since TOM TOM 3 which I had on a PDA. I now have a navigon which I like a lot and before that was a die hard Tom Tom fan. I have the Iphone 4 which I installed navigion on just to see what the software was like/backup before purchasing my navigon.

Unfortunatly the Navigon aquired a fault and had to be returned. during this time I looked at using a smartphone for my main device. I use my sat nave at least 3-4 times a week if not more. I find that a smartphone whilst competent at giving a gps signal, the screen is just to small and the speakers just are not loud enough, or at least without buying an expensive cradle.

So I looked at buying a cheap android tablet which is 7 inches as the 10 inch screens are just to big to be in a car. I found one which was £300 but then you had to factor in the cost of the software . all in all compare this to a PND which are about £250 for the TOM TOM, Garmin and Navigon examples . You then have to factor the data charges which will not be included in the tablet systems and add this to the total costs.

I think the smartphone will take over but untill they offer greater functionality than the PND equiverlant or can be bought significantly cheaper then the PND still has a place in the market place. out of all the navigation software providers I think that Google are the ones to watch over the next couple of years as I'm sure you will be able to plan your route and store it on the phone so that the data roaming charges are taken out the equasion. and just be able to download traffic all for free with the usual good advertisements included and wrapped up in your service provioders monthly handset charge.
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JohnTT
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Which is best? Reply with quote

Smartphone advantages
Without doubt my Samsung Galaxy S is a brilliant device and the Google maps navigation is pretty neat. As I have my phone with me all the time it comes in handy when I unexpectedly need to go somewhere etc. and I don't have to carry round a more bulky TomTomOne. I also like the ability to get satelite view and street view - great for finding shops and landmarks etc. It even pops up a picture of the pub when you arrive Laughing Out Loud!

Sat Nav advantages
Also without doubt however, my TomTom One has the edge for navigation. The GPS reception is more sensitive so it doesn't lose signal. The loudspeaker is louder and better quality and the screen is better in sunlight (despite the SGS being the brightest smartphone). I also have a custom mount in the dash centre and with the way the TomTom presents the 3D view, at night, the device is almost as good as a rally navigator calling the bends, as it shows you their shape and direction (Google maps spins around and zooms too much!). I also have custom databases of places stored and various alarms set up on POIs that would be difficult to get on the smart phone.

The two systems compliment eachother quite well Very Happy
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fluffytails
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have abandoned my Tom Tom and only use CoPilot8 on my HTC HD2. This is very effective, the only problem that I have is with Pgps mobile cameras. According to CoPilot they are in the memory, but it is not giving any warnings.
My Citroen Relay came with Trafficmaster satnav fitted. I do not bother with it, even though I paid for their safety cameras.
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Darren
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lads2000 wrote:
I have been looking at this kind of set up for a few months now, I don't think that smart phones can replace PND's at the moment at least due to one big factor - Price.

You can't really compare a 7" tablet with a PND as there aren't any 7" navigation devices.

But I have an £89 PAYG Android Smartphone that works very well, has GPS built-in etc. And it can be unlocked via a web-site for free so you don't even have to stick with Orange who are the sole supplier in the UK.

If you're looking to upgrade an ageing phone then that is quite an attractive proposition.
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electech320ci
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have just installed a dedicated double din Pioneer unit in my car as I like the Big screen for ease of use.
I also have a Tomtom 740 Live which apart from rebooting problems I still use a lot.
I also have Tomtom on my Iphone.

Out of all of them I still prefer the Tomtom 740, it can be moved from car to car, it has a much better screen size than the Iphone and although it is not as nice and as big as the Pioneer it is better in my opinion to use, via Tyre etc.

SatNavs on phones Yes.
Replacing dedicated devices NO NO NO
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Bratters
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a Garmin Zumo 550 for my motorcycle. It is hard to see how a phone app could provide the versatility of my device. Also an attraction of the Zumo is the Mapsource software that came with it, making planning detailed routes and tours easy and effective. Also the cost of a smartphone would be unjustifiable in my situation. Trouble is the motorcycle PND market is a niche one and could well be vulnerable if PND market were to contract considerably.
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