The Stuff Show 2007
Finally we come to the Stuff Show 2007. This year there were 3 SatNav companies and 2 accessory companies in attendance.
TomTom had a stand in the centre of the hall, that I completely missed at first as I noticed Via Michelin, in fact I walked straight past the TomTom stand to get to the VM display. It was only a little later as I was fiddling with my camera that I realised that I had missed TomTom. Obviously TomTom realised this issue and had organised a rather unmissable oversized hand pointing the way to the visually challenged like myself.
TomTom had all the latest devices on display including the latest announced Traffic versions of the One, One XL, GO 520 and GO 720. They also had 10% discount coupons for all their PND range at Currys and PC World, along with direct sales at the show with the technology partner Micro Anvika.
Via Michelin were showing the latest Version 7 software running on their range of PNDs. Apart from Bibendum Via Michelin had rolled out all their senior UK staff to the show. This was an excellent opportunity to discuss issues and queries with Stuart (very active on our VM forums).
Via Michelin were offering some great deals on the X970T European version priced at £169.00 a saving of £20.00 over the normal sales price.
Nokia had a stand right in the centre of the entrance to the exhibition hall where they were displaying the new Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. In fact that was all that was on display at the Stuff Show.
This new device looks nice, and feels good, but with the brief play that I had with the phone/computer/satnav I found the controls not very intuitive and the whole experience was not ideal. In fact the guy who demonstrated the phone also had a few issues with the UI. I suppose that it is something you would get used to after a while, but being a WM5 user I didn't convert very easily...
On the navigation side the N810 includes integrated GPS and, not surprisingly, Nokia Maps. The Nokia Maps is the standard product which offers free mapping and routing but you need to pay to upgrade to Voice Navigation.
The N810 is based on a Linux operating system and has the capability to connect to WiFi networks as well as the cellular network. This opens up a whole range of connected applications. It also has a camera and keyboard, essential elements for social networking...
Maybe I can get over the UI in time and find that this device is the ideal social tool for the modern age.
HTC of course are the World's foremost manufacturer of wireless PDAs, having been responsible for many of the Wireless Carrier's products including the O2 XDA range and the T-Mobile MDA devices. Last year they re-branded and are marketing these devices under their own name.
I was most impressed by 3 devices that I saw at the show. The first was the HTC Touch. This is a mobile phone (PDA) which has a touch sensitive screen and interface similar to that of the the iPhone. The device looks sexy (can I say that??).
Unlike the iPhone that only works with finger control the Touch reacts to both finger touch and a stylus. This allows both course and precise data entry.
I saw the latest version of CoPilot running on the HTC Touch and it was most impressive. Unfortunately the downside of the HTC Touch for navigation is that it does not have integrated GPS so it would need to have an external BT GPS to accompany any navigation software.
The second PDA I liked was the HTC TyTN11. This PDA does have integrated GPS and it also has a slide out keyboard. An enhancement over the TyTN is that the screen now tilts at an angle allowing the device to sit on a desk and have a more visible screen. The TyTN11 features HSDPA technology which will allow download speeds of up to 3.6Mb, faster than a lot of broadband internet connections.
The final device from HTC is the HTC Shift. This is a novel concept as it is a dual operating system computer. This runs both Windows Vista and HTC SnapVUE (a system enabling access to critical apps without the full Windows system running). This does have an integrated GPS system so any Windows applications that are GPS enabled can take advantage of the onboard technology.
Obviously the HTC Shift is too big to fit into your pocket, but at 800g it is a light machine. It also comes with a 7 inch screen and a full sized(ish) keyboard. I have a Sony UX, and whilst I love the computer the 4.5" screen is far too small and I can never hit the right keys, and it still does not fit in my pocket... The Shift is a much better size so there is a possibility I might be converted...
The Parrot stand seemed to be mainly boom boxes and Digital Picture Frames. They did have a number of car kits on display, but there doesn't seem to have been much development in this area in the last year.