Tag Archive | "navigation"

App Highlight: Nokia HERE Maps coming for Win8.1. (Update: Available Now)

This is fantastic news. Nokia maps and navigation services are, in my opinion the best in the business and on Windows 8.1 there’s a huge gap in the market for a decent solution. Via our friends over at The Digital Lifestyle I’ve just learnt that Nokia are opening up the Here mapping application beyond the Windows RT-based Lumia 2520. It’s going to be available in the Windows 8.1 store in the next few days.

Update 1/3/2014: Available now. Works smoothly on Baytrail-T tablets. No turn-by-turn.


I can’t confirm if turn-by-turn is included yet (interesting for those with 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets that have GPS such as the ASUS Vivotab Note 8) but I can confirm that offline maps are supported, route planning, POI and more.

What I suspect is happening is that because Here is being offered for free, there might be up upgrade path to turn-by-turn, if Nokia deem it to be worthwhile developing that part of the app.  Any Lumia 2520 owners care to comment?

I’m in Barcelona next week so I can’t wait to get the Full-HD Lenovo Miix 2 10 loaded-up with hi-res maps. Yes, I’ll be ripe for a mugging, but I’ll do it for you, dear reader !

Note: I’ll be getting some hands-on with the Lumia 2520 next week. Stay tuned.

Source: Nokia

Maps and Navigation with the Samsung ATIV SmartPC 500T (Windows 8, CloverTrail)

Hector, a guest poster and CloverTrail Windows 8 tablet owner has another post for us today. He’s been looking at navigation applications in Windows 8 on his Samsung ATIV SmartPC 500T. Don’t forget to subscribe to Hectors YouTube channel here. Follow him on Twitter here and check out his blog here. Thanks Hector!

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Buyers Guide – The Mobile IT Manager

It looks like we’ve hit another 7 inch requirement with very few solutions. Any more of these requests and i’m going to go out there and make my own ultra mobile PC and sell it to you all!

Mike contacted me to see if he could get some suggestions for an extremely mobile computer. It’s one that needs a full MS office suite and also needs to do duty as a support system in a light aircraft.

Here’s the breakdown.

·As an IT manager I use the MS Office suite, MS Project, MS Visio, and Firefox to do my job.

· I also travel by small plane for work and I need a unit that runs Windows so that I can use my flight navigation software (www.anywheremap.com)

·The yoke (steering wheel of the plane) can only accommodate a unit with an 8.9 inch screen without blocking critical flight instruments – 7 inches provides the best fit

·When I land at the local airport I often use a car GPS for street navigation.

·I don’t use my computers for gaming or video editing, but I do need to have reasonably snappy performance in the office environment.


That’s a clear requirement. 7 inch, Windows and wallop! right into the no-devices zone.

I initially thought about leading with a device that had GPS installed but that can be problematic. In my car there’s a UV filter on the screen and it kills reception. Where reception is critical, a well-positioned GPS puck is going to be the answer. Bluetooth isn’t the most reliable of connectivity mechanisms but once set-up, it does work.

Now that we don’t need the built-in GPS, we’ve widened our scope ….

I’m looking at the Libretto W100/W105 as I did in the last CCC. Mike is in situations where power is likely to be available and in the plane he can use a power brick. Do they have cigarette lighters in small planes though?! As with our previous CCC, there’s also the Q1 Ultra Premium (2nd-hand) and the Viliv S7 convertible. It’s got a faster SSD, good battery life and is available with 3G. It might not have the oomph to run Windows 7 though. The same goes for the Viliv X70 EX

It’s the Windows requirement I want to get right in the suggestion though. A ultra mobile PC running Windows 7 really needs a fast SSD, a 1.6Ghz CPU and, preferably, 2GB RAM.  It’s why I keep thinking about the Libretto W100 but then there’s the screen area to think about on that. It could be too big!

I’ve got three more to offer-up though. (Click images for more info)

HP Slate 500. 8.9 inch screen. 1.8ghz CPU. SSD.  Includes dual-layer screen. The HP 500 does seem to be satisfying most people that buy it. At 1.8Ghz it’s got just enough more than a 1.5Ghz Z-series Atom, along with an SSD, to make Windows 7 work smoothly. Here are some more thoughts on the HP Slate 500.

Panasonic CF-U1. It’s an expensive rugged 7 inch-er ($2K entry price) but it’s a seriously good bit of kit.  It only has a 7 inch screen but it’s a fairly bulky 7 inch device.

Netbook Navigator Nav 7 (or even Nav 9). I heard from Netbook Navigator yesterday that the Nav 7 is about ready to launch and I’ve just put all the details of this one in the database. Obviously you’ll need to wait for some reviews before committing but it certainly looks compact enough. Unfortunately there’s no docking station or VGA / HDMI out but from your email, Mike, I see you’ve been using a USB-based docking station anyway. This might work for you. I’ll be writing more about the Nav 7 in an upcoming article. [Available here when posted]

So, Mike. What do you think? Will an 8.9 inch device work for you (HP Slate 500) or are you determined to go for a 7 inch device? Are you OK without VGA? Do you want laptop-style processing power?

Chime-in with comments people. Mike needs help!

Google Maps Navigation Goes Live in 11 More Countries

google-maps-navigation-portrait Here’s one for Chippy, the much anticipated Google Maps Navigation yesterday went live in 11 more countries. The UK and USA have been using the free turn by turn navigation service on Android for a while now and so far has proven very popular among its users.

Google Maps Navigation is an Internet-connected GPS navigation system that provides turn-by-turn voice guidance as a free feature of Google Maps. It uses the devices inbuilt GPS and also the data connection to download maps before your journey starts, this means if you go off route then you will need an active data connection and allowance for the application to reroute you. It also provides Street View images when available on the roads you are travelling on.

The new countries that have been added are Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland for Android devices 1.6 and higher. Google have also flipped the switch on the beta of Search by voice for the countries listed above meaning no device handling is require while your on the move.

Let us know if you are located in one of the above countries on how Google Maps Navigation is working for you.

Mio Moov Hands-On.

m Capacitive Multitouch, 3G, Tegra and a nice handheld design is always a good recipe but although this looks like a very capable navigation and media device, it’s not really going to be a high quality mobile internet device. It’s Tegra V1 (ARM11 CPU) running Windows CE OS and Internet Exlorer which will be OK for some basic browsing but not for the full internet experience.

JKK talks more about the moov in a recorded live session that we made just a few hours ago. (Via Meetmobility)

JKK has mad a great video. Check it out below.

Via JKKMobile.

Mapfactor PC Navigator 9 Released. UMPCPortal Test.

Mapfactor announced version 9 of their PC Navigator software today and I’ve got some testing notes, images and videos for you below. Main improvements include up-to-date maps form TeleAtlas from February 2009, simplified and improved User Interface (searching dialogue, map tools), improved TMC (traffic information in Europe), improved ‘Find nearest.’

I’ve been using PC Navigator 7 [review] for the last few years and it has worked really well on UMPCs from 4.8 inch up to 10 inch . Version 9 works just as well, if not faster and smoother than previous versions. Map coverage appears to be extensive (I didn’t test all the country maps!) and the UI and search facilities are definitely improved. Most of all, I find the value for money to be excellent. Full European maps including partial coverage of some new eastern European countries and a touch-friendly application for under 120 Euros. The same price for US and Canada.

pcn8-navigation PCNav9-3 PCNav9-1 PCNav9-2

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Coach bus driver using Samsung Q1 Ultra for navigation solution

photo I was recently on a trip which took me on one of those big coach buses. A friend inquired to me as to whether the bus driver was using GPS or if he just knew where he was going. I assumed that he’d be using some sort of GPS, but I wasn’t expecting that he’d be using a popular ultra mobile PC at the center of his navigation solution. It was interesting to see a Samsung Q1 Ultra [Portal page] in the wild, and apparently being used quite effectively. I was able to snap two quick images with my iPhone; sorry about the quality, the lighting was not in a favorable position.

The bus driver was an older man who looked to me nearing or into his 60’s. I wasn’t sure if the Q1U based navigation system was devised by him or supplied by the bus company. Again to my surprise, the system was set up by the bus driver himself. I suppose the old “book by its cover… inch adage is suitable here. I exchanged just a few quick words with the driver about the setup. I wasn’t able to capture all of it, but it sounded like he was using some pretty powerful industry navigation software to map routes effectively. I believe he was using a Bluetooth GPS unit to obtain nav data, and I saw an AT&T branded unit which I’m assuming provided 3G data, but it looked a bit old and could have been EDGE only.

photo (1) Nearly every part of the setup was mounted right on the windshield, it was pretty cool. The Q1U looked to be using a suction mount designed specifically for it. There was a DIY looking sunshade to block direct sunlight and make sure that the screen stayed readable. The sunshade looks to consist of two separate pieces and be resourcefully held together with velcro, which I would imagine makes it easy to break the setup down and pack it away. On top of the sunshade was a USB hub which provided four USB slots, in one of them a USB memory stick was plugged in. The GPS unit and AT&T data unit were both mounted to the windshield as well.

Pretty cool to see this nice navigation setup. I imagine that the driver is able to do much more than similar drivers who are using simple consumer GPS units.

Is anyone else out there using a ultra mobile PC for their in-car navigation needs?

How Location-Based Services could help ARM-based MIDs

Location-based services are an exciting and interesting area of mobile computing. Carriers, advertisers, developers and consumers all seem to understand the potential and as social networking grows in popularity, these services could be big sales drivers.  If these services become deciding factors for consumers in the mobile device space, mobile platforms that don’t support them will clearly suffer.  Leading mobile platforms like the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Maemo and Symbian that are all based on ARM cores have a big head start over x86-based operating systems and it’s looking likely that it will stay that way.

Consider these points.

1 –  It’s likely that nearly every high-end mobile phone will have GPS built-in within the next 24 months. ABI predicts 90% of smartphones will have GPS by 2014. Most early adopters in the Internet space are likely to have a phone with a GPS in the next 12 months, if not already. Nokia are planning to have nearly all N and E-Series phones with GPS within the next 2 years.

2 – Apart from the small numbers of deployed GPS modules on PCs, UMPCs and MIDs, developing applications on a PC that integrate smoothly with GPS remains difficult. Consumers can not be expected to enter COM port and baud-rate details into their software configurations.

3 – Broker services. Why use a local GPS modules on a PC, even a mobile one, when a broker service (like FireEagle ) can not only provide your location to all your cloud-based services but also back to your PC-based app? Because of the PC-based development problem identified above,  social networking clients on PC’s will probably take this ‘least-effort’ route in order to tag microblogs and media with location.


There are of course reasons why you might want GPS on your PC.

1 – Your PC is used for real-time GPS data. (Turn-by-turn navigation, tracking and data collection.) This applies to ultra mobile PC users and CarPC users. Broker services would have too much latency for real-time services. Specific applications and target markets will continue to exist.

2 – Your PC is not connected to the Internet and therefore can’t use a broker service.

3 – Why not? GPS modules are cheap.

The clear likelyhood is that the software developers will continue to focus their LBS efforts on smartphone platforms due to the ease of access to GPS information and the number of GPS-enabled devices out there. There are one or two options for X86-based platforms though. Geoclue and Moblin teams are working on getting this LBS issue resolved for the Intel-based MIDs but they need to work quickly. An Android port could also seed interest in the x86 platform for these applications.

Does this mean that the smartphone wins? Not yet. There are problems that need to be addressed because GPS-enabled applications are dynamic, require a lot of cpu power and a lot of screen space. Mobile phones are low-powered (in terms of CPU and online/gps battery life) and have small screens which make them less than ideal despite their GPS-friendly operating systems. This is why MIDs will come along to satisfy the need for larger screens, larger batteries, keyboards and higher processing power. Significantly, for LBS developers, they will come in both x86 and ARM-based flavours so there will be no need for location-based software developers to change to a new architecture just to get round physical limitations of smartphones. The ARM-based MIDs will be there to fill that gap and provide the perfect platform, in terms of both hardware and software, for rich and dynamic LBS services.

If location-based services become successful it will give smartphone-based MIDs a huge head-start over X86-based MIDs. My personal feeling is that GPS-enabled social networking is going to be very important and is likely to drive sales of devices that support. X86-based MIDs are at a serious disadvantage.

Lists of location-aware software and services:

Are you involved with location aware software development? If so, are you interested in writing software for Moblin or ‘desktop’ operating systems or are you going to focus your efforts on mobile platforms? Which is your favourite mobile platform for location-aware software development?

Note: I haven’t covered triangulation services here as I believe that they only have a secondary role based on their closed architecture, inaccurate results and the proliferation of handset-based GPS modules and open broker services.

Streetdeck navigation on the Viliv S5 video

vilivs5 navigation

When hardware and software work together in harmony, beautiful things happen. Take, for example, this video of Streetdeck 2 navigation software running on the upcoming Vilic S5 MID [Portal page]. Try to watch this video and then tell me that you don’t wish you had this as GPS solution for your car.


I’m really impressed with both the hardware and the software in this demo. A few things make this possible, first of which is the fact that the S5 is much more powerful than any standalone GPS unit. Streaming satellite radio while viewing real-time 3D navigation is no problem. Second, is that the Viliv has GPS built in. I might be able to do something similar with my UX180 (which I’m looking to experiment with), but I’ll definitely need to use a Bluetooth GPS device.  This video puts the capabilities of my supposedly ‘gps equipped’ iPhone 3G to shame, and even my dedicated GPS unit.


Telmap brings maps to Moblin MIDs

Filling in one of the obvious gaps on the existing GPS-enabled MIDs is Isreal-based Telmap who have partnered with Intel to bring turn-by-turn, local search, traffic info and pedestrian routing to Moblin.

“As a leading authority in mobile location services, Telmap is embracing the MID category to bring rich navigation and location based services to mobile users. This announcement further highlights Telmap’s multi-platform approach to devices and the addition of Linux to its extensive list of supported OS platforms….Combining its advanced search features, Telmap can provide live, location-aware and real time information to any user in-car or on foot.”

11_176X142 Copy-of-NavUKTrf_176X142
Images from Telmap Navigator

That’s another segment of the Ring of FIE covered then!


Via Pocketables

Choosing a location enabled service for the tour. Part 1 – Requirements.

With well over 50 geo-enabled web-based services available, plenty of dedicated PC and phone client software and a mountain of methods that will track and update your location, it has been very difficult for me to define a simple process that will help me to achieve want I want. Yes, i’m testing the limits here but that’s what MIDMoves is about. We want to get our hands dirty and find the limits.


Here’s the list of what i’m trying to achieve.

  • Location. Where am I now? Exactly?
  • Turn-by-turn, step by step. Where do I need to go. How long will it take?
  • Public transport. Where is it? When does it depart and arrive?
  • Phototagging. Ensuring that my images are tagged with their location
  • Live location tracking and networking. Allowing other people to view my location and to enable notifications when friends are near.
  • What’s near me? How do I find the nearest hotel? Wifi? etc.
  • Location tracking. How to I archive my locations and route?
  • Map mashup. How do I create a map that shows my tracks along with all the ‘e-things’ I did along it. Photos, blogs, podcasts, twitter updates etc.

Tying that lot together in one application, on one platform right nw is impossible. Even if there was an application out there that could do all this, there isn’t a device that would last more than 5 hours doing it before the battery was flat and that’s a major problem because the starting point for web-based activities is the device that is always with you.

You might expect me to say ‘MID’ at this point but the fact is that the gps-enabled phone is the epicenter of most developements in the geo-enabled web world and as it’s the only electronic device that stays with people all the time AND it’s internet connected, it makes sense. Unfortunately, there’s a way to go until the smartphone can do everything above which is why it’s not possible just to use a phone. I’ve had to combine three devices together to give me the capabilities I need.

  • A GPS-enabled smartphone
  • A mobile Internet device
  • A GPS Tracker

In part 2 of this article i’ll talk about each of my requirements and how i’ll use these devices and a bunch of web-based services to achieve my targets.

Mapfactor Navigator moves to V8.1

Image1Mapfactor’s Navigator is a well-priced, touchscreen friendly EU and U.S. PC-based turn-by-turn navigation system that I tested last year and gave the thumbs up. At 120 Euros its very well priced and it works very well on UMPCs.

Version 8.1 is now out and has these new features over the V7 that I tested.

  • Maps from July 2008 – Including map of Bulgaria and Malta. 100% coverage for Hungary,
    Poland and Slovakia. Very good improvement of maps of Turkey, Latvia and Russia.
  • New remote (TCP/IP) commands for communication between driver and dispatcher.
  • You can send text messages, new routing points, receive the actual position of the car, track
    a car and many others.
  • Improved searching dialogue
  • Change the color of the map and application
  • Traffic lane assistant.
  • Motorway signs – clear signs which show you the directions of travel
  • Real 3D icons of important buildings.

Well worth a closer look if you’re looking for a PC-based solution for your carpc.  Details at Mapfactor.

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