Sunday, 20 August 2006 16:31

GPS mobile phone match made in heaven

By
Having a GPS in a car is growing to be an indispensable accessory. A mobile phone already is indispensable for many of us. Putting the two together in one package is a match made in heaven and this is exactly what Palm has attempted to do by pairing its new Bluetooth enabled SiRFstarIII GPS receiver with Palm Treo 650, Treo 700w and Treo 700p smartphones.

The product comes with a 1GB memory card preloaded with maps. Travelers insert the memory card into their Treo smartphone and pair the GPS receiver to access highway and street-level maps covering the United States and Canada. Using the smartphone's high-resolution screen, TomTom's NAVIGATOR 6 software automatically shows the receiver's (and hence, the car's) current location.

By communicating with the GPS receiver via Bluetooth, the Treo smartphone obtains real-time location information and displays 3-D maps on the Treo smartphone's high-resolution screen.

After a destination has been programmed, TomTom NAVIGATOR gives voice-guided, turn-by-turn instructions in one of more than 30 available voices. It will also automatically recalculate a route after a wrong turn, avoid roadblocks or circumvent traffic congestion.

Palm has priced the GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition, including Bluetooth enabled SiRFstarIII GPS receiver, TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 software featuring the latest Tele Atlas(R) maps, a 1GB memory card with preloaded maps of the continental United States and Canada, a vehicle device cradle with windshield mount and a charging system at US$299.

"Smartphones are expanding the market for mobile navigation," said Jim Schwabe, general manager of accessories for Palm, Inc. "The beauty is that this powerful GPS solution is always readily available because it's part of something people are carrying anyway -- their Treo smartphone."

The question on the lips of hundreds of millions of mobile phone users who don't own a Treo Smartphone is when other handset manufacturers are going to cotton on to the fact that a mobile phone with built-in GPS would be more useful for most of us than a low-grade camera that we never use.

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Stan Beer

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Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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