I never did like maps. It was easier just to take the first right two blocks down from the third stop sign. Maybe not in that order. But my thinking was, there is going to be a gas station along the way that would at least point me far enough to get me to the next gas station 30 minutes later. Somebody’s gotta know where the heck I’m headed. See, simple!
And then they began hiring teens who didn’t know their left from right.
Fast rewind to a few years ago, I figured I could get my phone to connect to my GPS antenna (because they both have bluetooth), and miraculously begin getting directed wherever I needed to go. As soon as the lights began flashing, and connection bells start ringing in my head, I was quickly disappointed after starting Nokia Maps only to find a blinking dot in the middle of nowhere on my screen.
Where on earth are these maps?
You could understand my frustration as I was parked in front of this rather large home that was 45 minutes away from society. I had notes with scribbled directions on how to get there, and had hoped on the GPS leading me out towards Toronto. With no gas stations anywhere in sight, I just drove along the road waiting for any sign that pointed towards the 401.
As soon as I arrived, I researched the internet and found various articles referring to Tomtom and Nokia and GPS. Shortly after, I was armed with the application, installed on my phone, connected to the antenna, and that lost in the middle of nowhere blinking dot was finally reunited with some streets and labels.
Up until January 2009, this was my solution for navigating past teens in gas stations. A true GPS with bluetooth capabilities (which I wired right into my car’s main power line), a wonderful Nokia E62 phone, and TomTom for Symbian.
Fast forward to now, I’m rocking an iPhone 3G, and I just can’t stand Google Maps. I then did what any normal techie would do, test XGPS after jail braking my phone, and I fell in love. It’s free and works like a charm. Part of the reason why its great is because you’re always facing true north, and it recalculates routes (one of the two most important things in navigation – for me at least). Google Maps on the iPhone though, wow, I gotta physically move my phone around to figure out which left is really left. C’mon, really?
Along the way, there was a lot of hype for TomTom. And being a loyal TomTom user on the Nokia, I figured it would be amazing on the iPhone. Although, for $100, it just left a sour taste in your mouth. It’s probably the most expensive application on the App Store, and it does exactly what XGPS does for free. The hardware add-on option is probably also going to run somewhere above another $100.
If I were to logically think this one through, the truth is, there are alot of iPhone users. TomTom builds hardware and software, but the bulk of their revenue is generated off the navigation hardware. By pricing the app and add-on at over $200, it leaves the user thinking twice about purchasing a complete iPhone kit when they can grab a portable TomTom GPS at Wal-Mart for $150.
Advantages of going portable vs iPhone
- The portable GPS requires no internet
- It is a true GPS and not an ‘Assisted GPS’
- You can still use your phone for other things
Disadvantage of going portable vs iPhone
- You’re back to having more than one device
Google Steps Up Their Game
Google practically rewrites the game of navigation, and I’m left speechless at what it can do.
It’s not available on the iPhone just yet, but works on Android. It really takes navigation to a whole new level and is free.
The link below is Google’s Official Video on its navigation application.