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odiousgambit
odiousgambit 
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October 14th, 2010 at 11:43:00 AM permalink
for a funny story that shows my age, I once bought a color TV [just calling it that shows my age] that was an incredible bargain: the reason being, it was produced at the interval when only a few things used a remote and when, in the next production cycle, absolutely everything electronic had a remote, including some washing machines I suppose. So they were stuck with a TV no one was buying.

Anyway I couldnt resist the price, telling myself I could give up a remote, we don't watch as much TV as most people, blah blah blah. And you know what, it really was fine, in all ways except one: I had become addicted to the volume control buttons on other TVs, especially the mute button. I hooked it up to the VCR/stereo so we could control the volume by remote. It chagrined me a bit to admit I had become too modern I guess. Nowadays certainly it would bug me not to be able to channel surf.

DVR users seem to feel this way about that product, so, maybe Santa can fix us up pretty soon. The rest still awaits.

edited
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Mosca
Mosca
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October 14th, 2010 at 12:06:33 PM permalink
Quote: JerryLogan

Quote: Mosca

Actually, many cars don't come with built in nav. And it is very expensive on the ones that have it, usually costing about $1000 and requiring a premium option package (or the purchase of a premium automobile). The GPSs that come already in a car are actually not as good as the stand-alones, and the stand-alones are not as good as the phones. Map data changes a lot faster than you might think. GPSs not only provide route information but also business information. You have to update your maps, not just the roads but the locations as well. Hard wired GPSs take updates via discs, and stand-alones get connected to your computer via USB cable; in each case, there is a charge for the update (Garmin charges $50).

Your phone has every bit the computing power of the GPS. In addition to that, it receives free real time data on traffic and detours, and up-to-date information on routes, businesses and restaurants. It also has the advantage of all the apps being interconnected; they share data and function. For example, you can pull up a phone number in your address book, touch it on the screen and choose "navigate to". You can do the same for a movie theater in the Flixter app, or a restaurant or hotel that you pulled up in Google. You can "track": that is, you can start the GPS, then set it to track your route, and save it; for example, a scenic motorcycle drive through fall foliage in northeast Pennsylvania.



Huh? The GPS that came with my Audi and the one in my wife's minivan both have the latest up-to-date data including traffic, weather, restaurants, homeless shelters and movie theaters, and I can update them for free at any time in the future. Those silly little things people put on their dashes because they can't afford the real thing are trashy to me and are just as ugly as radar detectors (although not as useless as detectors). And using phone GPS? What do you do, glue the thing to the dash then start cursing if you get a phone call? Plus I want to be able to SEE the directions. there is no phone anywhere near as big as the built-ins I've used and seen.



If you like it, that's fine. It's all about choices, and you're happy with yours. You won't find me trying to make you change. I was just answering your question, explaining why the GPSs in the phones are better units both as GPSs (up to the minute data, chipsets, and programming) and as interfunctional devices. I agree, one big advantage of the built in units is the large central screen, and if that is your primary desire, that and the clean look, then that is what is best for you, other features notwithstanding. Believe me, I've been tempted, I've been tempted. I'm a gadget guy all the way.

Actually, a cool feature would be to have a screen that acts just as a monitor; you could plug your phone into the dash via a USB tether, and it would display the output from your phone. You don't have to pay the premium for the built in nav, but you get the best features of both designs!

I don't even put my phone on the dash; I just lay it in the console. When a turn is imminent, it announces it through the radio, via the bluetooth connection. I find that if I actually need to look at the map I can just pick up the phone and glance at it. If I get a call during navigation, the call comes through normally, and when it's over the phone goes back to nav.

More things that the phone can do: it holds a 16G memory chip. So I can transfer about 320 cds worth of music to it, and play it through the radio... or I can stream Rhapsody through it, 10,000,000 songs... or I can listen to my favorite local radio, streamed through their website. Or I can choose Slacker, or LastFM, Pandora, or any of the other programmable internet radio sites, and stream those. I can listen to local high school football while traveling cross country. I can set up itineraries automatically using Tripit. Are you on the road and need laptop internet access, or in a hotel that charges for internet access? Hook your phone to your laptop and use it as a cellular modem, via the PDANet app. Forgot the laptop, or don't want to bring it? No prob, the phone has internet access. I've accessed WoV on it, many times.

Believe me, JL; I know where you are coming from. If you don't need it, none of that matters. Your life is fine without that. And so was mine, before I got any of it. And that doesn't change. But once you get any of that stuff, you wonder why you didn't get it sooner. And the first time your dedicated GPS takes you the wrong way, or can't find something, and you fire up the phone GPS and it's right there... then you'll understand what I'm saying. The future of all those independent devices is in that one little pocket computer that also happens to make phone calls.


soulhunt79, I'm sorry I wasn't clear. What I meant wasn't to use your smartphone instead of buy a GPS, but rather if you don't have one, get a smartphone, and you'll also have a GPS, as an answer to the original question of postponed purchases.
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JerryLogan
JerryLogan
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October 14th, 2010 at 12:15:04 PM permalink
I've never been a gadget guy, I just go with the flow. If it comes in the car fine, if not I live without. Our in-dash units do a lot more than GPS, as I'm sure most or all of them do? I've got a 40 gig hard drive that we have pictures, movies & and music on along with a bunch of other things. It also plays DVD's when we're stopped.

I'm not much for iPhones or smartphones either. My phone has a qwerty keyboard that flips out for easy texting, and it's a phone. Yes it's 4 years old. I'm either too stupid or too lazy to get anything more.
Doc
Doc
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October 14th, 2010 at 12:25:02 PM permalink
I use my phone for GPS. I would love to have the big screen GPS on my car dash, but then I sometimes use my phone GPS when walking around a city I am not familiar with. What -- do you think I should rip a big screen out of the dash to walk around with?

One of my concerns about most/many phone GPS systems is that as you navigate, they continuously download the maps for your route via the phone network. What happens if you drive off network? It seems to me that when you are driving in the boonies where the network disappears, that is when you really want your GPS unit to be working. For my phone, I have the maps for the US and Canada stored on the memory card. Unfortunately, they are not updating the map files any longer for my old GPS software (Tom Tom), so I occasionally wind up on a new highway with my navigation system thinking I am driving through the forest.

Soulhunt's comment above about people not wanting to pay for a $30 data plan leads me to want to gloat. I think my wife and I probably have about the best bang-for-the-buck, full-feature phone plan of most anyone around. Two lines, 1500 "anytime" minutes/month shared, 300 text messages (as if we were teenagers and actually used that feature a bunch), free nights & weekends, free mobile-mobile, nationwide long distance and nationwide roaming included, unlimited data included on both lines. Total charge: $60/month plus taxes. Actually, the plan/price is too good, and my carrier (Sprint) knows it. I can keep the plan as long as I want it, but they won't let me upgrade to the newest phone technologies (4G network) without "upgrading" my plan. They are offering me an alternate plan that includes no additional features but which costs $130/month or $150/month if I activate 4G-capable phones. What a deal -- for now, I'm sticking with my old plan and my Palm Treo 755p.
Mosca
Mosca
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October 14th, 2010 at 12:30:19 PM permalink
Quote: JerryLogan

I've never been a gadget guy, I just go with the flow. If it comes in the car fine, if not I live without. Our in-dash units do a lot more than GPS, as I'm sure most or all of them do? I've got a 40 gig hard drive that we have pictures, movies & and music on along with a bunch of other things. It also plays DVD's when we're stopped.

I'm not much for iPhones or smartphones either. My phone has a qwerty keyboard that flips out for easy texting, and it's a phone. Yes it's 4 years old. I'm either too stupid or too lazy to get anything more.



Naw, man. You're just going with the flow, like you said.

For years and years, the two major considerations for me in a phone were weight and battery life; it had to not weigh my pocket down (I don't do belt clips) and stay charged. Then when my daughter went away to college I needed something for texting, and the phone I picked had all the other stuff. And it all just made sense to me, to have everything in one. Actually, the feature that sold me was that I don't have to type my texts; I can hit the little microphone and speak, and it converts speech to text.

I suppose the closest analogy I can make, for the difference between the units, is the difference between a handheld cell phone and a built in car phone. Imagine everything that your in-dash unit can do, and more.... and you can slip it in your pocket. Sure, the car phones had more power and range, and a large handset that was easy to use. But the smaller portable devices had so many more advantages that the built in phones were gone in a year or so. (That's why I think that if the GPS screen in your car could function solely as a 7" monitor, you would have the best of both; the power of the handheld, and the clean look and large screen of the built in. The large screen is a huge advantage, and useful for a lot more than just the nav feature of the phone.)
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Mosca
Mosca
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October 14th, 2010 at 12:34:19 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

One of my concerns about most/many phone GPS systems is that as you navigate, they continuously download the maps for your route via the phone network. What happens if you drive off network? It seems to me that when you are driving in the boonies where the network disappears, that is when you really want your GPS unit to be working. For my phone, I have the maps for the US and Canada stored on the memory card.



On the Android phones, all the maps are stored locally, in the Google Maps app. I can't say for the Palm and Blackberry devices.
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Doc
Doc
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October 14th, 2010 at 12:46:58 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

On the Android phones, all the maps are stored locally, in the Google Maps app. I can't say for the Palm and Blackberry devices.

Maybe I didn't look into that adequately when I considered an Android device (HTC Evo). Does the Google Maps app include the full atlas? If not, and if you decide to start navigating while you are off the network, do you have to find the network before you can get the maps and plan a route?
Mosca
Mosca
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October 14th, 2010 at 1:18:58 PM permalink
Quote: Doc

Maybe I didn't look into that adequately when I considered an Android device (HTC Evo). Does the Google Maps app include the full atlas? If not, and if you decide to start navigating while you are off the network, do you have to find the network before you can get the maps and plan a route?



If you start navigation off-network, it works like Google Maps; it gives you a route. As far as the full atlas, let me look a moment... do you mean, both political and geographic, like topographic? Yes, it has terrain, and maps for walking, bicycling, and flying (you can request a walking or bicycling route, and you can set it to airplane mode). It has maps for the entire world; it is Google Maps, Google Earth. Right now I'm looking at Breuges, West Flanders, Belgium. If I touch "Jeugdherberg Europa", at Baron Ruzettelaan 143, 8310 Brugge, it gives it 3 stars and calls it "a cheap and cheerful" hotel. If I touch the little phone next to the entry, it will dial the hotel for me. And it will plot a Google Maps route to other destinations in Europe. But you can only navigate inside the US and Canada, as far as I can tell. I tried to navigate to Buenos Aires, and it wouldn't let me. But I didn't try to figure out how to make it work, either. There might be a way, if I poked around.
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Doc
Doc
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October 14th, 2010 at 1:55:39 PM permalink
Mosca,

Thanks for the info. I want to be sure I understand correctly...all of the map info you describe for the entire world is stored on you phone? You don't have to access the internet to get the map before planning a route? That is quite impressive!

The maps I have are just the roads (no terrain and such) for U.S. and Canada, and the files total multiple Gigabytes. How much memory does that Google app and its data take up? I am familiar with the info available from the Google Maps web site with a computer, but I have difficulty comprehending that all of the maps and data for the entire world are stored on a phone memory card.
Mosca
Mosca
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October 14th, 2010 at 2:13:20 PM permalink
You know what Doc; I'd have to find a spot without cellular coverage to check and see about the whole world. On Verizon, it is actually hard to find a spot like that, but they're out there. If you are a hiker, don't take my word for it. Just a minute...

OK, I googled it. You can store the maps on your SD card, and use the free app OruxMaps to use them without cellular service. The phone comes with a 16G card, but you can replace it with up to 64G.
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