September 12, 2006

New Bluetooth GPS Receiver: Garmin Mobile 10

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Garmin announced Garmin Mobile 10, a product that turns Bluetooth enabled devices such as laptops, smartphones, Pocket PCs, and PDAs into GPS navigators. Look familiar? This is the Garmin Mobile 10 that was approved by the FCC back in July and then leaked through their site. The Garmin Mobile 10 system includes either Garmin Mobile XT or nRoute navigation software, and the GPS 10x, a highly sensitive GPS sensor that determines location data using the Global Positioning System (GPS) and transmits that information to mobile devices enabled with Bluetooth wireless technology.

“Garmin Mobile 10 brings Garmin’s intuitive user interface to electronic devices that customers already own,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president of marketing. “This is a very cost effective way for individuals to have the advantages of GPS navigation without having to purchase a device solely dedicated to personal navigation.”

The sleek and compact GPS 10x sensor comes with a removable clip that makes it easy to carry or secure in a car. It has a removable lithium-ion battery for up to 20-hours of use, and a 12-volt USB adaptor for recharging and extended use. For added convenience, the GPS 10x battery is interchangeable with the battery on many popular Nokia phones (BL-5C).

Garmin Mobile 10 gives owners the same high-quality map and navigation features found on other Garmin automotive GPS devices. The included Garmin Mobile XT or nRoute DVD-ROM contains software and full map coverage for North America or Europe. Those using Garmin Mobile 10x with their laptop, will use nRoute, a navigation software application optimized for the laptop display. Those using Garmin Mobile 10 with a compatible smartphone or Pocket PC will use Garmin Mobile XT, a navigation software application that delivers Garmin’s intuitive interface and powerful features.

Garmin nRoute and Garmin Mobile XT both allow the user to look up millions of points of interest such as restaurants, hotels, ATMs, and gas stations. After entering a destination, the device will choose the fastest or shortest route to navigate the user from door to door. Users will receive voice-prompted, turn-by-turn directions while showing a moving map on the display. The device automatically recalculates a route if the driver misses a turn, and it will also notify drivers of their estimated time of arrival. Map data is provided by NAVTEQ™ – a world leader in premium-quality mapping.

Garmin Mobile 10 will be available in November 2006 for a suggested retail price of $199. Visit the Garmin Mobile Buyer’s Guide, http://www.garmin.com/mobilephones, to purchase a customized Garmin Mobile 10 package for Bluetooth enabled laptops, smartphones, Pocket PCs, or PDAs.

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Posted by Scott Martin at September 12, 2006 9:50 AM

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Compare which is better: GPS on my Pocket PC PDA vs. a regular GPS car unit?

This review is based upon using the Garmin Mobile 10 Bluetooth Receiver with UPDATED Garmin Mobile XT software (https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=139&pID=10901) and a Pocket PC version phone (Garmin XT also available on Palm, Blackberry, and SmartPhones).

---------- TOP “10” LIST: Why GPS on a PDA is superior to GPS on a standalone GPS unit ----------

1) YOU ALWAYS HAVE IT WITH YOU (always have maps on you, always able to plot a course or search for POIs i.e. Points Of Interest)

2) EASY PHONE CALLING - You can search the POI Database even when disconnected from GPS. When you find a POI such as a hotel, museum, store, fast food, restaurant, etc -- you can auto dial their phone number by clicking one button!

3) EASY CONTACTS – When you find a POI, you can immediately add directly to Outlook Contacts on your phone. This will add the phone number, the address, and even the EXACT GPS Coordinate to your contacts. You can even tap on any random spot of your map (2D map not 3D map) at any time, and instantly add as an Outlook contact!

4) CONTACT ROUTING – When searching for a location in Garmin Mobile XT you can also search your Outlook Contacts Database on your phone. When you find the contact you want, Garmin XT will automatically add the exact GPS Coordinate to your contact (creates a FIELD in Outlook called “RADIO”). This is very beneficial in two capacities: Firstly, the next time you search for that contact it will use the GPS Coordinate and IMMEDIATELY plot the course. Secondly, when driving around, your GPS screen will show any contacts for which you have added a “Radio” field (i.e.: GPS Coordinate). This is really great as you will see a little Outlook Contact Icon with the name of the contact as you are driving around town. The only downfall is that I could not figure out how to add a 2nd GPS Coordinate for the same contact (ie: Home & Work addresses). So one would need to add a Waypoint (ie favorite) for extra addresses on same contact.

5) CONTACTS & WAYPOINTS – Generally speaking, most of us add tons of waypoints - My dad’s house, my brother’s house, friends’ houses, etc. We quickly end up with dozens or even hundreds of waypoints. When using a PDA however, we can use our Outlook Contacts for those personal waypoints. As such, there are fewer Waypoints that we have to wade through when looking for a recorded Waypoint location. It is especially nice to have fewer waypoints when GeoCaching (cf. below).

6) GEO CACHING – Handhelds are great for Geo Caching (http://www.geocaching.com/faq/). Just grab your tiny receiver and run with it! The Garmin Mobile 10 has a whopping 22 hours battery life! Half the unit is the battery! Again, hats off to Garmin. Also, my experience so far is that the unit generally brings me within 7 feet of a GeoCache! Even better, the included Garmin Desktop Software (MapSource) enables direct and instant opening and converting of GeoCache files (.loc & gpx.) into Waypoints! GeoCaching Couldn’t be any easier!

7) CONTACTS & CALENDAR – At any time while in your contacts, you can go to your MENU and there will be a GARMIN command which will give you the options to either ROUTE TO IT or to VIEW ON MAP. When in a Calendar Appointment, you can SET LOCATION POINT. By doing this, when your appointment rolls around you can instantly ROUTE TO IT or VIEW ON MAP. What a great tool for a salesperson or someone who travels to many appointments

8) STORAGE SPACE – Garmin Mobile XT (that is, on DVD version – cf. below for more information on this) installs software on your Home Computer which gives you the ability to EASILY send only the Countries, States, or Provinces you need. I frequently travel from Buffalo, NY to Toronto, Virginia, and Kentucky. So I have added NY, IN, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WVA, & Ontario. All these take up only 196.6MB of space on my PDA’s storage card!! Kudos to Garmin!

9) CAR THEFT – This devise is very unlikely to be stolen out of your car. It is tiny and it is useless to someone without a PDA. You can easily install in inconspicuous location or put right on your dash and leave it there! Also, because it is Bluetooth, you can put the receiver on the dash and mount your PDA anywhere you like (PDA doesn’t have to be in a high glare area by the windshield). I actually use my GPS all the time b/c I do not have to hassle around hiding it from view in fear that someone will break my window to steal my GPS.

10) CITY RECEPTION –When in a city with tall buildings, open your moonroof cover and place the receiver between the glass moonroof and the plastic moonroof door (or any spot with high visibility). Now you have ultimate GPS reception. And don’t worry, the Garmin Mobile 10 has 22 hours of battery life and can broadcast the Bluetooth for 30 feet! On the downside, I do not believe there is any way to hookup an outside antenna to the receiver.

11) EASIER & SAFER NAVIGATION – Garmin has done a nice job of mapping the phone buttons to the GPS maps. For example, you can use your PDA Phone’s Soft Buttons for most commands. Also, push the Joystick UP and the map zooms out. Push the Joystick DOWN and the map zooms in toward the ground (whether on 2D or 3D). Push the Joystick straight in and the map instantly switches from 3D to 2D. In fact the joystick just makes GPS easier all the way around. You can quickly look at the screen and then look away while using the joystick (when using touch screen one needs to keep eye on the screen while touching).

12) $$$ MUCH CHEAPER – I purchased my Garmin Mobile 10 for $130 (MegaGPS.com) which included Desktop Software, PDA Software, Bluetooth Receiver, Charging Cable, DVD, etc. BTW, it was $130 with free S+H and no tax: https://www.megagps.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1094

13) LIVE UPDATES - Garmin offers many free services such as traffic, weather, etc and you can connect instantly with your PDA’s Internet Connection. Of course, you could also do this with a stand alone unit that had Bluetooth.

14) PORTRAIT VS. LANDSCAPE – You can view the Garmin Mobil 10 either Vertical (traditional PDA view) or Horizontal (traditional GPS view). Personally, I find the Vertical View to be much nicer. This is a great feature as most of us, when in 3D View, like to face the way we are heading (that is, we are always traveling Up on the map as opposed to always facing north). If this is the case, then it makes more sense to have greater screen real estate on the vertical as opposed to horizontal. In my opinion, all GPS units should be facing vertically or at least have the option.

---------- OTHER ----------

HARDWIRING THE GPS RECEIVER UNIT
I highly recommend hardwiring your Receiver unit. DO NOT cut the automotive lighter cord that comes with the receiver. The cord has a step down transformer built in (USB units such as PDAs or GPS Receivers run at 5 Volts as opposed to the normal 12 Volts). Also, the original cord has a fuse built in. Instead, purchase a $10 female lighter adapter and run it from your car radio’s Accessory line behind the dash. Simply PLUG IN the original GPS Receiver’s cord into the female. Now you are utilizing the Car Radio’s Fuse, the Receiver’s fuse, and the proper step down voltage. For help, contact Circuit City or any car installation palace. Be sure to connect to the radio’s ACCESSORY and not the ALWAYS ON so the receiver shuts down when not in use.

DVD, OR STORAGE CARD
You can generally purchase any PDA GPS Software on either DVD, or a storage card. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE DVD:
1) You can reinstall later on a different PDA

2) The entire mapping system will be on your PC as well as your PDA. This means you can use your notebook as a GPS devise. This also means that you can easily create Waypoints on your PC and transfer them to your Phone.

3) You can easily select which maps you want to install on the PDA. E.g.: You do not need to install the entire North American Atlas but just the States/Provinces you need.

4) DVD version is cheaper.

CURRENT GPS SOFTWARE FOR THE PDA
The UPDATED Mobile XT Software is FAR superior to older versions. As such, older reviews may be inaccurate (you may find discrepancies between my review and others). I highly recommend the fantastic review posted at http://discussion.buygpsnow.com/forums/thread/4060.aspx BUT, keep in mind that since that review was written, some/most of the bugs have been fixed/changed in Garmin’s most recent releases of the Garmin Mobile XT software. Also, that review shows all screenshots in the Landscape View as opposed to the Horizontal View.

TOMTOM NAVIGATOR VS. GARMIN MOBILE XT
I have both TomTom Navigator and Garmin Mobile XT on my PDA -- I started with Navigator. They ARE NOT EVEN CLOSE. At first glance the TomTom seems a little more friendly and a little more powerful. However, once you get below the surface, you will quickly discover that the Garmin, though it is a little trickier to access the advanced settings, is far more powerful. The TomTom zooms quicker and redraws maps a little faster, but the Garmin has FAR GREATER DETAIL. The slow lag is worth the extra map information and the far superior view. And, in case you want to move faster, the Garmin offers 5 levels of detail quality -- if you really need the speed, simply choose the poorest detail. By the way, I never use my TomTom Navigator any longer.


Posted by: Lusay at October 24, 2007 1:17 PM
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