Waze Offers up Holiday Goodies

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Waze has a holiday promotion on that will help you accumulate more points in their Social Driving App. With Candy Canes, Snow Flakes and Santa Hat icons on the roads, you are bound to grab a few more points driving around these days.

With over 2 million users, the social driving application is mapping roads, giving navigation directions and helping you get from here to there along with other Wazers. The Driving Groups allow you to find other Wazers who are like you, and preferentially learn about their alerts and traffic problems over the others that may not apply to you.

Waze has also mentioned on their Blog that a high resolution - Retina Display Ready version is coming soon!

More on the Holiday goodies and using the Waze App at Waze

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 2, 2010

Waze Surpasses 2 Million Users


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Waze, the "Social Navigation App" has reported that they surpassed 2 million users; a pretty good sign that they are either past the "Tipping Point" or pretty close to it. The free App allows people to navigate using their iPhone, Android based phone or BlackBerry all while accumulating points in their game-enhanced user interface. Users have driven about a quarter Billion, yes, that's with a "B" kilometers using Waze. That's important because it's a crowdsourced model, with drivers actually mapping the world, reporting on traffic, and correcting map issues while they drive. Points are awarded for driving more miles with extra points for driving roads that are a little out of the way where the maps may need a little refinement.

What's Good About Waze?

I use it, and like it for a few less obvious reasons traced back to a couple of key fundamentals of Waze; namely the gaming and the social aspects.

  • Navigation with reports on Police Traps all in one - with others driving the same roads I do on a regular basis, police traps get reported on the driving map. A key signal that the App can be trusted is that you can see others driving, adding accuracy to the maps, to traffic reports and to police traps.
  • The Gaming Points Craze - like checking into Foursquare, and gaining points, Waze offers points for driving, and other positive behaviors (reporting map errors, traffic jams or police traps). I think that this is a key factor in their success. I whip out Waze when on longer drives to make sure I grab as many points as possible. You can also tap on other users you see on the map and "Ping" them to write short messages back and forth (Waze does caution you not to type and drive, and you can elect not to receive these messages). I actually "saw" Scott of GPSFix while driving down the road one day having a short conversation with him via the "Ping" feature. BTW - he has like 40+K points to my ~13K points; I need to keep driving to catch up!

It's not for everyone though. It has an element of "beta" to it as some of the areas of the country are less reliable than others which then return some unusual directions, but if you join the 2+ million users, you can help refine the accuracy of the maps around you. They are constantly upgrading the features and I have seen steady improvement over the last several months.

Hey it's free, why not try it out.

More info at Waze

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 28, 2010

TomTom iPhone App - On Sale Now

If you missed out on other deals on Black Friday, or maybe missed out on Navigon's Black Friday iPhone App Sale, TomTom has their own going on right now, up to $20 off their iPhone App.
The lowest price is only $35 for navigation across all US. It continues to be one of the top grossing Apps in the iTunes store.

The very capable TomTom iPhone App continues to evolve, offering quick and easy navigation in your pocket, along with traffic, iPod integration and can pull addresses from your contact list. I reviewed the original, and the version 1.2 upgrade which was a major feature upgrade. I continue to see high quality progress with the recent addition of traffic (ver 1.3), and iPhone 4 compatibility (ver 1.5).
  • TomTom USA Version is only $35
  • TomTom US & Canada is only $40
all available at TomTom iTunes
Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 17, 2010

Waze + Foursquare = Social Good for TGiving


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Waze and Foursquare are teaming up to do a little social good this year for Thanksgiving; check in at a Food Pantry using foursquare, and Waze will donate to Feeding America. This helps show how Apps can work together to highlight a cause and raise awareness to further the mission of a charity. They are of course highlighting a big need; hunger is more prevalent that you might imagine in the US, and a campaign like this can help spur donations for food.

A few cool features that can drive engagement are:

  • Waze has worked with Feeding America to show locations of foodbanks on the map so you can see them as you drive.
  • You are encouraged to bring a food donation to the foodbank.
  • Waze and Foursquare will check you in without even leaving the Waze App, under settings, then Profile, just log into Foursquare and you to enable this feature.

More info after the jump.....


ArrowContinue reading: "Waze + Foursquare = Social Good for TGiving"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 2, 2010

Review: Fisica ANT+ Sensor Key for the iPhone

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The Fisica Sensor Key ANT+ receiver for the iPhone is a small wireless receiver that allows you to hook your iPhone up to ANT+ sensors giving you access to a number of fitness data feeds. These data feeds can include available heart rate monitors, cadence sensors, power meters, foot pod, and even some health related sensors like a scale and blood pressure devices. The possibilities are vast, not only for developing fitness Apps, but also for building some advanced health trackers. Today we'll concentrate on the lighter stuff like going for a bike ride using the iPhone as a monitor including a heart rate monitor.

Fisica Sensor Key and Line of Fitness Sensors

The Fisica Sensor Key was sent to me by their maker, Wahoo Fitness who also makes a line of fitness sensors that run the ANT+ wireless spectrum (Available At Wahoo Fitness). There are also several other makers that offer ANT+ sensors that will now work with your iPhone. Wahoo has a list of compatible ANT+ sensors at their website, and offers their own sensors if you don't have one already. They also publish an API, allowing App developers to use the sensor in a customized way inside their applications, giving readouts, capturing data, and offering visual and audio feedback during or after a workout. The ability to capture this information in a connected device has the power to significantly improve the capability of applications that utilize the sensor data feeds.

Wahoo Fitness has a good stable of Apps that use the Fisica Sensor Key capability already, with more on the way. I am trying it out with the MapMyRide application on my iPhone 4, and used the 3.7 version of the App - the Free version to start and then the "+" version that currently costs $4.99 on iTunes (It was provided to me by MapMyRide).

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: Fisica ANT+ Sensor Key for the iPhone"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 27, 2010

Waze - Halloween Treats on the Road

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Waze has a few tricks up their sleeves for the Halloween Season, namely, some Jack-o-lanterns and ghosts on the road for a little eye candy. The mobile app allows users to navigate from point to point while also contributing to the quality of the map coverage.

For those who use Waze, these new icons replace the cupcakes that you used to gobble.

For those who don't Waze, this is is their way of getting people to drive over little used roadways and confirm the location of the roads. By gobbling up the treats, you earn extra points and raise up your status in the Waze community. The more you gobble the treats that are placed on lesser used roadways, the better to mapping becomes and the better the product.

I recently went to NYC from the Boston area and was pretty thankful to all of the folks who reported police traps along the way; thanks.

More info on Waze at the Waze Website.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 21, 2010

TomTom hooks up HTC with Maps for Mobile

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TomTom and HTC announced that they are teaming up and putting TomTom maps and navigation on the HTC phones. This gives users a high quality experience will start with the HTC Locations capability, offering maps and location content. For an extra fee, turn-by-turn navigation can be downloaded either directly through the HTC LOcations App or through HTC Sync.

The big news here is that HTC decided to team up with TomTom and not bring the standard Google fare to the phone. TomTom has been working their iPhone App pretty hard, updating it as recently as last week to keep it current, and feature-rich. The move to bring that expertise from the iPhone to the HTC product line is a logical extension.

The TomTom maps and navigation will be available on the Desire HD and Desire Z smartphones in Asia and Europe, rolling to other phones and geographies.

Full Press release below......

ArrowContinue reading: "TomTom hooks up HTC with Maps for Mobile"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 1, 2010

Fisica Sensor Key Arrives for Review: ANT+ Receiver for the iPhone

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The Fisica Sensor Key ANT+ receiver for the iPhone has arrived for review just in time for a few Fall rides. Wahoo Fitness, the maker of the ANT+ receiver is out of Georgia. The Fisica Key plugs into the 30-pin connector on the bottom of the iPhone to pick up a number of signals from ANT+ health sensors. These sensors can include Heart Rate Monitors, cadence, foot pods, power meters for bikes, scales, with more coming.

Wahoo has a list of compatible ANT+ sensors at their website, and offers their own sensors if you don't have one already. They also publish an API, allowing App developers to use the sensor in a customized way inside their applications, giving readouts, capturing data, and offering visual and audio feedback during or after a workout. This sensor has the potential to change how people use the iPhone for workouts, capturing key data that hasn't always been easy to capture, utilize and incorporate into a workout regime. The opportunity here for the application developers is that this data can not be integrated into powerful Apps that utilize the mini-computer strapped to your arm to give you in the moment readouts or instructions during your exercise.

The Fisica Sensor Key plugs easily into the bottom of the iPhone, and about the size of a US Quarter coin. Yes it protrudes from the phone, but it is not a big deal in my estimation so far.

Wahoo_Fisica_Sensor_Size.jpg

I am trying it out with the MapMyRide application on my iPhone 4. The folks at MapMyRide are allowing me sneak peek at the new MapMyRide version 3.7 that incorporates the Fisica capabilities seamlessly. The new version is in the Apple approval process and should hit the App store soon. In quick testing around the house and yard, I as able to strap on my Garmin ANT+ HRM, plug in the Fisica Key and have the HRM sensor data right on the workout screen where you would come to expect it among other data fields.

Check back at GPSLodge as we try out the Fisica Sensor Key for the iPhone and MapMyRide application that incorporates the ANT+ sensor information.

The Fisica Sensor Key and the Whaoo Fitness line of wireless sensors are available at Amazon.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

September 29, 2010

Waze Results: Social Driving is Popular - New User Groups Announced

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Waze has released some interesting data that shows their Social Driving groups are popular among users, and are starting to form around traffic and commuters most often, hopefully helping to solve a major headache for so many consumers.

Social Driving doesn't mean chatting with your friends in the back seat on the way to a party Saturday night; here it means joining a Waze Group with people you probably don't know. over 1.5 million users are using the free mapping and navigation application that is available for popular smart phones, and their recent release of their social driving groups is spawning some interesting behavior.   

Waze has released a case study that shows a full 70% of the 4,199 groups revolve around commuting, while a significant number of them also focus on other aspects of "people like me" - like employee groups or others with the same type of car model.

Today Waze is also announcing and publicizing the formation of two special custom user groups: One for the Statesman - the Austin TX newspaper, and NBC2 in Southern Florida. With this, expect Waze to be the system that enables easy reporting of traffic incidents and other problems in the metro area while keeping informed from others in the social group.

I have been using Waze on and off lately, and find it interesting and intriguing with its game-like incentives, and its feeds from other users in my area. I like the potential for reporting of police traps, and accidents that haven't hit the traffic systems yet. I have seen others reporting police traps on the road I was traveling, and have been thanked through the Waze chat system from others who appreciated my instant incident reports. I have found the maps getting better and better over the last few months, and have contributed to the new road listings in my area. The App is still growing its confidence in teh roads, and I would rate it better for daily local use than for long distance use where you might have a bigger chance of dealing with map quality issues.

More info on this story at the Waze Blog



Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 22, 2010

Fisica Heart Rate Monitor Adapter for iPhone - Get HRM Data in Fitness Apps

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There is almost no end to the things you can do with a smartphone these days, and GPS tracking for fitness activities is a popular use for these increasingly sophisticated applications. The iPhone has a pack full or fitness applications, and now there is an easy way to get your heart rate monitor (HRM) data into the iPhone App with the Fisica Fitness Key or the Fisica Fitness Case from Wahoo Fitness.

The Fisica ANT+ compatible receivers can pull in HRM, Cadence, and foot pod data into numerous applications across the fitness category in what appears to be a new standard for App developers. Already there are more than three dozen applications that use the Fisica adapter technology, with more on the way.Fisica_iphone_case.jpg

  • Fisica Fitness Key - plugs right in the bottom of your iPhone/iPod Touch to pull in the fitness sensor data. The fitness key is available now.
  • Fisica Fitness Case - wraps your iPhone in a water resistant storm proof case that also acts as a mount. The case ships in November.

Because the Fisica receivers are ANT+ compatible, they work well in a growing community of sensor products including: Garmin, Timex, Cycle-ops, SRM, Metrigear, Adidas, Quarg, as well as their own set of Wahoo sensors.

The MapMyFitness family of Apps work with the Fisica products; I have been using the MapMyRide App (iTunes Link) more and more lately and like it a lot. It captures my rides, easily uploads them to their free website service where I can also search for other rides in my area and keep a record of my training.

More at Wahoo Fitness

Full Press Release below......

ArrowContinue reading: "Fisica Heart Rate Monitor Adapter for iPhone - Get HRM Data in Fitness Apps"

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

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