GPS Come in a format for all of us

Look in any retail catalogue right now and you will be bombarded with offers to buy GPS units. The sector has really hotted up, especially now customers can buy a basic unit for just over $200. A basic GPS makes it easy to get from A to B, they make your trip faster because you take the best route; your car will be more efficient on fuel economy; GPS provides you with an expected arrival time; but for me the most important thing is that GPS removes any headaches from getting somewhere you have never been before.

Karl and I went through some of the many options for GPS on the market now. There are so many models, because there are so many customers with different demands for their unit.

Here are the ones we looked at:

Magellan Cross Over – Seen at retail for about $1150

Four in one GPS Unit with Street Maps for drivers, Topographical maps (for bush walkers) and Marine gps for fisherman and boaters. But hang on, I said ‘Four In One’, well the Magellan has the ability to purchase maps of 4WD tracks and take the unit off road.

Read more – Click Here

Navman F10 – Seen at retail for $230

This is an option if you want to get from A to B, with a few popular locations (like carparks and petrol stations) pre-installed.

Tom Tom RIDER – Made for Motor Cyclists – $799

This model is made for motorcycle users and is designed for ease of use and portability. It includes a touchscreen that is specially developed for use with gloves, is waterproof and includes a Cardo scala-rider™ Bluetooth® headset for in-helmet spoken instructions.

Tom Tom XL – My pick – $449 RRP

If you want a decent model GPS that not only gives great directional support, but also has a host of extra features like spoken Street Names (instead of just ‘turn left in 200 metres!) then the XL from Tom Tom is a good choice.

I find a screen less that 4.3 inches is too small for me, and this model allows has really intuitive touch controls.

The best feature that has come to GPS is the live traffic up-dates. Under the new SUNA system of real time traffic up-dates, devices like the Tom Tom XL can receive traffic information on the fly via the addition of radio antennae (it retails for $150). Once on board the Tom Tom will be advised of traffic on your route and if it is going to slow you down by more than four minutes, it will plot a new route and give you the option to take it or stay on the current path. Have a read of their website on how they do this and the Australian locations where the service is active.

Humanware – Trekker Breeze – RRP $995

This unit is designed for people who are visually impaired and will assist them in navigating their local community. It features talking GPS directions that help users know where they are and where they are going whether on foot or in a vehicle. Users can record routes as they walk them with the assistance of sighted companions. Routes can then be previewed and activated for future use.

We had a demo of the unit with the guys who import the product into Australia and the concept behind it is brilliant!

Read more about it here

Prepaid For A Healthy Wallet

A Current Affair are coming around this afternoon to chat about ways that families can make sure they are not smashed by high internet bills from their kids using internet plans that charge for extra data after the allowance runs out. If you are around your tv, tonight flick on A Current Affair from 6:30pm to watch the segment.

Travelling Overseas and Want Email On The Go? – August 27, 2008

Big thanks to Keith for emailing in and asking about travelling overseas and what technology to take along for the ride.

We are looking for the most practical and economical way to keep in touch with family via phone/email while travelling on holiday in the UK during Sept/Oct of this year. Would appreciate your opinion.

There are two ways to do this:

1) Eee PC – this is a low cost laptop pc that is cheap, small/lightweight and does all your email, skype calling, websurfing and basic photo managing too. If I was going to travel and needed to be able to type emails, surf the web to book last minute hotel deals while I was away and call family skype – this is what I would get. Being a Qwerty keyboard it lets you type miuch faster and you can do it when on the train, plane, ferry etc.

With built in Wifi the device can be hooked up to the net through any wireless hotspot.

The cost is about $500 for a basic Eee PC and at 1kg it will not add much weight to your luggage.

I think the only thing you might find on the negetive side is the small

2) Smart Phone – if you want something more like a phone I would suggest getting something like the new Palm Treo. Being able to access wifi will mean you can use the phone function sparingly while overseas (as it will cost a lot to receive calls from your Aussie phone number), but you can still surf the web, make skype calls, check email etc using the wifi.

If you have any other ideas, be sure to add them to the comments list.

I have copied the press release below, it waffles a bit but gives a decent overview of the functions –

Treo Pro Smartphone by Palm, Available on Telstra’s Turbocharged Next G™ Network, Balances Simplicity and Productivity

SYDNEY, Australia, Aug. 20, 2008 – Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) today introduced Treo™ Pro, which will be available exclusively from Telstra on the Next G™ network – Australia’s largest and fastest mobile broadband network.

With its streamlined design and Palm® shortcuts layered on Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, Treo Pro is a unique combination of sleek simplicity and robust productivity — including email, Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities(1) — that meets the needs of businesses and end users alike.

“Businesses want the control and savings that Windows Mobile affords, in an innovative and elegant package that keeps their users happy. That’s where Palm comes in,” said Ed Colligan, president and chief executive officer, Palm, Inc. “Everything about Treo Pro — from the hardware design to the packaging and accessories – embodies the elegant and simplified end-to-end experience that our customers expect from Palm.”

The Treo Pro smartphone lets IT managers support an increasingly mobile work force with the ease of use and robust feature set business professionals demand. Besides the benefits of lower infrastructure and support costs and increased productivity, Treo Pro can deliver the increased security, easier device management and access to information on the corporate network that Windows Mobile 6.1 provides.

“The Treo Pro smartphone widens Telstra’s offering to business professionals who are looking for a well-designed device that offers access to the business functionality and rich content services they require,” said Ross Fielding, executive director, Telstra Product Management. “With the additional benefits of HSPA on Telstra’s super-fast Next G™ network, and Palm’s differentiated shortcuts on Windows Mobile 6.1 and support for Telstra services, we are sure this smartphone will be very popular with our business customers.”

Users can quickly respond to business and personal email, access the web, stay on top of appointments and contacts, and use Wi-Fi or GPS on the go.(1) Treo Pro’s thin design blends a flush, high-resolution colour touch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard with a removable battery that packs up to five hours of talk time and enough strength for the business user’s needs, offering a powerful yet effortless mobile experience.

“Treo Pro is an impressive smartphone,” said Glenn Mason, chief information officer, GrainCorp. “It builds on the successful Palm Treo 750 in our enterprise — from enhanced functionality such as Wi-Fi, GPS and greater battery life, to ease of use and support, which is fundamental when you have more than 300 smartphone users.”

“The Treo Pro smartphone with Windows Mobile 6.1 brings a powerful personal computer experience to the small screen, improving how people do business on the go on a single device,” said Grace Kerrison, director, Mobile Communications Business, Microsoft Australia. “It delivers an experience that’s easy for people to use, and simple and cost-effective for businesses to deploy.”