Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mitch Wagner tells us why we shouldn't wait for Turn-by-turn...

...and I tell you why he might be wrong.

Mitch says "The obstacles can be summed up in one word: Wires. Steve Jobs hates wires. He's right about that. Wires are ugly, inconvenient, and they get tangled up in hairballs. Using turn-by-turn directions for the iPhone will result in a lot of wires running all over the front of your car. "

Well, yeah, wires are bad! That's why Steve Jobs enabled synch to iTunes over wifi and bluetooth. Wait. He didn't?! ;-)

Well, I don't know what Mitch used for navigation before, but I tell you what I did. I used my Nokia E61i with TomTom and a bluetooth GPS mouse before. Wires? Well, yeah, there was one (in numbers: 1) wire that connected my phone to a power source. Don't know where Mitch's "a lot of wires" should come from.

Then there's the iPhone's speaker. "The iPhone's built-in speaker is too weak to use on its own." Well, the speaker on my E61i wasn't the loudest one, but it was fairly loud enough to be used for navigation purposes. As the iPhone's speaker definedly is louder that the E61i's was, I presume that should be quite enough.

The battery is to weak for turn-by-turn? Well, of course it is! And of course you will need some kind of external power source, or can you name an in-car navigation device that will run on battery all day long? There won't be much of them, I presume. Beside that, you have a power outlet in your car, so why shouldn't you be using it (like all the other navigation gadgets do)?

But Mitch goes on:
"So here's what a car trip using the hypothetical iPhone turn-by-turn directions would look like: Get in your car. Put the iPhone into its cradle. Plug one end of the power cord into the iPhone. Plug the other end of the power cord into your cigarette lighter. Connect the iPhone output to an external sound system, either through a hardwire or by putting on your Bluetooth headset and powering it up. Then you're ready to start the iPhone and its turn-by-turn directions app. That's a lot of trouble just to run down to the store to pick up a quart of milk. I'm exhausted just thinking about it, I need to lie down."

Mitch, you should get some exercise. Seriously ;-)
Well, the solution Mitch thought of sounds cr**py. Why? Because it is the wrong solution. It sounds like something knocked together from individual parts to a makeshift solution.
I don't think he has ever seen some kind of in-car solution that uses a PocketPC, Windows Mobile smartphone or something else.
Here's what it could look like: you have a cradle in your car, attatched to the windscreen by a suction cup. There's exactly one cable that plugs into your power outlet, preferably a helix cable that wouldn't be "running all over the front of your car".
The cradle itself has a dock connector that plugs into your phone automatically when you put the Phone into the cradle. Beside that, it also features a loudspeaker (which is also connected trough the dock connector).

See? No cables, no hassle, just a simple cradle, plug and go. I think Mitch could be able to handle this whithout having to lie down, sitting in the driver seat should be fairly enough. ;-)

It could look something like this, not so ugly, but I think you see where this is going.

But that's not enough. Mitch also says that a reason for not having turn-by-turn might be and "fear by TomTom and other makers of GPS software that the iPhone would cannibalize sales of dedicated GPS hardware".
Well, yeah, this might be a fear of TomTom, but why should the companys that produce GPS software only be feared of that!?

But in the end, Mitch says "
In writing this blog post, I'm taking a risk. After all, I'm just speculating here." Well yes, me too. But I'm still confident that turn-by-turn will be there soon. So let's just wait and see who's right in the end (and hope that it will be me).

Monday, October 27, 2008

No Turn-by-turn? Theiphoneblog says why...

Well, we all know that there is no official solution for Turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone, yet. Why? Well, let's have a look at Theiphoneblog. Some points they make sound quite reasonable, but in my opinion only at first sight.

Licensing conflicts? Well, yeah, Apple doesn't own the data provided by Google. Who said that an Application made by Apple would have to use Google's data?

SDK agreements? Well, that is no point at all because Apple made the agreement and they can change it any time. Beside that: the agreement applies to 3rd party developers only, not Apple.

A company like TomTom would be afraid of less hardwae units sold? Sorry, but that's complete bulls*. TomTom, like many other, already sells their navigation software to be used on cell phones. It runs on Windows and Symbian based handsets. So, why shouldn't they sell it on the iPhone as well?

Well, I don't have any better idea myself at this time why there might be no Turn-by-turn on the iPhone, but I still think that it will come soon, maybe this year...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yet another candidate for turn-by-turn navigation...

...and yet another "Coming soon" is 3DVUs Navi2Go. A nice feature seperating them from others like TeleNav is using Google Earth (or similar) satellite images for their maps, thus giving you a quite nice impression about your surroundings any maybe making it easier to use it (3D Buildings seem to be included as well).

But then, similar to all the others, you have to have an internet connection to use it, which renders it almost useless while being abroad (and having to roam).

Still, the suspense continues. On the one hand, there (still) is the SDK agreement that forbids turn-by-turn, on the other hand there are all those companies that claim to have software ready or at least ready soon...

I hope we'll be surprised soon ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Turn-by-turn on the iPhone, this time for real?

Theiphoneblog recently reported a rumor about turn-by-turn coming to the iPhone soon. The rumor says that Apple might be developing a navigation software for the iPhone. But it's just a rumor, nothing more yet.
Anyway, I'm still confident that we'll see turn-by-turn before the end of the year.

In other news, RoadComms "LifeInPocket" is said to be available on the iPhone soon. As "usual", no data is stored locally, making it uninteresting for navigating abroad (roaming costs, you remember?). Beside that and the availability on the iPhone at this time, it seems quite unlikely that it will feature turn-by-turn-navigation on the iPhone.