tomtom logoPopular GPS manufacturer TomTom has launched applications for the iPhone, but we’re not sure how in the world they came up with their pricing.

TomTom has been one of the leading names in GPS navigation systems for some years now.  When the iPhone came out with its application platform, it was fairly well known that the company would be releasing turn-by-turn apps for it, but it just wasn’t clear when that would happen.

Well, the day is now, and… we’ll pass, thanks.

The applications are available for four different regions and are priced at $95 for New Zeland, $80 for Australia, $100 for US and Canada and $140 for Western Europe.  Seeing as stand-alone TomTom units start at $120, well, to be blunt, you’re pretty much getting ripped off here.  You’ve already paid for the iPhone and then you get to pay for the privladge of putting TomTom software on your device… for nearly the same price you would have paid for it in the first place.

Thanks, TomTom!  Way to show your greed.

We’ll pass.

Categories: gps, Mobile Phones   

google maps 3.2Google has updated Google Maps for mobiles to add new layers that will bring even more functionality to the popular mobile application.

According to the Google Mobile blog, starting with the new  version 3.2 of Google Maps for mobile devices, you can add locations to a route from your desktop and then access them from you mobile device so you have the information on the go.  Make notes of places to stop along a route you take driving, walking, running or whatever and you’ll never forget it.

If you end up in a new area unexpectedly, you can access the Wikipedia information for the area to find interesting place to go.  If you prefer you can just search for types of places you are looking for, or just browse various categories to try to narrow your results.

So far the new version is only available for Symbian S60 phones and Windows Mobile devices.  There are plans to roll it out to other platforms, but no release dates were announced, or even what platforms they will be doing for sure.

Categories: Google, gps, Mobile Phones   

tomtom simpsonsWhen you need to get to your destination, would you trust Homer Simpsons to get you there? Well, owners of TomTom devices can now try their luck with the character.

The voice of yoru GPS can be a droning annoyance at times, and even though TomTom units offer 70 voices in 36 different languages, the company has opted to sell celberity voices that you can add to the system to guide you to your destination.  The latest addition to their stable of celebrities that includes the likes of John Cleese, Kim Cattrall and Mr. T, is Dan Castellaneta.  His name not ring a bell?  Well, he is better known as Home Simpson from the long running animated series The Simpsons.

As you can imagine, his directions are a bit different than the normal ones you hear.  For instance, when did your GPS last say to you “Take the third right. We might find an ice cream truck! Mmm … ice cream”?  More than likely it never has.

While it is an amusing idea, it’s easy to imagine you would quickly tire of it, and seeing it as it sells for $12.95 and €9.95, it’s a bit expensive for a novelty.  For a die-hard fan of the show, great idea, for your average user, you can probably give it a pass.

Categories: Gadgets, gps   

gpsThe United States government gave access to the Global Positioning System (GPS) to the world, but we have reached a point where we are abusing it?

There is no question that GPS has made many parts of our lives safer and easier, but you have to wonder when do we finally say, “Okay, enough with using it for absolutely everything in our lives!”  It has made navigation at sea a breeze, planes use it and it has made long road trips a lot simpler than having to constantly look at a map, but at the same time it seems to be taking away common sense also.

Do we really need to use it to avoid getting tickets from speed cameras?  Do we really need to track friends family via the GPS in their phones at all times?  And are we so far gone that we can no longer know which house to demolish based on a simple street address?  Never mind the numerous stories of people that have taken wrong turns off bridges and the such when they decided to listen to their GPS unit over common sense.

None of this is to say that you shouldn’t enjoy the benefits of a system such as GPS, the crew at StarterTech are fans of the car navigation and cell phone tracking aspects of it, but shouldn’t we also realize it isn’t the ultimate solution to everything under the sun?  While the house demolishing seems a bit suspicious, the people who follow in-car navigation to the point of driving off roads in to rivers… well… they’re just morons.  Sorry, but it’s true.  ”The GPS told me to go here… I don’t care that it’s water…”, okay, you deserve to have your car sink (although we do hope you get out in time).

Just because a technology has reached an affordable price point doesn’t mean we should slap it into every conceivable device and use that we can.  And what do we do if somehow the system goes down?  We will then have a life filled with useless gadgets and no idea how to do certain things any more.  (does anyone remember how to read a map?)

Technology is a wonderful thing, and it can solve many problems, but that doesn’t mean we have the right to not only use it as a crutch, but as a complete replacement for common sense.

Categories: Gadgets, gps, Opinion   

garmin nuvi 750GPS is my new friend.

Everyone who knows me knows I have no sense of direction—I can get lost going in a straight line with no turn possibilities. For that particular reason I have come to rely on my OnStar in my car and maps from various sources.

I am on the road and in my car more hours than I do anything else so I must have decent simple directions in a hurry –I can’t read maps while I am driving so I need an alternative. Now, as much as I love OnStar there are times when it just doesn’t get me where I am going due to certain route requirements set up by the provider. The operators have trouble sometimes routing me in a simple manner such as fewest turns, no interstates or gas stations located in front of me not 20 miles behind me!

So I decided to look into a technology I had used before but had set aside for OnStar—GPS. WOW!! How times have changed!! Done all in color, voice rendered directions and a wealth of information readily available—my dream. I purchased a Garmin NUVI 750 and I couldn’t be more pleased. I can change my route easily, find a gas station at midnight, locate food in a small town—and I really don’t have to look at the screen as my new friend “ Chatty” tells me where to go and when to go—heaven!!

I have only one complaint and that is the book of directions left a lot to be desired and I do mean a lot. I worked with the unit for several days and learned so much—I wasn’t afraid of it and I didn’t let it win and now we have a comfortable relationship in my techno zone. There will be more to come on this subject as I learn the basics and the fine points of my new best friend.

Categories: Gadgets, gps   
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