Standard in- car GPS( global positioning system) devices will face a tough competition in the form of smart phones using Android system which is an operating system for mobile phones developed by Google for people not up to date with the latest technology development. A software update of phones using Android operating system includes some brand new features such as turn-by-turn navigation and Google Street View capability, making benefits for those who have GPS installed to the cars.
Rivalling to the in-car GPS devices, these Android powered smart phones are capable to work like one of them especially with the turn-by-turn feature where an input on the destination will provide the directions to the place. What truly set the smart phones over the GPS devices is that these smart phones are constantly connected to the Internet, making the maps and the road directions to the locations are always accurate and up to date. Unlike those stand alone GPS navigation systems, these phones need not be linked to the computer for regular updates on the map as it itself are mini computers with Internet connection.
These Android-powered phones also use the Google search indexing making it easier to look for the destination as there is no need to key in the full address to get the result. Just the name of the building would suffice to make it safely to the destination. There is also an option to use real time traffic information display as an overlay for the routes, just like the Google Map feature available on iPhone.
The Google Street View application allows it’s users to see the ground level photos of the roads they want to see. Google claimed that for the users of the smart phones with Android operating systems, they can have the phones to be automatically changed into Street View when approaching the destinations and the phones are also able to display satellite photos. There is also voice search capability for phones running with Android 2.0 and newer such as the Google Nexus One, Motorola Milestone, Acer Liquid, Droids and HTC Desire. This will allow inputs in speech which is much faster than typing.
The downside to the wonderful piece of devices is that just like all phones, it is heavily dependent on the cellular connection and not satellite signals. This will be a problem should the area heading to not have cell coverage or a weak signal. There are also data charges for using Android phones. A rough estimation of data charge shows that a 20-kilometer trip will take around 200 kilobytes of data. The bill will also be rather expensive if you use it outside the country. But if the fee is nothing of your concern, or you have an unlimited data plan like many do, then this will be a perfect device for you.
The upgrade of Android phones is only applicable for its 1.6 version or later.
Dan Ponjican is a blogger at http://www.ShopAndroid.net/ and covers all topics relating to Android devices and phones.
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