ALK has been making navigation software for a long time and was one of the first to support Windows Mobile. The company has struck a very clever deal with network operator T-Mobile which involves bundling its software with Windows Mobile devices, but you can also buy the software independently of any device for both Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs. I chose to take a look at the software with an Orange SPV C600 for this test.
ALK provides an in-vehicle charger for it Bluetooth antenna, but no mains power charger, while my SPV C600, not surprisingly, came with mains power charger and no vehicle charger. ALK rescues the situation by providing a splitter cable from its vehicle charger which allows you to simultaneously power the antenna and a Windows Mobile Smartphone via its mini USB connecter.
Recently I have been using either stand alone navigation systems or handhelds with GPS antennae built in, such as the Mio A701 and E-TEN G500 which I compared back in May. It felt a bit cumbersome to have to carry four bits of kit around during this test – phone, antenna, in-vehicle charger and splitter cable, but once set up in the car everything is pretty tidy and of course you may not have to cable anything up at all if handset and antenna are well charged beforehand.
The software is provided on a mini SD card. My version of the software covered the UK and Ireland and came on a 256MB card, but maps of Europe can be bought as an alternative and these come on a 1GB card.
Installing it to the internal memory of my SPV required deleting some software I had on there already to free up memory. I also had to junk my existing mini SD card to make way for CoPilot’s which contains the vital map data. The good news is that it is possible to use the free storage on the card – 90MB of it – to store data and applications. It may take you a while to rework things, but if you’ve been relying on a lower capacity card you may actually end up with a storage boost.
The CoPilot Bluetooth antenna is a bit on the chunky side – it rivals my SPV C600 phone for overall size – but it proved to be very reliable, and I was able to leave it in a pocket between the front driver and passenger seats rather than have it slide about on the dash.