Back in June 2005 I looked at Navicore Personal, a GPS system for use with mobile phones. I was impressed with it but observed that it lacked certain features. The 2006 version has now arrived and low and behold now contains every feature that the original lacked. The good news is that it’s available at the same price as the previous version - £200. Existing users can upgrade from the Navicore web site, www.navicore.co.uk for £61 for a new MMC card and £54 for a CD-ROM.
The key features of the Navicore package consists of three items. The first is a Bluetooth receiver that uses the SirfStar III chipset. Essentially, this means that it’s using the latest technology so can pick up a GPS signal speedily and without line-of-site. This means that you can keep it in your glove compartment and not have to worry about it flying off your windscreen.
The second part is a 256MB RS-MMC card, (Reduced Size-Multimedia Memory Card). This contains the full map of the country you’ve bought it for – the UK in our case. Map data is provided by Tele-Atlas and is also available for France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Benelux, Sardinia and the Alps. The first time you fire up the software it asks you to enter in a registration code, which then registers it over-the-air and locks it to the device. If you change phone you need to re-enter this code to re-activate the software. However, if you change both your phone and SIM card, you need to contact Navicore to be able to use the software.
Navicore runs on Symbian Series 60, Series 80 and Symbian UIQ phones and there are different versions of the package for each. Most Symbian phones, such as the 6680 supplied for testing, are Nokias, but the software also runs on Siemens’ SX-1, the Motorola A1000 and the Sony Ericsson P910.
The box also contains an in-car charger for the Bluetooth module. There’s no wall charger but the connector is a standard Nokia so you’ll already have one on your mobile phone. Just to make it clear then, this package does not include a mobile phone – you have to bring your own. An advantage of this is that you don’t need to buy extra hardware to get GPS, save for the fact that the Bluetooth unit is external.
The other benefit is that you tend to have your mobile phone with you at all times so you’ll have the maps at your fingertips. Of course there’s a good choice of PDA’s with built-in GPS receivers but that does mean that you need to have both the PDA and your mobile to carry with you.