With the release of the Apple iPhone 3GS and version 3.0 operating system, a number of vendors started offering fully-featured sat-nav apps for the world’s most headline-grabbing smartphone, starting with Navigon and then TomTom. But the app that has particularly grabbed the attention of iPhone owners since then has been ALK CoPilot Live, in particular because the UK and Ireland version is about half the price of its competitors.
We’ve already put the Windows Mobile version through its paces, and the iPhone spin has essentially the same basic features and interface. However, we didn’t activate the full gamut of live services at the time of that review, as they weren’t all yet available. So for this review we got our iPhone up and running with the Premium Live functions, which cost an additional £19.99 a year. The extra facilities include traffic updates, a local search, and fuel prices.
All these functions use your iPhone’s mobile data link, or Wi-Fi where available. However, three of the Live facilities are already included even with the basic software. These are the Live Link, Live Weather, and Roadside Assistance. However, the latter just gives you a number for the AA with the facility to call it directly from your iPhone, plus all the details of your current location. So it’s not quite as 'live' as the other functions. The weather service lists a five-day forecast for the location of your choice, and you can get a more detailed report for any given day, although this involves leaving CoPilot and loading the AccuWeather website into Safari.
Live Link is intended to help you track your friends and facilitate meeting up with them. However, they also need to be using CoPilot and be signed into Live Link for this to work. You will then be able to call up a map showing where they are, and also send them messages, which can include information about your current location so they can navigate to meet you. You can also track your friends who are signed into Live Link via the CoPilot website, and send them messages from here as well. It all sounds very impressive, and the Web facility could even be used for coordinating a fleet of vehicles. But its proprietary nature limits its usefulness.