A number of manufacturers have stopped developing their PDA and smartphone apps in the last couple of years, including Navman, which was one of the first to enter the market. But one company which is continuing to go from strength to strength is ALK Technologies. CoPilot Live dates back to Windows CE PDAs with GPS jackets, but it is still the top-selling sat-nav software for smartphones. Whilst Navigon has turned its attention to the iPhone, with TomTom soon to follow, ALK launched the latest CoPilot Live initially on Android, making this the first fully featured sat-nav app for this platform. It has also just launched an iPhone version. But Windows Mobile is still its main focus, and latest in the line is CoPilot Live 8, which has the same core features as the Android and iPhone versions, but with some important extra benefits.
CoPilot Live has taken advantage of smartphone integration for a while. But the latest version gets even closer to the current benchmark of sat-nav mobile data integration - TomTom's LIVE Services. Traffic updates over GPRS were available in CoPilot 7. These were bundled for T-Mobile customers or cost £34.24 for two years if you were with a different provider. CoPilot 8 includes basically the same capabilities, which also work over Wi-Fi, and pricing is currently the same as version 8. You can call up a listing of current traffic incidents, and when navigating you will be offered the choice of rerouting round jams if desired, dynamically as they build up. However, the Android and iPhone versions of CoPilot don't currently offer live traffic, with this being promised in a future update.
Live Link was also available in version 7. This is like Google Latitude, allowing you to track friends who also have the CoPilot software, and then navigate to their current location. This could be handy for finding family members, or tracking co-workers also kitted out with CoPilot-enabled smartphones, but probably won't be the most significant feature for most users.
However, there are some useful new Live Services. There's Live Weather, which gives you a five-day forecast for your current location, or any other destination you choose. The data comes from Accuweather.com, and you can click through to the latter's site for a more detailed hour-by-hour forecast. ALK has also added dynamic Fuel Prices, which will let you find the cheapest petrol in your vicinity or any other location, although the service wasn't operating yet in our early review sample. It's also a premium service like the traffic updates, requiring an (as yet undisclosed) extra fee.