At the rate satellite technology is progressing, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some time in the next two years even mundane stuff like credit cards and cheap MP3 players had GPS receivers built in. The technology is becoming so widespread and so cheap for manufacturers to include that anything seems possible.
For now, though, smart phones are leading the way in GPS adoption. Last month we took a look at Asus’ business-targeted P526, which had navigational capabilities; an now we have another kid on the GPS-enabled block – E-ten’s Glofiish X800, which has a far more consumer-focussed outlook.
On the face of it, it’s a very similar device. It’s a PDA phone based on Windows Mobile 6 – the Professional edition in this instance – with no hardware keyboard for text entry. It has that GPS receiver so you can add the GPS software of your choice, from Google Maps to full-blown navigation products such as CoPilot Live or Pocket Navigator, which I reviewed here recently, and it’s Wi-Fi-equipped too.
But that’s where the similarities end. One look at the candy red rings which surround both of the X800’s camera lenses tells you that the target audience is more likely to be into handbags or designer label jeans than pinstripe suits and shiny black brogues. The black rubberised edging and silver trim cap the bling bling effect, and it’s pretty slim for a PDA phone, too, measuring a supermodel-thin 15.8mm thick.
But that’s not to say the X800 is short on technical ability – far from it. The X800 has more impressive business credentials, in many ways, than the more staid Asus. Notably it has support, not only for quad-band GSM and EDGE-enabled GPRS, but also 3G and 3.6Mbps HSDPA for lightning-quick Internet connections. It has a pretty generous allocation of ROM, too, with 172MB free for storage out of the box. The X800 also has a microSD slot for augmenting this.