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GPS for Android phone?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Harper77, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Harper77

    Harper77 Well-Known Member
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    My GPS in my car finally went and was thinking of getting another Garmin.

    However, since I am going to be moving from the Crapberry to an Android phone, a buddy told me that the Android phone actually has a GPS on it that works just like a Tom Tom or Garmin, with turn by turn directions, routes, destinations, gas stations, etc.

    Is that true? How well does the GPS on an Android phone work?
     

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  2. doniago

    doniago Android Enthusiast
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    I just started using it instead of my standalone Tom Tom and I was pretty impressed. I'm still getting used to it, and among other things I really need to remember to make sure to turn the volume on the phone up and increase the brightness from what I normally use, but it certainly seems to get the job done. If anything I'd say it ultimately has more functionality than my Tom Tom as well, which is...well, actually a little irritating given that I hadn't owned my Tom Tom all that long.

    In short, I'd say get the phone and test out the GPS on it for awhile before investing in another standalone unit, because you may well discover you don't need a standalone.
     
  3. Harper77

    Harper77 Well-Known Member
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    But if on trips, etc - can you ask it to find gas stations, restaurants, like U can with a Tom Tom?
     
  4. T.M.M.L

    T.M.M.L Android Enthusiast
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    Greeting Harper77,

    How well a GPS unit functions in a phone, can vary greatly. I had a samsung galaxy S that was truly hit or miss. When it worked it was great, but most of the time, it took too long to lock on to satellites and then sometimes never locked on at all. I now have a Incredible 2 and the GPS in it works fine.

    You get access to google maps, which is free. You can type in gas station, or restaurant and it will show you whats in the area. It also has turn-by-turn navigation.

    I haven't used a stand alone GPS, so I can't tell you which is better.

    Which ever phone you choose, give the GPS a test run to see how well it works for you.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Harry2

    Harry2 Android Expert
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  6. doniago

    doniago Android Enthusiast
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  7. Usta

    Usta Android Expert
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    Google Navigation is the free alternative and it does a decent job. However, if you want a true TomTom replacement, you can try Copilot or Navigon, or Sygic or nDrive.

    Or just wait for a while, because TomTom has promised to bring out their Android version ASAP. :)
     
  8. kmf

    kmf Android Enthusiast
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    Does anyone know how much data is consumed per hour when using a nav app with an android phone? Short trips are one thing, but all day navigation is another. For some users, based on their data plan, this could be an important concern. A stand alone GPS device may still be the best solution.
     
  9. Harry2

    Harry2 Android Expert
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    From my own experience:
    Navigon and CoPilot can use a data connection (e.g. trafic info for routing calculation) but they do not need it for navigation.
    In Navigon's settings you can uncheck data connection.

    With Sygic and nDrive should be the same.

    Harry
     
  10. salc

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    This is my experience using Android Huawei, gps wont work without the 55$ Android plan I used to use a mogul, 35$ cricket plan and gps and internet all worked fine. I activated my Huawei staying with the 35$ plan I still get internet but some functions wont work like gps unless your hooked up to wifi, Im not sure if there are any kind of modifications to make it work without paying the extra 20$ per month.

    Sal
     
  11. loonie

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    Depending on your provider will determine how well gps will be. & Also the device. if it has true gps or agps (assisted Gps)
    The assisted gps needs a data connection WIFI or data To get map update for directions.
    But if you don't fully exit navigation it will work even out of service area. Just the arrival eta will not be accurate.

    I took my garmin back to costco & got another android from metro this time. & somewhat pleased with it. It is more accurate then my garmin ever was.
    Have not used a tomtom But if I was going to buy another standalone gps it would be tomtom or a china model. I will never buy a garmin again. As it tried getting me to turn on dead end roads or service roads & walking trails.

    Google Maps & navigation Has provided me excellent service. Especially when I am in areas with wifi or data to search for places.
     
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  12. Usta

    Usta Android Expert
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    As mentioned already, most of the stand-alone SatNav software don't need any data connection.

    The free Google Navigation uses a very small amount of data only when calculating the route (either in the beginning, or when re-calculating the route).
    So, you may navigate from New York to San Francisco with a less than 1MB data usage.
     
  13. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    Pretty much like GPS on any other smartphone, including the Blackberry. What you're lumping all together as "GPS" actually consists of 2 separate entities on your device: the GPS receiver (the hardware built into your device) and the GPS app(s). It's important to understand the distinction. The GPS receiver only determines your location (latitude, longitude, altitude, time). Everything else you're asking about is determined by the specific app you're using. Google Maps Nav is stock on most devices but, like other smartphones, it's not the only GPS nav app out there. The other usual suspects have already been mentioned in this thread.

    Some GPS apps require data for maps. Others store map data locally. The GPS receiver doesn't need data to determine your location. You app may or may not. If you need/want locally stored maps then make sure that you look into GPS nav apps that do so. Google Maps Nav does not. It offers precaching but that's not a practical solution IMO. That said, plenty of others find it acceptable.

    That's an app question, not a device question. Most of the GPS nav apps offer POI searching.

    Again, depends on the app. Apps that store maps locally will tend to use less data for obvious reasons. As stated above though, even apps that store map data locally may use data for traffic and other information. Your question doesn't have a one-size-fits-all answer. The different apps have different data requirements and their own map data. Some use vector maps which are smaller and therefore use less data. Others are non-vector and will use more data. Your particular trip will also affect data usage. Any question of usage (whether GPS or any other topic) will not have a one-size-fits-all answer. You need to monitor your particular usage if you're concerned about it or use an app that stores maps locally (and possibly disable/prevent data access when using the app).

    Data requirements are based on the app, not the device. The GPS receiver doesn't need data. The app may or may not. Again, it depends on the specific app you're talking about.

    Carrier has no effect on GPS. GPS uses the GPS satellites. The carrier isn't involved except for downloading assistance data for aGPS.

    ...and this is a common misunderstanding. aGPS is "true" GPS. If a method of determining your location doesn't use the GPS satellites to determine your location then it's not GPS by definition. I know a lot of people tend to use "GPS" to mean any method of determining location, including tower triangulation, WiFi, etc but GPS specifically refers to GPS and nothing else.

    The only difference between aGPS and standalone mode GPS is that aGPS uses assistance data for a faster initial fix. That's it. Most aGPS receivers will fall back on standalone mode if assistance data isn't available.

    aGPS is not tower triangulation. As I stated above, tower triangulation isn't GPS either.

    No, it needs data to retrieve assistance data which is used for a faster GPS fix. The GPS receiver does not handle or need map data. Again, map data is handled by the GPS app. Your GPS app takes your location determined by the GPS receiver and then takes that location data and pairs it with the map data and other features that utilize your location. There's no universal store of map data to pull from. Google Maps Nav uses Google Maps map data. Navigon uses Navigon's map data, etc.
     
  14. egDonald

    egDonald Well-Known Member
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    I would just go and get a stand-alone gps unit for the following reasons (these are mine, and I don't push them on anyone, just sharing what I think)


    1. Using true GPS or aGPS on android will definitely consume battery as it requires a data-connection. Sure, you can charge your phone while it's working, but I don't like charging phones with a car-charger... myths and rumors scare me (ie. overcharging)

    2. I don't have experience with the android true GPS or aGPS apps, but if you so happen to get a call, then that means your navigation is going on a "break" until you hang up and bring the app back up. will it reset and you have to re-enter the destination again? Probably not, but again, another reason I'd rather just stick with a stand alone

    3. your phone is a phone. use it as such. This may sound a little "strict" as far as working-within-the-box, and I don't follow this to the "T". Phone was designed to be useful as a phone with full hand use. A stand-alone GPS, you can poke at it and still be able to focus on the road. Of course, there will be those out there that say they can use the GPS on the phone and navigate through the app just fine.

    4. your GPS slides off the dash or falls off the window, m'eh, it's just GPS. your phone slides off the dash or falls off the window... "oh man, please don't crack my screen!!!"

    5. you lose or get your stand-alone stolen out of your car - m'eh, it's $100 I can replace. you lose or get your phone stolen, that' $600 and or a contract you just gave up.

    6. your friend/family relative/wife/husband/child doesn't have a smartphone with data plan and whatever. You can't loan your phone out to them. You can loan out your standalone though :)
    Again, some folks may say "m'eh! I can deal with all 6 of those reasons, I handle my phone-GPS just fine". To that, I'm say "good for you." Like I said, i'm not trying to persude you to go one way or another.

    I use the phone GPS as a form of convenience. Not a form of reliance.
    For example, I'll rely on my point-and-shoot camera for nice pictures I want to capture. I'll use on my camera-phone for those convenient moments I want to capture.
     
  15. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    Go with whatever works for you for whatever reasons you decide upon. However, you'll be equipped to make such decisions with information. Assumptions like the ones in the post above lead to uninformed decisions.

    The GPS receiver consumes quite a bit of battery with or without data. As I stated, data usage depends on the GPS app.

    As far as overcharging is concerned, it's not an issue with Li ion batteries and a car charger isn't going to overcharge your battery.

    Apps aren't GPS or aGPS. Receivers are. And, as I stated above, aGPS is "true GPS". There's nothing fake about it. aGPS receivers use the very same GPS satellites that standalone GPS receivers do.

    Whether your navigation session is interrupted or not depends on:
    1. Whether your app requires data (again)
    2. Whether your carrier and device are capable of simultaneous voice and data

    There's no need to reenter your destination. Android is a multitasking OS.

    I.e. "Do as I say, not as I do", eh? :D

    My smartphones are always mounted and left in the GPS nav app when I'm using them for GPS nav. How is this any different from a dedicated GPS unit? Nothing prevents you from mounting your smartphone in the same manner as your dedicated GPS unit if you want to.

    If you hand hold the dedicated GPS unit it's just as awkward as an unmounted smartphone.

    I don't leave my phone in the car.

    Not my problem. I have no standalone to loan. YMMV, of course.

    I've relied on GPS on my smartphones for well over 10,000 miles of roadtrips across the US.


    Again, go with whatever works for you for whatever reasons.
     
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  16. Tre Lawrence

    Tre Lawrence Android Expert
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    I have been using phone-based GPS systems for 4 or 5 years. Won't be going back to standalone because I don't need to.

    The true portability (having my device almost everywhere) is worth it alone. That means even if I am carpooling, walking, biking, running... I most likely have access to GPS.

    I am a fan of TeleNav. With Google Maps caching feature, that program is even more valuable, IMHO.

    Question for egDonald: how does using your Android device as GPS unit increase the possibility of it getting stolen? I have also never heard of a device falling off the dash and getting smashed, either.
     
  17. egDonald

    egDonald Well-Known Member
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    I just gave my opinion. you don't have to follow it. just giving some thoughts. leave it, no problem with me. Just wanted to play the otherside of the line.

    Nonetheless, depending on how you mount your phone or how much you spend on a worthy car-mount for your phone, things happen and it's possible to fall, whether your in process of mounting your phone up or taking it down off the mount. Suction mounts to the window are susceptible of coming off - at least in my experience.

    as far as differentiating between assisted-GPS or "true" GPS, I meant "assisted" in how maps are downloaded to allow the GPS receiver to map it's location and position and "true" have stored maps. I'll start using "stored" and "unstored" maps.

    anyway, I'd assume that data connections might not always be available in certain areas you go through. nevertheless you'll do what you want.
    my personal preference is to have a standalone.





     
  18. takeshi

    takeshi Android Expert
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    Suction mounts aren't the only option out there despite how popular they are. I always use mounts that securely bolt down to the dash/interior.

    Right. That only matters if your app needs to download data to function. Not all do.

    Sorry for misunderstanding your use of aGPS. aGPS has a distinct meaning.

    I didn't miss that. My point is be careful how you present your opinions. You're presenting them as facts and that can be misleading to those that are reading up on the topic.
     

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