Author Topic: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?  (Read 3455 times)

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2013, 01:33:00 pm »
Further research; Looks like the standard Ipad and mini do not have GPS.  The 3G versions do have Assisted GPS but that sort of defeats the object as it seems like you need a phone signal to get any position data.  Back to the drawing board.
Cancer changes your outlook on life. Change yours before it changes you.

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2013, 01:44:02 pm »
Nexus 7 has GPS, if you're looking along those lines.

And I strongly suspect (but do not know) that the apple products' assisted GPS will work without phone signal, it will just find you faster if it has one.

contango

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Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2013, 02:38:03 pm »
Further research; Looks like the standard Ipad and mini do not have GPS.  The 3G versions do have Assisted GPS but that sort of defeats the object as it seems like you need a phone signal to get any position data.  Back to the drawing board.

Do they support bluetooth?
Always carry a small flask of whisky in case of snakebite. And, furthermore, always carry a small snake.

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2013, 05:39:26 pm »
Bike specific GPS units ( the Edge range ) were designed to record where the cyclist has been, how fast the cyclist has been and details of the hills the cyclist has ridden up.
Garmin thought it might be wise to have some sort of navigation facility like their eTrex range.
IMHO, they skimped on this area, concentrating more on connectivity to your PC.

Nevertheless, lack of written instruction about building a Route has brought owners together in a jolly community on web chatrooms like this.

Use any other device than a Garmin, and you are on your own. Other GPS manufacturers speak their own language. Smartphone manufacturers don't speak any recognised GPS / GPX language, as I believe, GPS is a handy add-on in case of an emergency while out shopping when the user cant find Jane Norman.

IMHO, smartphones are not the tool for the job in an Audax world.


Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2013, 06:06:05 pm »
I think the point about the phones being 'Smart' is that they do whatever you program them to do.

Viewranger software/app, for instance, can allow a cheapish phone to behave like a sophisticated GPS device - including uploading & downloading GPX files to a PC.

The main advantages of a Garmin are physical - it's designed to be used in a 'hostile' environment, (and possibly it has it's own 'community').

Mostly covered upthread.
If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is...

Toady

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2013, 09:44:59 am »
My knowledge in this area is rather out of date  but ... The power management and multi tasking (or lack of) features of some phones may mitigate against them effectively recording tracks.   If the phone can't/won't allow a background task to monitor the GPS and record positions then you can only use it when you are directly interacting with it.  About 3 years ago when I looked these features were by no means universal.

And with the phone being busy monitoring two (or 3 now) phone networks (GSM, 3G and now LTE/4G) plus possibly WLAN an extra app sitting in the background monitoring GPS is not going to help battery life - which is already a black mark for phones vs dedicated units. 

The great advantage of a phone is connectivity.  No need to plug it in to the PC at home to up/down load your routes/tracks.  The great disadvantages are relative fragility and battery life.

I don't think the days of the dedicated GPSr are necessarily numbered.  But as phones get better they will lose ground and become confined to more and more specialist areas. 

If I was inventing one now I'd go for a ruggedised device with a multi-channel GPS (so can get a quick fix without A-GPS) with a SIM and radio packet interface (2G/3G/4G), WLAN, ANT+ but no voice capability running Windows Mobile or Android.  But it would be so expensive and niche that it would fail, probably.

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2013, 10:07:38 am »

If I was inventing one now I'd go for a ruggedised device with a multi-channel GPS (so can get a quick fix without A-GPS) with a SIM and radio packet interface (2G/3G/4G), WLAN, ANT+ but no voice capability running Windows Mobile or Android.  But it would be so expensive and niche that it would fail, probably.

Why amputate voice capability?
Seems to me something rugged like the E30 with a SIM and basic voice & text capability (with a choice to put it into flight mode so there is no battery hit) would be a better route to cutting down on the number of devices one has to carry.  I wouldn't bother with data connection.

Toady

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2013, 10:42:04 am »
Why amputate voice capability?
Seems to me something rugged like the E30 with a SIM and basic voice & text capability (with a choice to put it into flight mode so there is no battery hit) would be a better route to cutting down on the number of devices one has to carry.  I wouldn't bother with data connection.
Just to save on complexity.  I thought if I kicked out the microphone and the gubbins for handling calls it would make it a bit simpler. 

For me the data connection in the GPS is an absolute must as it means I can up/download my routes, tracks and base maps without PC connection.  It would automatically go to "flight mode" if it didn't have anything to do, in order to save battery.  Connection would be opt-in rather than opt-out.

Toad Devices Inc isn't trying to cut down the number of devices you carry, but to produce the best dedicated GPSr.  We've admitted we can't compete with Android, WP and Apple on versatility.
 
If it had voice capability it probably wouldn't be a very cool phone anyway because of the ruggedisation (note to self.  find a better word) and high GPS focus so people would still have their own phones. 

If I had to I might put some VoIP capability in there.  It wouldn't have a camera either.  That should cut things down a bit too. 

However Toad Devices Inc is probably heading straight to the Official Receiver anyway.

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2013, 10:58:54 am »
You could maybe cover that use with WiFi, rather than needing phone network.

I fear the niche for a non-smartphone dedicated GPS is going to shrink rather than grow though.  And there are several well-respected players in it already.  Brave move...

Toady

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2013, 12:04:07 pm »
You could maybe cover that use with WiFi, rather than needing phone network.

I fear the niche for a non-smartphone dedicated GPS is going to shrink rather than grow though.  And there are several well-respected players in it already.  Brave move...
Toad Industries (we daydream about anything) are nothing if not brave.

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #35 on: April 19, 2013, 12:43:36 pm »
 ;D

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2013, 06:56:42 pm »
If anyone is looking for a bike-oriented phone, you may be interested to know that Sony have a number of Android handsets with built-in ANT+, including several with waterproofing.

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2013, 06:52:34 am »
http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/high-tech-airwave-ski-goggles-from-oakley-bring-augmented-reality-to-the-slopes/

were on the news this morning.

Apparently, the caveat is you shouldn't use them while skiing,,,,

Toady

Re: Are cheap smartphones making bike-specific GPS redundant?
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2013, 10:33:52 am »
By the way, I was riding with a friend at the weekend, who is trying to use his iphone for logging rides, knowing his current average speed, distance, metres climbed and so on - (he has no plans for using it for navigation but he's training for an event so wants to monitor progress).  The limited battery life completely undermines his efforts, to the extent that he is considering other power options (spare battery pack etc).  I don't know what software he was using, but I think it has an option to sample position less frequently to use less power, which he had set.  All the same, his phone died during our 80 mile jaunt but my ancient 60CSX was still on 2 bars from a couple of tatty old 2000mah rechargeable AAs at the end.   At the moment I think that's a critical difference in useability.  It not only failed to record the whole ride, but it left him without a phone afterwards, so he had to borrow mine.  I suggested that a second hand etrex or similar off ebay would be his best option. 

And, by the way, we were always in reach of a good mobile signal.  If we'd been out in the wilds and his phone had been struggling to connect to the network things would have been worse for him.

The do-it-all single device is a great concept, but it's also a single point of failure.  You want to keep your phone working for emergencies, whereas if your GPS dies you can revert to maps, roadsigns etc.

While I'm riding I put my phone onto battery save (2G only) mode and it lasts for days or else switch it off, while I have enough in the way of spare AA batteries to last my GPS for days.