Saturday, October 27, 2007

TOP TEN* things my GPS device doesn't do!

I've had my TomTom Go300 for a little over a year now, and as I am finally starting to use it more and more, I'm discovering many things it doesn't do, that I really wish it did.

I was messing with my friend's $2000 on-board Navigation system in her shiny new 2007 Lexxus recently, and it wasn't that much better than my $300 device. Add the random 5- minutes on various, crippled in-store demo models, thus sums up my personal hands-on experience with navigation devices. If the one in the Lexxus doesn't do it, then I assume no GPS devices have these features. I'd love to get my hands on an upscale portable GPS system for comparison purposes (hint hint!).

For now, I've decided to start my "Top 10 things my GPS device doesn't do!", a work in progress, and in no special order:

1. Remember my Search! When I look up "Claim Jumper" and it shows me the wrong location, to look up another location, I should be able to go back to "Find > POIs..." type a C and it brings up recent searches. I shouldn't have to start all over. Alas, I get to fumble with spelling C-L-I-A.. delete, delete... you get the picture...

2. More U.S. POIs please! While the TomTom comes in $100 less than it's Garmin counterparts, has a cooler name and funnier commercials, the only real differences I've seen in the two brands is that Garmin is quite U.S.-centric while the UK/EU-oriented TomTom brand is a late comer to good ol' USA, and it shows. I was with a friend and he was looking for his bank, the second largest bank in the U.S. My bank is *the* largest U.S. bank. Yet, when I'm looking for an ATM, neither of them show up on the list of 40 banks I've never heard of. Isa this what I get for opting for the TomTom over the Garmin?

3. (Semi) Automatic POI updates. When I look up a POI ("point of interest")- namely an establishment with multiple locations (i.e. a chain store) like, say, "Claim Jumper"; The magic POI genie should notice I like Claim Jumper, and when I connect my device to my computer, it should check the non-existent POI database and download all the Claim Jumpers in the U.S. to my device. Asking first of course...

4. "Current Direction" option. When looking up a POI it defaults to "closest" location; You can change it, but for instance, the other day, the closest location was in the opposite direction I was headed. If the device were smart enough to notice, that'd be awesome. If it were dumb, but knew to ask "... in the direction you're going right now?" that would be nice too (of course, we never mess with our devices while the car is moving, right?)

5. Wifi/integration/access. After I gave up on finding my friend's bank on the TomTom, I pulled out my entry-level cellphone, accessed Yahoo, and found the address in about two minutes. Then I entered in the address in the GPS and was on my way. Wouldn't it be awesome to not have to use my cellphone for that? The TomTom GO300 does allow Bluetooth integration, but having read the manual a dozen times, I already know this is not a feature!

After proofreading a few times, I guess I wish the TomTom Go300 worked more like an iPhone. Then again, I didn't spend $600 on it. Then again, if I had an iPhone, would I need a GPS device? (I mean, once you hack it and install the 3rd party app).

This on-going list (and I promise I'll stop when I get to ten) brings up a few related questions I'll have to search the InterTube for answers:
- How does an establishment get their location in the POI database anyway?
- Can a user recommend POIs to the manufacturer? If so, how?
- Just how much can I hack my GPS device before it stops working?

What are your peeves of your GPS device?

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