Old Android based phones for GPS?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by ben2go, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    I had and old T mobile pay as you go HTC phone that my son used.It ran Android 2.2 Froyo I think.The phone wasn't connected to any net works.I had all that stuff deactivated.I ran the GPS and that was all.It worked good on road.I kept it in my front jacket pocket and it picked up sats quick.IS anyone using a cheap older phone for GPS only and is there anyway to load POIs and other offroad areas to the phone?I never tried that when I had my son's phone.
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  2. RandyReider

    RandyReider Kind of a Big Deal

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    I've started doing this recently after selling my Zumo 660. I have an HTC Inspire using Nav Free that allows free download of great quality maps that seem to be every bit as good as was on the 660. (The maps even have bridal trails in the local state forest that are perfectly GS-sized. ;)

    Yesterday I realized also that the latest version of Google Maps for the Android allows map download for offline use, which is a huge help. ALSO- since I signed in with my google account, all of the maps, waypoints, and routes I'd saved in Google Maps on my computer instantly came up on my device. (this is something that my brand new Zumo wouldn't do even after hours of trying.)

    It's not a perfect solution, as screen brightness can be an issue as well as access to the power button when mounted in my RAM aquabox, but these cheap Android phones are miles ahead as far as software/capability. How well I can make the hardware work is TBD, but things look promising.
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  3. loph917

    loph917 Beard Bros Racing

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    There is also Locus Free (see the Google Market). You can download vector maps off-line for it to use. You can transfer your GPX to the phone and Locus will use them (tracks) to follow. Not really sure about its on the fly routing capability as I don't use it. Other options are OSMAND and Orux Maps; both of which can use pre-made maps off-line (different format than Locus).

    All three of these apps are actively developed and are getting better all the time.
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  4. MrMac

    MrMac Been here awhile

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    There are a number of GPS and navi apps available for Android, so it just depends on what suits your task. Some come with complete map sets for the areas you wish to use. I'm a fan of CoPIlot which you can download with the complete US or North American road database. There is a free version, but the paid version is worth it, at least for on-road navigation. Navigon is another; more expensive but with a slightly better road network. For off-road, some of the others mentioned already would work very well. The cool thing with using an Android is that you can install as many of these programs as you want; limited only by space on your SD card!
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  5. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    Thanks for the input.I'm not to up on these so called smarty phones.I still use a basic mobile with text and calling only. :lol3









    Note to self,do more research on smarty phones with Android OS.
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  6. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    I've become partial to Orux Maps... free, hugely customisable... too customisable in fact, as it took me quite a while to nail down the settings that turned it from a marginal-maybe candidate to the clear winner. I built my own tiles to use with it as I wanted very specific maps (based on OSM data). If you have screen glare issues, try going with high-contrast (Black and white as much as possible) and you might be surprised at the difference. It worked very well for me.

    David...
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  7. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Don't be geeky. Tell me what I need:lol3 I don't want to jump through any hoops. Plug & play:clap

    My zumo 550 died. Is there a android phone that I can use as a stand alone GPS? Buy the phone. Charge it. Put an app on. Connect to my Google Maps "My Places". Follow the turn by turn route. Does this exist? What phone is it, and what do I need to do?

    Yes. I'm thick:rofl
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  8. Nialis

    Nialis Super Motarded

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    Yea please enlighten us :D
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  9. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Apparently, we're the only ones looking for this:lol3


    Seriously, this is the direction I'm thinking of going. It seems like a much cheaper option than buying another Garmin, plus it will allow me to play around with Android while my iPhone is still under contract.

    Someone, please lead us:norton
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  10. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    Android offers a lot of choice, and that's your first hurdle. you need to decide what you want and then figure out how to get there. Me... First, I don't care about routing so tile-based local maps are the best option for me. Second, I'm experienced in manipulating my own mapping data... so I want the option of custom maps and that raises the technical bar considerably. Most don't need this. Others will work differently. What I'm trying to get at is that there isn't going to be a single cookie-cutter answer to what you need. Sorry.

    However, to answer your question, no. You can't just point the old phone at google maps and get what you want, not without the phone being on a data plan and you being in a cell service area. You need to load the maps on the device and if you want routing then you need an app on your device that offers routing. Yes, they exist. Also, you will need to figure out mounting and power for the device. And, finally, you will soon realize that all screens are not equal. Daylight readability will depend on your device and the maps you run.

    David...
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  11. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    Android offers a lot of choice, and that's your first hurdle. you need to decide what you want and then figure out how to get there. Me... First, I don't care about routing so tile-based local maps are the best option for me. Second, I'm experienced in manipulating my own mapping data... so I want the option of custom maps and that raises the technical bar considerably. Most don't need this. Others will work differently. What I'm trying to get at is that there isn't going to be a single cookie-cutter answer to what you need. Sorry.

    However, to answer your question, no. You can't just point the old phone at google maps and get what you want, not without the phone being on a data plan and you being in a cell service area. You need to load the maps on the device and if you want routing then you need an app on your device that offers routing. Yes, they exist. Also, you will need to figure out mounting and power for the device. And, finally, you will soon realize that all screens are not equal. Daylight readability will depend on your device and the maps you run.

    David...
    #11
  12. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    Sorry, but I think it doesn't exist.

    Unless you are willing to play around/learn new stuff then you're best off buying a new Zumo.

    Also, I recommend buying a fancy/expensive android phone instead of an old cheap one. Because the old ones are crap. If you want to avoid screen glare/heat/reliability issues, then you don't want just any android phone. You need to do a bit of research and find a good one.
    #12
  13. Rydah

    Rydah Remember the Night Rydah!

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    David, what routing apps have you tried?
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  14. Rydah

    Rydah Remember the Night Rydah!

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    Some companies are offering "rugged" Android smart phones that are water, dust, shock resistant, so would be better suited for motorcycle use. Google Maps come free with these, and Google Maps is constantly evolving. Google Maps can be manipulated on your home computer, saved to your Google account, then accessed on your phone when you want it. The newest version allows you to do some routing: once you put in your start point, then end point and Google creates a route, it then allows you to edit this route by dragging sections of it to match where you want it to go.

    Problem with smartphones is you don't have as powerful a GPS radio as on a stand alone unit, so reception can be an issue. Also, data plan usage can get costly when navigating this way.

    I'm hoping the hardware as well as software for these smartphones will continue to evolve though, as it sure would be nice to have a true all-in-one unit to carry around.

    And, I sure would like to see Garmin get some real competition.
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  15. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    iGo and maps for NA came with the CyberNav I bought. The CyberNav is just an Android tablet with a decent GPS chip in it (my review here). Honestly, I found iGo to be completely, well, not what I want. It did on-the-fly routing and in my limited testing it did work. However, I'm not particularly interested in having a computer tell me where to do. I want the GPS for the bush, where routing would be useless anyway. Like I said, the first thing you need to decide is what exactly you want, because there are so many options.

    http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Android
    This is a list of Android mapping apps that do Open Street Map data. There are, of course, many other mapping apps, but this list is a good place to start. Might as well see if free will work for you before looking at the paid stuff.

    David...
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  16. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

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    WoW!I'm glad I started this thread.I didn't think I'd get but one or two responses.Getting lots of good info for you guys.Keep it coming.
    #16
  17. abhibeckert

    abhibeckert Long timer

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    Has anyone actually tried any of these? I've yet to see any reports on how good they are.

    My experience is the opposite with regards to reception. It's almost perfect, it is usually correct within 2 meters, and it gets a cold fix on my position very fast. Obviously I haven't tried every phone available, but I'm not aware of any that are known to be bad.

    Data plans are an issue if you use the wrong mapping software (eg: stay away from google maps unless you use it very rarely). It's something to be aware of, but there are simple steps you can take to make sure you never use any data or use almost no data.
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  18. Rydah

    Rydah Remember the Night Rydah!

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    They are very good if you are in coverage areas, but when you get out in the boonies, they are no match for a stand alone GPS, and sometimes can get no satelite reception at all. This is of course up here in the US; can't comment on Down Under.
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  19. FixerDave

    FixerDave KLR650 - XR200R

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    GPS tracking is a function of the GPS chip used, the antenna, and to a lesser extent the software running them. A phone requiring an always-on location fix will obviously have a head-start when the GPS app is run up. Also, the cell-site info and to a lesser extent any WiFi info will assist in narrowing down the location to speed up that first fix. A-GPS it's call, at least on the WiFi side.

    I've not done full side-by-side comparisons between my CyberNav (Android tablet) and my Dakota 20 but, seat of the pants, the Dakota wins on first lock in difficult situations. It will simply pick up satellites where the CyberNav won't. I'd say the CyberNav has just as good, if not better (newer anyway) chip, but it just doesn't have the space for a decent patch antenna. The Dakota is built around the antenna; the CyberNav is built around the screen. Thus, the CyberNav is a little more like my old Etrek... sometimes I need to move to a better location to get a fix. But, once it's got that lock, it seems quite tenacious.

    I'm talking about deep woods stuff. Out on the road, you're not going to notice the difference and the A-GPS stuff might even give a tablet/phone an advantage.

    David...
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  20. GODSPEED

    GODSPEED finger lickin' good

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