GPS Connectivity Bug On Samsung Vibrant/Captivate – New Fix Released

The Samsung Galaxy S has been a great phone overall and has really been one of the hot-selling smartphones in recent times. However, there has been one bug that has affected a couple of Galaxy S variants since release. Samsung Vibrant and Captivate owners have frequently complained about a bug with the device’s GPS system that occasionally disconnects or reports an inaccurate location to the user.

In September this year, we had written about a fix that was released by Samsung that was expected to resolve this issue. And it hopefully helped most users. However, if you are one of those still seeing a problem with your phone’s GPS, the company has rolled out a new guide that should help you through.

The guide takes you through a series of instructions to help you resolve the GPS bug. You can click on the links below to check them out.

Samsung Vibrant
Samsung Captivate

iPhone Unlock Causing GPS Crash & Signal Issue

The iPhone Dev team recently released the latest unlocking tool for iPhone 3G and 3GS devices running the latest version 4.2 of the operating system. The unlocking solution was made possible with the help of a known exploit that the iPad’s original firmware was learned to be still vulnerable to. You can read all about the unlock in our earlier article here.

Since the release of the unlock, several users have complained that the application seems to be breaking the iPhone’s GPS software. Users have noted that the unlock either causes the iPhone to crash or cause the GPS to lose signals. In an update to their announcement, the iPhone Dev team had noted,

“Unlockers have been reporting mixed results about GPS functionality at 06.15.00.  Until we can track down what differentiates those who retain GPS vs. those who lose it, be conservative and assume you’ll lose GPS at 06.15.00.  As we work on finding the cause (and possibly a fix), please report your personal findings in our comments section. (Update: early indications are that while 06.15.00 is capable of GPS, it will require some further hacks.  But please still be conservative and assume you will lose GPS at 06.15, in case the hacks don’t work).”

Apparently, the team is still at work at deciphering the missing links and notes that the issue is not due to the limitations of 06.15. In a recent tweet, popular jailbreaker from the Dev Team, MuscleNerd has written,

“We’re working on a fix for those who see the problem (it’s not a limitation of 06.15, we know that much)”

We will let you know if and when a fix becomes available.

New GPS App For iPhone With Multitasking Compatibility From Magellan Launched

GPS applications for the iPhone are dime a dozen. After TomTom, Garmin and Navigon released new versions of their GPS applications that will make use of new functionalities on the latest iOS, it is now the turn of Magellan to follow suit. The GPS navigation developer has released their new Magellan RoadMate GPS app that is compatible with the multitasking capabilities of the iPhone. That means, users may turn on the turn-by-turn navigation of the application while working on another iPhone app at the foreground. Not really something you will need if you are the driver, but you needed this update and here it is.

Apart from this functionality, the new version of the Magellan iPhone app will also include real-time traffic tracking that will give you information about traffic jams, accidents,etc. so that you may take the required diversions. This is a free update and is made available through NAVTEQ.

The Magellan GPS app costs $44.99 at the App Store and you can download the app by clicking here (North America).

Google Maps Navigation For Android Phones In Australia Releasing This Week

Google has announced that Australian Android users will soon be able to access Google Maps Navigation; free turn-by-turn GPS navigation system, starting Wednesday this week. The application has already been released to users in USA and most parts of Europe over the past one year.

The company is reported to have sent out invitations to the local press notifying them about the launch event. The invite reads,

“What happens when your personal navigation device is powered by Google? We’d like to invite you to the launch of an exciting mobile update – Google Maps Navigation (Beta)”

The announcements are expected to be made by Andrew Foster, product manager for Maps at Google. According to sources, the company is also talking to officials in Apple over bringing the new Google Maps Navigation to Australian iOS owners.

Garmin GPS App For iPhone And Blackberry Launching

There used to be a time when GPS apps were one of the most expensive and profitable applications on the smartphone marketplace. With the proliferation of Android devices that come with free GPS alternatives, that may no longer be the case. But that doesn’t mean the GPS software makers are out of business. The companies have still been adopting to the new market environment by making applications for these smartphone platforms.

Garmin is now revealed to be making new applications for the iOS and Blackberry platforms. The apps are expected to be offered as free downloads and these new PND applications is expected to be made available on the iPhone App Store and Blackberry App World shortly.

Meanwhile, Garmin has also inked an exclusive deal with Asus for the Android platform. The partnership will mean that Asus will hold rights to complete branding and distribution of Garmin’s PND downloads on the Android platform. Of course, this deal will not affect Garmin’s plans for the other smartphone platforms like the iOS and Blackberry OS.

Mio M300 Launch In Europe – Price & Features Reviewed

Thanks to the terrific rise in popularity of smartphones, the past year has surely been a tough time for developers of GPS navigational equipments. Platforms like Android have been offering GPS services for free and that has surely got GPS manufacturers like TomTom up the ante and rethink their business strategy. Sure, we now have quite a few mobile apps from these companies that are being offered as substitutes for the traditional GPS equipments. But this is not to say that the regular GPS tools do not sell anymore.

Mio has only recently launched their new Moov M300 entry level portable navigation device in the European market. The device has been available in other places from as early as August. But it’s launch at a time when there is doubt about the future of PNDs make it a device to take note of.

The Mio Moov M300 is pretty small. It measures just 79 x 93 x 19 mm in dimensions and weighs less than 135 grams. It comes with a 3.5″ screen with a 320×240 pixel resolution display, a Samsung 2450/400 MHz processor and is powered by a SiRFstarIII with InstantFixII GPS receiver. Other features that the M300 is equipped with include a lane guidance system, voice-based guided navigation instructions, multiple route options and a choice of 2D or 3D maps.

The Moov M300 has been pretty fairly accepted by the early adopters and has seen some pretty positive reviews. The device is available in most European markets at a price of €75. Of course, if you are looking to add more maps and other packages, the cost will be higher.

Have you tried a M300 yourself? What are your views on this device?

TomTom iPhone App Gets “Navigate To Photo” Feature

Ever since GPS applications became ubiquitous and sometimes free on the smartphones, companies like TomTom have been discovering new ways to stay relevant and on top in this competitive industry. The company has been releasing a number of interesting new features to their iPhone app. Just recently, TomTom introduced a super-responsive navigation system on the iPhone. This was after the company offered support to multitasking and retina display in the earlier iterations.

Following these releases, the company has now introduced another very useful feature – Navigate to Photo. The new feature lets users to pick a geo-tagged photo from their album as the destination and lets TomTom provide directions to the same. The feature is not just innovative, but is also useful in the sense that it allows users to navigate without having to input any of those confusing addresses and street names.

The update is free for existing users. And if you do not have the app yet, be ready to shell out $50 at the US iTunes App Store for purchasing this app.

GPS Lock Problem On Samsung Vibrant – Fix Now Available

If you own a Samsung Vibrant, you will be aware of the GPS related problem that has affected the users since the phone launched. Apparently, the GPS radio on the phone fails to lock to a particular location many a time. And if it does, it fails to relock when the user location changes. Samsung had acknowledged the issue last month and had offered a fix soon.

Finally, the company has now announced that a fix for the GPS lock issue on Samsung Vibrant is now available for download. Affected users will need to have the Kies program installed on their device. Launching Kies will prompt the users about the update that can be installed. It is not clear whether T-Mobile shall send an OTA update to users since having them to install Kies just to fix this issue does not sound fair enough.

If you are a Samsung Vibrant user, don’t forget to write in the comments about your experience.

Mio Navman GPS To License TomTom IQ Routes For New GPS

TomTom is learnt to have licensed its IQ Routes technology to rival Mio for their newly launched series of Navman GPS devices. These new launches named ‘470’, ‘475’ and ‘575’ will integrate TomTom’s IQ Routes with the in-house ‘LearnMe’ feature.

IQ Routes makes use of historic car speed measurements on roads to calculate the optimal journey while LearnMe studies the routes that you like to take and over time will be able to customize your route options based on your personal preferences.

470 and 475 are expected to be a 4.3″ touchscreen device while 575 shall be a 4.7″ touchscreen. Navman 470, 475 and 575 are expected to be priced between £99 and £149.99 and shall launch in May.

[via TrustedReviews]

Device Orientation Based Context Detection On Smartphones

In order to make applications easy to use, smartphone manufacturers offer a variety of shortcuts. Additionally, these devices also come with reconfigurable buttons so that the same button may be used for different purposes depending on the application that is open and context.

Palm Inc. wants to take it a step further by including the device orientation and GPS functionalities to determine the context. For instance, while on a camera app, pointing the device vertically (perpendicular to the earth surface) in portrait or landscape mode may let you capture a photo. However, taking the device’s orientation parallel to the earth surface may open the album.

This is among the several embodiments that Palm wants to incorporate with its new patent impending technology. Here are some examples quoted from the patent application

In an Amusement Park

“when a user enters a park (e.g. an amusement park), a server automatically downloads a file to the smartphone. When the smartphone is laid flat and a dedicated button is pressed, a map of the park is displayed. When the smartphone is pointed at an attraction (e.g. a ride, a trail, etc.) and a user input is received, information relating to that attraction (age and height restrictions, wait time, trail length and conditions, etc.) and/or other media relating to that attraction (music, an instructional video, etc.) are provided.”

Pointing at Building For Information (Uses GPS and Orientation)

“A user may point the smartphone at a restaurant to obtain information relating to the restaurant and/or other restaurants in the area. The information may include menu selections, nutritional information, hours of operation, links for making reservations, and/or other information related to the restaurant. This same example may be applied to other types of businesses and/or other buildings as well (e.g. to identify the businesses and their location in a particular building).”

Remote Control for TV

“A user first programs the smartphone to control the TV (e.g. may be a series of on-screen prompts, may be through selection of codes associated with the TV that are tested until a change is detected, may be by pairing the phone with the TV–e.g. through a Bluetooth connection, and/or may be through some other method). The user also programs the smartphone to provide quick access to the remote control functions of the smartphone when the smartphone is pointed at the TV while the smartphone is in the same room as the TV. In operation, when the smartphone is pointed at the TV, the smartphone is configured to send a signal to the TV to control the TV (e.g. using IR commands for TVs with IR receivers and using RF commands for TVs with RF receivers).”

Orientation Based context input