I've been using a relatively old [and by that I don't mean I snagged it from one of my relatives] Pocket PC and version 2 GPS Software with Bluetooth GPS receiver from Navman (I'm using the Navman GPS4410 Bluetooth GPS unit) for sat-nav, the combination of Pocket PC and GPS unit/software has been working extremely well.

The new Streets and Trips 2006 software supports turn-by-turn voice navigation as well as a bunch of other useful updates for GPS/navigation.

So, having a few minutes spare at lunchtime today I decided to install Streets and Trips 2006 onto my OQO Ultra-Portable full PC device which is running Windows XP Professional - I have the version 01, not the latest 01+ (larger hard drive, more memory), and hook the OQO up to my existing Navman Bluetooth GPS 4410 unit.

Installing Streets and Trips was simple, getting the OQO 'paired' to the GPS4410 was also quick and easy - The Bluetooth "add device" wizard added the GPS4410, and displayed two new virtual COM ports, COM3, and COM4, one for inbound data, and the other for outbound data - I forgot which was which, but with only two ports to choose between getting Streets and Trips connected was a snap!

The next step was to drive away from Microsoft campus, I'd set the display to auto-rotate which worked well - the final step was to enter an address (One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA, 98052) and get turn-by-turn directions, the GPS unit knew my existing location, so simply needed to calculate the trip from my existing location to my destination (which was actually just round the corner).

Here's a photo (yes, I was in the passenger seat, not driving, holding the OQO, and taking a photo!) of the OQO showing the Streets and Trips UI.

The software/hardware combination worked pretty well - overall, I think I will stick to the Pocket PC/Navman Software/GPS4410 though - here's why...

  1. The boot time for the OQO is more than a minute - the Pocket PC is instant on
  2. The Navman software is designed for the Pocket PC UI and Pocket PC User - Streets and Trips didn't like running on an 800x400 screen, I needed to extend my screen resolution to 800x600 and "scroll" the UI to see some of the GPS pane controls
  3. I like having "favorites" on my Pocket PC, home, recent trips, that kind of thing - this may be supported on Streets and Trips, I've not spent too much time trying to find it

I also have a broken (old) Acer Travelmate at home, I might see if I can get that back up and running, perhaps the larger screen might work better than the OQO.

More on this once I've had a chance to resurect the Acer...

I think this does raise an interesting question on the direction of hardware/software for mobility - Do we see an overlap in the form factor and capabilities of devices like the OQO and devices like the HTC Universal, if so, where do you think this is this headed?

- Mike