With the launch of HTC's Hero, and with other Android phones from the likes of Samsung looming on the horizon, it seems the perfect time to take a gander at ALK's CoPilot Live 8 satnav software, which is now available for Android and the iPhone. Despite costing just over £25, CoPilot has all the features that you'd expect from a …
Had it for about 3 months on my Dream. Thoroughly impressed. Perhaps needs some extra processing power that the Hero can give it but apart from that, excellent.
Not the latest version
The software has been updated since this review and now has a qwerty keyboard layout and the crash problem is now fixed on the Hero. Brilliant piece of software at a good price
Crash, what crash?
Firstly, I have Copilot on a T-Mobile G2 Touch (Hero) and I've never experienced Sense UI crashing on exit. Note, it's not called TouchFlo any more, though the process still is!
Secondly, ALK recently released an update which changes the keyboard to a QWERTY layout, which is better. However, I'd prefer they just used the Android "standard" IME keyboards.
Otherwise, a good review - just got back from a road trip through France to Spain, and Copilot worked flawlessly.
the only thing i use my phone gps for is to find out how lost i am. other then that, it's a pain to drive and pay attention to the damn thing!
Dark Glasses supplied
Wow, those colours!!!
The fact that TouchFlo causes problems all goes to show that mobile phone makers should not be allowed to mess around and add their own interfaces.
They've been doing it for years with WinMo, mainly because WinMo needed these extra hacks. But I always preferred a clean WinMo install for stability reasons.
Now they're screwing up Android instead.
I'll stick to the iPhone for now. Perhaps someone other than HTC can produce a stable Android phone?
Unfortunately, the article makes no mention of ALK licencing restrictions. Unlike other android applications, you cannot simply redownload and reactive it if you lose your handset - a licencing and registration system similar to the one used on the WinMo versions of this software appears to be used in tandem with google checkout.
Whlie this may not sound like a particular drawback, I had my hero replaced around a month ago and redownloaded copilot. Everything went perfectly until a little over a week ago it decided it was now a trial version and refused to run. Brilliant when you're lost in Leeds city centre.
Furthermore it's now around ten days since I raised the issue with ALK asking how to resolve the problem and so far, no response. I've no doubt I'm going to wind up on the phone to them for an hour next week trying to sort the sorry mess out. Hardly the epitome of customer service.
Personally I can't wait to see some other satnav sofware suppliers getting involved with android, perhaps having some competition will cause ALK to make some effort re customer service.
I agree Copilot is good VfM.
I've just bought live 8 for my WinMo phone after finally getting fed up of the way TomTom rip off their customers.
Glad I made the switch it does everything it said it can and looks nicer as well, I agree they need to tweak it more for use on HTC devices with TouchFlo or vice versa, HTC need to tweak the TF more.
This is one great-looking app!
"The first satnav system to make it onto Android".
There are two there already to my knowledge. NAV4ALL and ANDNAV
Totally agree although both negative points no longer valid
Been using Copilot on my Hero for a month or so now, totally agree it's an excellent piece of software and represents real value for money.
In regards to the review, the last 2 negative points are no longer valid as the latest updates to Copilot (available over air for free) fix both of them, no longer crashes TouchFlo on exit and the keyboard is now QWERTY
There is a patch available which seems to stop the freeze after exit, this is delivered over Android market.
Overall this is an excellent system, and a good alternative to TomTom on Windows Mobile. The one issue I have (which is pretty annoying) is that it seems to lose GPS connection quite often on my Hero (G2), not sure if this is a CoPilot or Hero issue. Sometime it recovers and sometimes it requires a restart. While it may be an phone issue, I think CoPilot could handle it better, I have seen other reports of people having this problem.
How's about a roundup?
I'm very drawn to this given the cheap price, but would like to see thoughts of the Navigon app as well... come on chaps :)
I have had no problem reinstalling this software after multiple device wipes. All I've needed to do is feed it the email address I registered with and it sorts itself out.
Yes nav4all and andnav2 have been around longer but they require constant 3g connections to download map tiles, which is unhelpul when you are out in the boondocks, and andnav2 barely works - not bad for someone's pet project but it doesn't compete with a commercial grade app.
You can get slowdowns in a G1 but if you are running something like CyanogenMod and are running apps from the SD card then it works perfectly.
well, if these are effectively ports of apps already on iPhone, BB, WM and other platforms (as they appear to be from screenshots) you're looking at a clear choice of either CoPilot or TomTom to be honest. many of the other apps (Sygic, Navigon, Telenav, Wayfinder, G-Map etc) just aren't up to the standard of CoPilot or TomTom in my experience (which includes a fair amount of trying to find a decent smartphone satnav).
for me, neither TomTom nor CoPilot are perfect yet either, but CoPilot's my choice overall.
Why does no-one seem to care about electronic compass?
I am still astonished that I have not yet heard of one satnav app that supports e-compass.
Why?? Satnav apps are next to useless in "Walking" mode without it. Hell, even when driving, it often thinks you are going in the wrong direction due to it having to extrapolate direction from movement vector. Roundabouts are particularly affected too - a true, accurate heading in real-time would greatly improve the reliability of these apps.
When are app developers going to use the e-compass hardware that exists on most android phones to orientate the map to the real world?
It's excellent value for money, however...
if you go under bridges or over them, it more often than not decides you are on the road you are crossing and immediately alerts you to "take the next left/right" which is comical on motorways with no exits for miles around..
When your next direction is shortly followed by an immediate other direction (exiting motorways to a roundabout for example) I found almost everytime that the next direction wouldn't be spoken until about 10 yards from the roundabout -- nightmare when you need specific lanes! however if you turn on the feature to show you the next direction + the one after, you can at least glance at the icons whilst driving.
the full postcode feature is great, but when i used it, many times it would find the road, but give you no house numbers and you were stuck on that page not able to continue plotting the route.
If you can get past these few issues (the first one can be terrible in busy towns, especially on your own with no passenger to say "ignore her" !) you will enjoy the app.
does the girl in the android have a wider ranging vocab than the iphone version?? I tend to fin that all my directions are 'Just ahead' with 'just ahead' being anything from half a mile to 20 yards past the turning! requiring constant eyballing of the screen?!
Sadly they aren't straight ports though, i've experienced the TomTom on a friends iPhone and it was appalling... the Navigon and CoPilot applications seemed a lot stronger - hence wanting some clarification if possible.
Having used CoPilot before, i was also impressed so may go with that anyway - seen as it's the cheapest anyway!!
Great software at a low price
I've had CoPilot on my G1 Android phone for a few months now, having previously used an earlier version on a windows mobile for a few years.
Version 8 is a great improvement on the earlier versions, and it works very well - smoothly and quickly - on my G1.
The price is a bit of a bargain, but that does mean I have to agree with Andrew Macrobie above, in that tech support/customer service leaves a lot to be desired. I waited well over a week for an answer to a problem I was having, before taking matters into my own hands and completely uninstalling, deleting any trace of it from the sd card before reinstalling from scratch. I still haven't had any response to the ticket I opened on their support system. Poor show. Telephone support is better, but then you're paying for that in call charges, and there are times when it is much easier and more convenient for end users to communicate asynchronously via email rather phone conversations.
But I have to repeat that it's very impressive software that works pretty faultlessly.
In response to a comment above, mine has never lost its gps signal. Nor do I find any inconsistency in "just ahead". You set what "just ahead" means in distance and/or time, and Emily keeps to it.
I like having the ability to select different map colours, including a British one (i.e. motorways in blue, not orange ...)
Agree it's a shame it doesn't make use of the compass.
I have four corrections to make to the review:
1) as already noted, the keyboard is now qwerty
2) on my G1 I've never seen a display of motorway junctions/lanes like the photo-realistic one shown. I get clear lane indications across the top of the screen, but the map view remains.
3) there is only one voice available out of the box. You have to choose a voice at installation (unfortunately without being able to preview), and only that one is installed. I see there are now additional voices available to download, but I've not yet succeeded in installing them, and life's too short to try to contact ALK support for advice on something as trivial as that. "Emily" works fine for me.
4) The hide function doesn't close CoPilot, that's true. But my experience has been that running other things on the phone, having minimised Copilot, does sometimes close CoPilot - when you restore it, it goes through the whole splash screen startup, but remembers the journey you were on. Sometimes it does just restore though.
SatNav on Phones Evil, SatNav OK
Well it is according to the NZ government which is outlawing the use of SatNav on phones in cars. From www,stuff.co.nz,
"The Transport Ministry has clarified the terms of a new law that restricts the use of cellphones in cars, saying that from November it will be illegal to use a mobile phone as a satellite navigation aid while driving...Under the new law, that would be illegal, Transport Ministry spokesman John Summers confirmed. "The Road User Amendment Rule 2009 means drivers will not be able to look at a navigation aid on a mobile phone when driving, even if it is mounted on the dashboard. "You can use a mobile phone held in a cradle while driving, but only to make, receive or terminate a phone call. You cannot use them in any other way, such as reading a GPS map, reading email or consulting an electronic diary."
The restriction does not apply to navigation systems that do not have a mobile phone function, he says...
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