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back to article ALK CoPilot Live Premium HD

I’ve been using ALK’s CoPilot 8 for Android since I reviewed it in these pages back in 2009. I liked it a lot then and still do. So when ALK announced a major upgrade, my ears pricked up. ALK CoPilot Premium HD CoPilot Live's nav screen is tidier than before The first thing you notice about Premium is the redesigned menu …

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£25 quid

Is quite a lot for an app which doesn't appear to be all that much more clever than the already-installed Google Navigation.

I guess if you drive a lot, it might be worth it, but I would have liked to hear why this is better than the free alternative.

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Ditto

Yes it might be better than Google Navigation but does that justify the £25 cost? I'd rather stick with Google Navigation.

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Anonymous Coward

Offline?

Has google Nav got offline maps now (not cached)? I know it was rumoured, but didn't know they were already doing it.. That's the only reason I bought CoPilot some time back - because google Nav let me down massively when I was out in the back end of nowhere in Wales with a wavering 1 bar of GSM reception. The lack of data connection's a big deal for me as I use it on holiday too.. Much cheaper to buy a region's map than pay for overseas data usage.. If Google are providing free offline maps then that's amazing.

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One word - offline

Google Nav is great if you can guarantee a signal. I used CoPilot Live for that very reason - I don't want to have to rely on the mobile networks. Searching/routing is much faster too, regardless of signal.

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no offline as far as I know

Although the caching seems pretty intelligent and since they went to vector map files, even the most puny connection can squeeze enough data for a tile or two in a sane time - I've never not got map from Google, even when in rural Norfolk or the Scottish Highlands. Somewhere with no signal at all might well have problems though.

That the maps are offline could easily have been mentioned in the article - for people that matters to, it might well be worth the cost of the app.

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Copilot rules

Even with a good signal google nav has let me down with slow updates. If you miss a turn and it needs to reroute, then you tend to be screwed for a vital minute or two as well. The only good thing about google nav is that it has a sat image map, but that thats more of a gimmick than anything else.

Copilot has never let me down and I like it as much as Tomtom, which I always used prior to Copilot (they're very similar) The maps are very clear and rerouting takes a second or two.

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FAIL

Hopeless

I bought CoPilot Live 8 for WiMo 6 following your recommendation and have found it very frustrating. I've submitted numerous bug reports, only a few of which have been fixed. There's no way of turning off 'snap-to-road' so if you go off-road the indicated position jumps all over the place. Walking directions can take you on an 11 mile circuitous route march just to get a mile into town. If you set up an avoidance (because you know a road is closed for example) it will happily tell you to do illegal turns. Whenever you have to type in data, instead of using the device's own keyboard, they've substituted a very unfriendly ABCDEF layout instead of a QWERTY one.

CoPilot Central is pretty much useless too. When you're about to download a 2GB map update it helpfully warns you to use a card-reader instead of the USB interface to the phone, but it doesn't tell you how to do it. In fact it appears to be impossible unless you contact their 'support' and get a URL for downloading the update directly. The latest auto-update to Central itself got stuck in a loop and it was only when I went to the support page on their site I discovered you had to do it manually.

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Rob
Bronze badge

WinMo

I too had similiar problems when I purchased CoPilot for windows, when I changed to Android I bought CoPilot again and found it to work a lot better on this platform than windows. Which I find odd as it was developed on the WinMo platform first.

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Flame

Great?

I wouldn't call the original CoPilot Live great. I gave up using it after endless issues with ALK's activation system that seemed to disable my Google Checkout receipt number every time the app was updated. Having to re-install several hundred megabytes of map data and wait 2 days for an email response from them is hardly convenient when you're lost in the middle of nowehere. I'm by no means the only person to have experienced this problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Why is it better than google navigation?

Because it stores the maps on the device. When I go to the Scottish highlands I don't get a data network. If I go to Europe I cannot afford the roaming data charges.

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Anonymous Coward

to balance the negatives..

I must say, I bought CoPilot for my Desire on the back of your review, and I bloody love it. Then again, I don't go off-road in my car, and I wasn't even aware they advertise it for off-road use. Unable to find anything indicating it can do this on their website... Never had any issues with the reactivation process - even though I've rebuilt my phone dozens of times in the period of ownership and every time have failed to deactivate it like they tell you to. Only once have I had to re-DL maps, when my laptop died around the same time as I rebuilt the phone, so lost Central and couldn't just squirt them back on from there.. And I'm presented with the standard qwerty keyboard for all data entry.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but the rest of my life would indicate otherwise..I wonder if the issues with it may be device/OS specific?

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DPR

Stalled at the outset

I purchased an Asus Transformer a week ago - running Android - hoping to use it as a satnav, amongst other things, and then purchased and downloaded Co-Pilot8 expecting it to autoinstall (bit of a pun there) but so far am stalled on the starting grid. My limited IT skills are not up to getting the software to function. So pleased (in a rather pyrrhic way) that others struggle with this software. I'm lost !

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WTF?

HUGE SatNav !

ASUS EEEpad transformer as a SatNav? thats a HUGE screen to stick on your windscreen! ;-)

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Netbooks?

I could be wrong, but I'm not even sure its designed to run on netbooks. Then again I cant see any reason for it not running. Do they have a list of compatible devices? Maybe Copilot support, or a google search of forums can find a solution.

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Anonymous Coward

locked to one device

Can anyone clarify if this is the standard per account purchase, or per device?

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Locked, but not permanently..

You can install on one device and then unregister and and install on another (if you upgrade phone for instance). But it only applies to the same OS, so android for android for instance...

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Facepalm

Sieving with Envy

Come on Garmin, get something out so users who only recommend Garmin have something to shout about.

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TomTom

Well, I am awaiting TomTom for Android...

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TomTom for Android will never come

TomTom have partnered with Route66 instead:

http://corporate.tomtom.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=549627

And I am looking for a replacement for CoPilot 8 as I don't like it. Does the map in the new version zoom in a bit more at junctions? CoPilot is way too unclear for me. Also the buttons are WAY too fiddly.

Currently trialling Sygic instead. Unfortunately it crashes a lot at the moment but hopefully they will get it sorted soon. It shows much more promise and the walking mode is great (3D buildings, e-compass support).

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Zoom

Zooming does seem to be better, and you can configure it on and off. They've also done some work on the UI to change the position and layout of buttons on the map display which does make things easier. The zoom in/out buttons are still in the same place and the same size though.

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Anonymous Coward

Tomtom

I find Copilot and tom tom to be very similar. Copilot is alot cheaper though!

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Stop

Half-price offer still available

The half-price introductory offer is still available

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Pff no thanks!

I had Co-Pilot 8 on my android phone and when it worked, it worked pretty well. However, after a while, it would fail to activate (I do a lot of rom/firmware flashing and all that nice stuff so re-installs are common on my device). A quick email to Alk resulted in a very unhelpful customer support person telling me that I had activated it too many times and the server wouldn't allow me to activate it any more. After explaining that this was ridiculous and I wanted to use the software I had paid for, they simply stopped responding.

I'll give this one a miss.

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At the moment its a useable beta version

At the moment its a useable beta version

I bought this a few days ago. I already have CoPilot 8. There are some nice new features. However, the new version is quite buggy, with things that are easy to see, so I'm sure there are more bugs lurking out of sight.

There was a comment from CoPilot at http://getsatisfaction.com/copilotlive/problems/common the other day that the UK fuel prices are unreliable.

The Wikipedia search has a bug where you get sent to the wrong location. For instance, if you search for the Stamford Bridge football stadium, it sends to into the middle of the Thames near Erith. That location has the same longitude, and the latitude is the same, but E of Greenwich rather than W of Greenwich.

The bing Local Search only lists sites in the USA. The battery life is really poor. Some people report are occasional random lockups.

These aren't show-stopping problems, but they are the sort of thing that should have been sorted out with beta testing, before releasing it onto the market.

There is a 50% discount which runs out today, and it might well be worth buying in any case. However, if you need a reliable, fully functional program to use today, then you might want to go for something else, or wait a while.

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Anonymous Coward

Wikipedia?

Surely using Wikipedia for location finding has obvious potential problems. I presumed that that feature was more for getting info about locations. I would always take Wikipedias location advice with a pinch of salt.

wrt battery life, are you sure its not the same for all sat nav programs? GPS and graphic intensive programs, seriously drains batteries. I bought a windscreen mounted cradle and charger for my Samsung Galaxy on eBay for £3.99 - problem solved.

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Significant improvement on V8

I've been using this for a week now - so much better than before.

Annoyances:

Copilot central doesn't work (yet / who cares)

live.alk.com was down for ages once they introduced the 1/2 price for a week thing (introduced either as marketting gimick to get Android market ratings or too compensate for the impossible off market to market upgrade path).

Traffic subscriptions do not carry from V8 to current (although they say the will soon).

Am I pleased with it? Damn right!

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Anonymous Coward

Yes it does

Mine transferred without any problems. Try now, maybe it hadn't been sorted when you tried.

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FAIL

Its crap - on iOS anyway

Although the routing algorithm's and stuff will be the same, so I expect it will be crap on android to. It picks the most ridiculous route's, routes I know that tomtom has no issue with getting spot on first time with no tweaking to the route/avoiding roads etc.

Co-Pilot and infact most sat navs are fine in provincial towns, but put them to the test in London, and they nearly always fall flat on their ass, with lots of tweaking required, only Tom Tom does well in London.

Another thing is the refresh rate is terribly slow (Iphone 4) so when going round a roundabout it is possible to miss your exit due to the bleedin thing moving too slow.

Waste of 20 quid in my opinion, If you want a cheap option go for Igo, I ran that for a little while and that was perfectly fine, way better than copilot anyway. I'll put up with Co-pilot until my phone upgrade, then I'll go for Tom Tom, it's easily worth paying double the cost of Co Pilot for in London anyway, if you live outside of London then Igo will do the job nicely.

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FAIL

Custom POIs not working

Put an OV2 file for custom POIs into Copilot\SAVE in versions past and it happily imported it. Not in V9 however.

'Premium' suggests to me that 'premium' features are included, such as live traffic and petrol prices. They are not. I miss the Quick Stop feature from V8 as well.

I'm regretting the purchase. Seems rushed out to get to the market before the upcoming release of TomTom on Android.

I particularly agree with the person that said it was a release that put lipstick on a pig and took out a few teeth in the process.

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Reasons to Choose CoPilot over Google Maps

It is really nice to have full street level maps for Europe on a phone. You wouldn't want to use Google maps to use when you're roaming unless you have a phone plan where downloading data is cheap. In the UK, it is nice to not rely on a mobile internet connection to get the maps.

I do have Google maps installed, and the aerial photographs are nice, but I don't use it very often as I find it easier to define routes with CoPilot.

I'm not an expert with Google maps, but I don't think you can get it to give warnings for speed cameras - which show the speed limit as well as your current speed. With some roads, CoPilot shows the speed limit, which helps sometimes when you join a road, and can't see any repeater speed limit signs.

In the long term, I like having a relationship with a company which is focussed on getting me to spend money on upgrades and features, rather than one which has a underlying aim of selling advertising to me. Google still own the operating system, so I'm going to be targeted with some advertising, in any case. However, it does mean that I'm not going to find an update sent out which drops adverts into the route guidance.

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Anonymous Coward

Google Maps with speed cameras

You need this my friend if you want speed camera warnings with Google Maps Navigation:

https://market.android.com/details?id=net.monthorin.rttraffic16

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FAIL

GPS Busted

CoPilot is all very nice, but unfortunately it rarely works on my NexusOne Gingerbread. It only snags the GPS signal about 5% of the time, and is all but useless.

None of the fixes floating around out there work.

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Silver badge

Location

The HTC Sensation has a built-in off-line maps app called "Locations". It can do navigation but you have to pay to activate it.

UK and Ireland costs £3.49 for 90 days, £14.99 for a year and £22.98 unlimited (though its not obvious if that includes updates.

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Flame

Permissions

Why in hell does a navigation application need permission to make phone calls, read my contacts list, read my phone state (who I'm talking to) and my identity and other private data having nothing whatsoever to do with navigation? I understand the coarse and fine location data, though.

Angry Birds wants the same permissions including the location data. Why does a simple game need that, at least without giving me the option to opt in or not?

Many of these "apps" are becoming more and more like malware every day. What next - key logging?

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ddm

permissions

It needs permission for phone calls because it can make phone calls - find a POI on the map (e.g. a restaurant or chemist) and click on it, you'll get info about it, including phone number and "Call" and "GO" buttons. Click the call button to make a phone call to that location.

I imagine the other permissions have equally explainable purposes.

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Re: Permissions

"Why in hell does a navigation application need permission to make phone calls"

As pervious poster explained, that is one of its new features

"read my contacts list"

Because you navigate to contacts (have you ever used a SatNav, by the way?)

"read my phone state"

All phone SatNavs need to know if a call is in progress in order to decide what to do with the voice instructions, figure out what is on the screen etc. It's a vital part of the system.

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FAIL

Fail, don't use this

feels more like a first beta release,

so many bugs and problems reported all over the web now.

and ALK are now stating 10 plus days for a support email.

I made the mistake of getting,

don't do it,

it feels like they rushed it out, part tested,

in a big hurry ahead of something that will take their market.

rubbish and I'd not be surprised if in a year ALk had gone bust.

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Trollface

Permissions

"Why in hell does a navigation application need permission..."

to make phone calls - so it can call POIs, the AA etc etc directly from within the app.

read my contacts list - so you can navigate directly to a contacts address from within the app.

phone state - so when you call a rescure service etc they can see your incoming number.

I'm reading down the list of system permissions for CP right now and everyone is pretty obvious.

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FAIL

I would never go down that street again

I had co-pilot for my nokia.

The customer support was cruddy, especially as they had supplied an imvalid key for the original software. And then after 1 month it ceased working altogether. They advised I formatted the sd card, and then they realised that they had not supplied a copy of the app on the cd. Then they refused to supply one.

I went out and bought a cheap navman.

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WTF?

Google Maps supported Offline in December 2010

Google Maps supported Offline in December

http://androinica.com/2010/12/google-maps-5-0-launches-with-3d-maps-offline-support/

How come TomTom and other brands offer Traffic updates for free, yet others charge by the year? Surely this traffic data is coming from the highways agency?

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a

If I know that I'm driving to Belgium, I might be able to load the maps for google maps for a given route, but can I download the maps for the whole country, so that I can choose a new route when I get there?

CoPilot certainly used to use UK traffic data from ITIS, which is a commercial supplier. It gets some of its data from GPS units on lorries & coaches. The data from the Highways agency is OK, but it doesn't give the speed of a delay that you could use to predict the journey time for a detour.

I don't mind CoPilot charging for things which other people do for free, if they can do it better. At the moment, I've let my traffic news subscription lapse, but I might buy it again if others find it works well. At the moment, I use the free RAC traffic news app and http://www.trafficmaster.co.uk/__ajax/live_traffic.htm

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@cs94njw

With regard to free traffic updates on TomTom, afaik TomTom only offers free traffic updates for Traffic Message Channel (TMC) traffic updates. These aren't provided by TomTom (or the highways agency), they are broadcast free over the air on FM radio and I believe that people who make develop TMC compatible devices pay a royalty fee which largely pays for the service.

Other forms of traffic updates on TomTom (e.g. via a bluetooth connected mobile) are charged on a subscription basis AFAIK. I am pretty sure that TomTom are not the only sat. nav. provider that uses TMC, I don't know if any of the smart phone sat. nav. apps provide TMC, but I imagine it would require FM support and head phones (antenna) plugged in.

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I got it too

Mostly because it was £15 at the time.

A few things I've found, this is on a ZTE Blade on roads I mostly know - I've not taken it further afield yet. Overall I like it; I've got used to the TomTom way having had one for years, I'll get used to Copilot eventually.

It can tell you about turns way too early, but you can configure that. I don't think it has variable alert distances based on the road speed like TomTom does.

The routing seems OK. It sent me a slightly odd way to the office when I tested it, but it sent me to the front door so might have been the best way had I not been going to the car park out the back.

It doesn't use the lane guidance arrows enough. I've spotted a few places where it would be handy if you didn't know the road e.g. it's telling you to go straight on, but the inside lane becomes a left-turn lane, so you need to be in the middle lane.

It doesn't stack instructions up like the TomTom does if there are two close together e.g. 'take the first exit at the roundabout THEN turn left'. A few times, Copilot has completely missed the second instruction.

I can't believe Copilot only got automatic recalculation when you go wrong at v9. My TomTom is an ancient Go 500, and that does it.

Why is the UK expensive compared to the US? I also got the US version as I'm off to Boston in August, and that was £6.

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Alert

Could the author please...

...update the price to include VAT?

The price is actually £29.99 by the time the Android market is finished with you...

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This post has been deleted by its author

This post has been deleted by its author

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Linux

Open Street Map client for Android?

Is there such a beast? as I'd far rather use the maps that I actually contribute to and can correct myself based on actual real world experience...

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Navdroyd does OSM

Navdroyd is completely offline, uses OSM data, and its like a fiver from what I can remember. But dont expect all the bells and whistles from CoPilot

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Go

Re: Open Street Map client for Android?

Yep, its called NavFree - http://www.expansys.com/navfree.

As the name suggests, its completely free. Maps are stored on the SD card so no lag with downloading on the move.

I've been trialling it and generally its pretty good. My main complaint so far is that occasionally the navigation can be a little ropey (got very confused when trying to route me to one particular address - took me a terrible route when I knew a shorter & quicker one existed). But hopefully these will get ironed out over time.

Sure beats forking out £25 smackers for CoPilot for very little obvious advantage!

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isn't it 30 quid with tax

well that's what i've been charged anyway

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