Evesham integrated GPS PocketPC

Mitac Mio + CoPilot Live 4

Move into Guidance mode, and CoPilot first makes sure you've got a GPS signal and then proceeds to tell you where you are and how to get to your destination. Sensibly, it offers voice directions, using voice synthesis technology from Fonix. The benefit is that street names and so on are read out syllable by syllable, sparing ALK from building a vast database of WAV files for all the possible word permutations the software is likely to need to speak out. The downside is that it's somehow more robotic, less reassuring.

Having tried both techniques - Navman's SmartST Pro uses the 'stitched together WAV files' approach - I'm not sure one is better than the other, but I certainly found Navman's voices easier to hear while driving. Some of the fault lies with Windows Mobile 2003's poor sound quality, but a few times I was unable to hear quite what CoPilot had said because of crackles on the speaker. That wasn't an issue with SmartST Pro and the iPaq it was running on.

Still, CoPilot does at least speak out street names that SmartST Pro can't because of memory induced limitations to the size of its WAV database.

SmartST Pro's maps are more visually appealing than CoPilot's but that shouldn't be an issue when you're driving - after all, you're not supposed to be looking at the screen too often. Just as well, since the Mio's display was tricky to read in the light streaming through my windshield.

Incidentally, both SmartST Pro and CoPilot use maps produced by NavTeq, and I found them to be both accurate and detailed enough for a test drive around the highways and byways of North London. Evesham ships CoPilot with a UK and Ireland map, but ALK does offer a Continental Europe separately on CD - it will sell you the upgrade for £100. Unlike other companies, it offers the whole of Europe, not individual countries.

Back on track

CoPilot had no trouble when we temporarily slipped into 'can't find the right road for toffee' mode to test its on-the-fly journey replanning. It got us back on the right route pretty quickly, and I was soon driving in the direction I was supposed to be going.

ALK CoPilot Live 4 Navigation   ALK CoPilot Live 4 Navigation

Next page: Verdict

Other stories you might like

  • Uncle Sam to clip wings of Pegasus-like spyware – sorry, 'intrusion software' – with proposed export controls

    Surveillance tech faces trade limits as America syncs policy with treaty obligations

    More than six years after proposing export restrictions on "intrusion software," the US Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has formulated a rule that it believes balances the latitude required to investigate cyber threats with the need to limit dangerous code.

    The BIS on Wednesday announced an interim final rule that defines when an export license will be required to distribute what is basically commercial spyware, in order to align US policy with the 1996 Wassenaar Arrangement, an international arms control regime.

    The rule [PDF] – which spans 65 pages – aims to prevent the distribution of surveillance tools, like NSO Group's Pegasus, to countries subject to arms controls, like China and Russia, while allowing legitimate security research and transactions to continue. Made available for public comment over the next 45 days, the rule is scheduled to be finalized in 90 days.

    Continue reading
  • Global IT spending to hit $4.5 trillion in 2022, says Gartner

    The future's bright, and expensive

    Corporate technology soothsayer Gartner is forecasting worldwide IT spending will hit $4.5tr in 2022, up 5.5 per cent from 2021.

    The strongest growth is set to come from enterprise software, which the analyst firm expects to increase by 11.5 per cent in 2022 to reach a global spending level of £670bn. Growth has fallen slightly, though. In 2021 it was 13.6 per cent for this market segment. The increase was driven by infrastructure software spending, which outpaced application software spending.

    The largest chunk of IT spending is set to remain communication services, which will reach £1.48tr next year, after modest growth of 2.1 per cent. The next largest category is IT services, which is set to grow by 8.9 per cent to reach $1.29tr over the next year, according to the analysts.

    Continue reading
  • Memory maker Micron moots $150bn mega manufacturing moneybag

    AI and 5G to fuel demand for new plants and R&D

    Chip giant Micron has announced a $150bn global investment plan designed to support manufacturing and research over the next decade.

    The memory maker said it would include expansion of its fabrication facilities to help meet demand.

    As well as chip shortages due to COVID-19 disruption, the $21bn-revenue company said it wanted to take advantage of the fact memory and storage accounts for around 30 per cent of the global semiconductor industry today.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021