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GPS Cellphones


bartron
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Does anybody here have any experience with the new breed of cellphones with GPS receivers ?

I'm shopping for a new cellphone after my RAZR got soaked with pool water when my waterproof box decided to stop being waterproof sometime during a 1-hour 50-foot dive (SCUBA) in the SCUBA training pool. Believe it or not, after drying it out for 2 days the phone actually worked perfectly. But then, 2 weeks later, the buttons stopped working, and then worked intermittently, etc. The repair shop wants to charge $225 to fix it because of the corrosion inside it. Screw that.

I'd really love to be able to send over my GPS coordinates to, or receive the coordinates from the person I'm talking to, whenever one of us says "So, where are you ?". Especially since I'll be moving to a new town soon.

So far the only phones I can find that have GPS are the Nokia N95 and the 6110 Navigator. Anyways, I was considering the Nokia 6110 Navigator until I found out it couldn't charge over USB.

Thanks.

'later...

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Unless that's a really important feature for you, and you have friends to send those coordinates to, I'd consider waiting for a better generation of gps enabled phones. The few out there now mostly use the gps for navigation and do that in a half-baked fashion at best. We track the LBS (location based services - aka GPS) space and the telecom space and I haven't seen a truly good solution for this. Someone should incorporate what the Rhino GPS/GMRS radio does - that would be cool.

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If you need to send your coordinates to someone, this would normaly imply that you were beyond cell reception. Otherwise, within the cell reach, it's enough to give an address, right?

Plan B, have an independant small GPS and text message the coordinates via regullar cell phone.

Plan C, have a RHINO that Sinecure suggested. Very good for close range applications, like snow sports and hiking.

Plan D, GPS + sat phone, preferably Iridium (no zone limits). I was able to do the emails from the middle of the ocean...

Now for your corroded cell buttons, there's probably a fix for it - I did it on my Nokia and it still works a year later. It had the same simptoms as yours.

Water gets into the membranes below the buttons. The fix is to cut the membranes partially open and let the moisture out. There's a small metal disk in there, that might have some corrosion under. If so, move it back and forth to rub the corroded particles off. Do these things only to the malfunctioning buttons.

Boris

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Unless that's a really important feature for you, and you have friends to send those coordinates to,

Not so sure yet how important it will end up being. But it's value will certainly depend on having other friends with one.

I was expecting to use it for navigation too.

The few out there now mostly use the gps for navigation and do that in a half-baked fashion at best.

That's what I wasn't sure of. I've only been able to find one hands-on review of the 6110 Navigator and the N95 GPS functionality, and it said it was pretty good. But I was curious to see how it compared to dedicated GPS devices, wondering if a combined phone/GPS would be better (price, quality, convenience, etc.) than separate units for each.

Thanks for the info !

'later...

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If you need to send your coordinates to someone, this would normaly imply that you were beyond cell reception. Otherwise, within the cell reach, it's enough to give an address, right?

Not necessarily. I'm thinking of when I'm out hiking, camping, driving or some other situation where I'm not among addresses -- that is visible addresses. :)

A thought just occurred to me: could parents use it to locate their kids in a mall ? :lol: I don't have kids and don't want any, so it's not a problem for me. It's just a thought that came to mind.

Plan B, have an independant small GPS and text message the coordinates via regullar cell phone.

Plan C, have a RHINO that Sinecure suggested. Very good for close range applications, like snow sports and hiking.

Plan D, GPS + sat phone, preferably Iridium (no zone limits). I was able to do the emails from the middle of the ocean...

Ultimately, I want to compare the phone with built-in GPS to the Plan B you mention. But I've only been able to find one serious review of the GPS functionality of the 6110 Navigator.

Now for your corroded cell buttons, there's probably a fix for it - I did it on my Nokia and it still works a year later. It had the same simptoms as yours.

Water gets into the membranes below the buttons. The fix is to cut the membranes partially open and let the moisture out. There's a small metal disk in there, that might have some corrosion under. If so, move it back and forth to rub the corroded particles off. Do these things only to the malfunctioning buttons.

I'll give it a shot. But the volume button is mechanical pushbutton switch and not a membrane button like the keypad. I say that because one of the problems I get is that occasionally the volume menu pops up and the volume increases to max no matter which button I press. Obviously, the +volume button is stuck.

But the dead-button problem I'm having will probably get fixed by doing as you suggest. I'll give it a shot.

Thanks !

'later...

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FWIW, Sprint just added buddylist GPS crap to a bunch of phones. A la Helio.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/where-you-at/sprint-adds-social-gps-functionality-to-25-phones-279375.php

Probably doesn't work in the great white north though.

SHOOOOOT !! About 6-7 years ago I interviewed for a job at a startup company that was working on cell phone tracking software. After they described their product to me, I said "Hey, you could use that to track your friends and alert you when a given friend is with in X meters from you." They "Uh, yeah, I guess you could". I didn't get called back and the company went under about a year or so later.

It wasn't quite the use I was looking. But I have to say that it's yet another nail in privacy's coffin.

'later...

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For the locating kids in a mall... I doubt they'd be that accurate. But then again I guess if you can get within 50 feet of where they are that would help a whole lot.

And as for the privacy issue, you'd for sure need permissions or some sort of rights access in order to locate friends. And even at that there would be an option to turn it off so nobody can locate you. I wouldn't think privacy would be that much of an issue.

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Nextel has phones with GPS. They also have a program for 5 bucks a month that lets you track those phones in great detail. We used the program to track our hourly construction employees in the field. You log into the program over the internet and you can see where all of your phones are at in real time. It also keeps track when you are not logged on. It would give you a complete report on location for any time period you want along with how fast the phone was moving at any given time. Very detailed info. This program operated when ever the phone was turned on. The person with the phone had no way of knowing if they were being monitered or not. Of course these were our phones and we had to sign a waiver to allow tracking for them. I don't think you could do this for "friends" phones.

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But I have to say that it's yet another nail in privacy's coffin.

Privacy has gone looong ago. Even without GPS, police (cell company) is perfectly capable of tracking a phone, even without GPS. Triangulation to the 3 nearest antennas... However, if you've asked them, they'd tell you they didn't have such capabillities.

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Nextel has phones with GPS. They also have a program for 5 bucks a month that lets you track those phones in great detail. We used the program to track our hourly construction employees in the field. You log into the program over the internet and you can see where all of your phones are at in real time. It also keeps track when you are not logged on. It would give you a complete report on location for any time period you want along with how fast the phone was moving at any given time. Very detailed info. This program operated when ever the phone was turned on. The person with the phone had no way of knowing if they were being monitered or not. Of course these were our phones and we had to sign a waiver to allow tracking for them. I don't think you could do this for "friends" phones.

you turn your company nextel off if you're sneaking out early on Friday :nono:

BobD

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Privacy has gone looong ago. Even without GPS, police (cell company) is perfectly capable of tracking a phone, even without GPS. Triangulation to the 3 nearest antennas... However, if you've asked them, they'd tell you they didn't have such capabillities.

That kind-of thing been known around here (Canada's perennial fraud capital) for years.

About 4-5 years ago I saw a report in one of the local newspapers about cellphone scanners available on the black market. People could buy these scanners, drive around town and listen to other people's phone conversations.

'later...

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you turn your company nextel off if you're sneaking out early on Friday :nono:

BobD

Thats what we told our hourly employees, if you don't want to be tracked, turn off the phone. But thier phone was not to be turned off during the time they were suppposed to be working. It was the only way to confirm that they were actually working when and where they were supposed to be!

For what it is worth, I believe that privacy today is an illusion. Particularly for those of us who are constantly on computers staying connected to all of our various interests!

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