There's still plenty of winter left, which means there's more skiing and snowboarding to be done before hanging up the winter accessories for the season. That also means you're still at risk of getting lost as you head down the slopes for that final run, and that's where the X-Plore.XGX gloves come in.
Unlike any other winter gloves we've ever seen, the X-Plore.XGX come equipped with a GPS receiver inside. There's also a mini-LCD screen tacked onto the thumb and soft buttons baked into the back.
These aren't just for wandering snow bunnies, either. Skiers can check out their max speed, average speed, distance, altitude, and other handy info.
The current lot of PDAs, and perhaps their smartphone and Tablet PC stand-ins, are neat technology, but could you go to war with one? (Maybe even more relevant: could you afford to drop yours?) If what you need is something that will withstand a lot more abuse, AIS Industrial Innovations has something that might interest you: the Mobile Rugged PDA (RPDA37), with the looks and brawn that pair well with your cosplay Master Chief outfit.
The Mobile Rugged PDA is MIL-STD-810F/461F compliant, has an “ingress protection rating of IP67” and meets the IEC 60529 (IP65) international protection standard. It’s build to withstand extreme conditions, repeated five-foot drops, and thermal shock. And it has cool rubberized bumpers.
While that’s impressive, perhaps the internal specs aren’t. The RPDA37 has a Marvell PXA270 625MHz processor, 256MB RAM, and a base storage of 256MB Flash ROM. It has a 3.7-inch transflective TFT LCD that’s touchscreen capable. Resolution depends on the option chosen: either QVGA, 240 x 320, or VGA, 480 x 640. And for operating systems there’s a choice of Windows CE 5.0 or Windows Mobile 6.1.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard, but GPS/GAlILEO and GPRS/3G/3.5G are optional. Ports include two USB 1.1 Type A connectors, one USB 1.1 Type B mini connector, an RS-232 port, and ethernet port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a Micro-SD slot.
If you really got to have one you’re going to need to save. The base model will set you back $1,899.
Smaller, faster, cheaper is a mantra for today’s mobile communications hardware. Texas Instruments (TI) has taken this to heart, and tossed in multi-tasking and lower power consumer as well. TI is announcing a new chip, the WiLink 7.0, that rolls up Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and FM radio onto a chip that takes up less room, uses less power, and costs less than current multi-chip solutions.
TI says the WiLink crams all of the above into a single 65-nanometer chip, that requires 30 percent less material to build, and takes up 50% less space than existing two-chip solutions. Furthermore, TI says the WiLink will extend talk time and battery life with “Sophisticated Enhanced Low Power (ELP) technology.”
TI claims the WiLink offers best-in-class 3GPP test performance; supports both Bluetooth low-energy and Bluetooth 3.0; will support WiFi Direct and Soft AP as well as 802.11 a/b/g/n; and has improved FM transmit and receive capabilities with internal antenna support.
And, by placing all of them on the same chip, TI says it is able to reduce RF interference to insignificant levels, allowing all four components to operate at the same time without messing with each other. According to TI, a “mobile-device users could determine their current position with GPS, download a related map over a WLAN connection, and listen to an FM radio station over a Bluetooth headset all at the same time.”
Undisclosed OEMs already have the chip, which leads Engadget to speculate that prototype phones may make an appearance at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. TI expects the chip to be in mass-produced devices by the end of 2010.
If you've ever lost a night's sleep because you couldn't wrap your head around how to build a Real Time Kinematic (RTK) GPS receiver without breaking the bank, then prepare to sleep like a baby. Why? Because researchers Tomoji Takasu and Akio Yasuda of Tokyo University have you covered.
The researchers developed an inexpensive, open source RTK GPS that runs on a beagle board, and better yet, they've posted instructions so you can do the same. And unlike traditional GPS, RTK units measures the shorter wavelengths in the satellite's carrier signal, which ultimately means greater accuracy.
Getting it work right, however, isn't an easy task. That's why Takasu and Yasuda deserve major kudos for printing the detailed instructions, which you can access here.
Google Latitude just got a little bit more useful, and creepy. Latitude now has support for Location History and Location Alerts. Locations History allows you (and only you) to view a log of your various Latitude check-ins. These can be overlaid on Google Maps or Google Earth.
If you have Location History enabled, there’s another feature available to you. Location Alerts is a service (still in beta, for whatever that’s worth at Google) that will notify you if you are near one of your Latitude friends. You can choose enable SMS and/or email notifications. The system automatically filters out places you go often. So if the next door neighbor is on your Google Latitude friend list, you won’t be notified every time you go home.
If these new features sound intriguing to you, head on over to the Latitude apps page to enable.
MSN Direct is a service integrated into some GPS devices that uses FM signals to deliver traffic data, weather, stocks, movie times, and various other bits of info. The service was initially offered in 2004 when there may actually have been a need. Now, with the proliferation of cellular data connections and other digital networks, the MSN Direct service makes less sense.
The ample warning will give users just over 2 years of service to work out a substitute. Users with MSN Direct devices can still enroll in the service right up to the end date. Any subscribers wanting to cancel their accounts will be issued a prorated refund. Be honest, had you even heard of this service before now?
It’s not all good news, though. AT&T is asking $299 after a $100 mail in rebate, and 2 year service agreement. Optional Nüvifone Premium service will show the user traffic updates, white pages, weather, movies, local events, and fuel prices. However, it will run you an extra $5.99 per month after an initial 30 day trial.
The G60 is basically a high end Garmin GPS, with phone functionality thrown in. It is said to have a full HTML browser with data access through both HSDPA and WiFi. A 3.5 inch touchscreen and 3 megapixel autofocus camera round out the specs. Just for fun, all pics taken with the camera will automatically be geotagged. Given the price, are you considering dropping some cash on one?
Any old GPS will save you time, but if you’re like me and are still clinging to an older model that doesn’t have real-time traffic data, you could be missing out. According to a new study conducted by NuStats, drivers who use real-time traffic enabled GPS’s save approximately four days per year in travel time vs. those who use nothing at all. The savings work out to an average of 18 percent per trip, and also yielded a CO2 savings of nearly 21 percent.
Participants in the study were broken down into three categories, drivers with no electronic navigation assistance, drivers with a GPS, and drivers who were using real-time traffic enabled devices. The survey participants made more than 2,100 individual trips, across approximately 20,000 kilometers of road.
These results sound great on paper, but it’s worth noting that even though the study itself was conducted by NuStats, the project was funded by NAVTEQ, a leading provider of real-time traffic data for GPS manufacturers such as Garmin. Does this shoot holes in the credibility of the study? Let us know what you think.
Nothing blows more than sitting in a traffic jam for two hours as you inch your way to your destination 25 miles down the road. Should you get off at the next exit and try your luck on the surface roads instead?
Looking to take the guesswork out of those kinds of scenarios, Google announced that its Google Maps will now show you live traffic conditions on arterial roads in selected cities. All you have to do is select the city you're stuck in and click the "Traffic" button in the upper-right corner of the map.
"As you zoom in closer to an area of interest, we'll color the arterial roads, in addition to the highways, to show current traffic conditions," Google wrote in a blog entry. "Just as with the highways, the colors correspond to the speed of traffic (relative to the speed limit of the road): green is free sailing, yellow is medium congestion, red is heavy congestion, and red/black is stop-and-go traffic."
Apple iPhone users living in the U.S. and Canada now have another navigation application to choose from. The app was first demonstrated at WWDC in June and is now available for download.
The $100 app uses iPhone's built-in GPS chip to give users turn-by-turn directions and is compatible with both the iPhone 3G and 3GS running the iPhone 3.0 OS or later.
"With Tom Tom for iPhone, millions of iPhone users can now benefit from the same easy-to-use and intuitive interface, turn-by-turn spoken navigation, and unique routing technology that our 30 million portable navigation devices users rely on every day," said Corinee Vigreux, Managing Director of Tom Tom.
Other features include IQ Routes, which the company claims helps drivers reach their destinations up to 35 percent faster, landscape and portrait navigation views, night and day color mode, multitouch gestures, and navigation to contacts in your address book.
A version compatible with the iPod and other iPhone models is said to also be in the works.