Some New Tech for the MINI

Readers of my every day blog will already know that after years of being an Apple fanboy I’ve had it with them for a while, and ditched my iPhone for the new Droid Incredible.

So far I’ve been real impressed with the Incredible, the experience is on a par with, if not superior to my old 3G iPhone. And it’s fast, so much faster. Anyway, being a Google device it comes with the google naviagation app which I put to the test last week for my drive home.

The application combines Google Maps with turn by turn voice directions as well as speak to search for nearby things. Unfortunately I don’t have a mount for the phone yet so had to balance the phone precariously on the cup holder and after the second time it fell on the floor I put it on the seat.

Some of the cool things about the application are that you can add the regular google layers to it: real time traffic, street view etc. The map display auto zooms depending on the distance to the next turn or, it seems, the complexity of it. Freeway ramps became full screen clearly showing me where to go. On Verizon my journey home is almost all 3G covered (as opposed to the 30% that AT&T covers) so the map updated very well. It’s not without downsides: for example, I can’t find a way to save locations, have to type in my home address each time. But for a free application it’s very well featured.

And with Android having real multitasking I could drive home with Pandora playing through my MINI speakers (thanks to the AUX input) while the map was displayed: the sound would be auto-muted every time the navigation wanted to tell me something. When new gmail arrived I could browse it, still listening to Pandora, and still listening to the turn by turn – very cool, indeed. And the method of switching between tasks is easy and intuitive. I’ll be interested to see just how well this works with iPhone OS4. To me, the Sense UI on the Incredible gets it just right.

4 thoughts on “Some New Tech for the MINI”

  1. Some of the best-known streets in Boston – Lansdowne and Yawkey Way – are blatantly mislabeled in that screenshot. Sure seems unlike google; they’re labeled right on my iphone! 😉

    Were you visiting Boston recently?

    I’m still using my Dash Express for navigation, but thanks to the heavy competition of iphone apps, iphone-based (and, OK your droid) navigation is really pushing development and making the others catch up. Hopefully in one more year we’ll just be mounting our phones to the dash instead of spending hundreds more on dedicated nav units.

  2. Ha ha, well I didn’t have a picture of my screen so I just googled for one to put in my article. Makes me think it is fake if the street names are wrong. Grrr.

    Sadly, haven’t been in Boston since I worked there some years ago.

  3. If nothing else, you’ve got to agree that the iPhone has inspired some amazing new portable computers!

    BTW: I hope you’re not browsing your Gmail while listening to Pandora – and DRIVING! 😉

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