Bluetooth GPS Nav Kit from Socket Communications
Socket Communications is known for their Bluetooth
products such as their Bluetooth CF card for
Pocket PCs. Now they offer a Bluetooth GPS solution that includes
a small Bluetooth enabled GPS receiver and an easy-to-use navigation
software package bundled with maps for North America or Western Europe.
The Bluetooth GPS Nav Kit supports any Bluetooth enabled Pocket PC
or Pocket PC 2002. We tested it with the Pocket PC 2003 iPAQ 1945,
and that worked fine as well.
The GPS receiver has a built-in rechargeable Lithium
Ion battery with 5V DC input charging circuit. You can get about
6 hours use per charge. The receiver is 12-channel all –in-view
tracking receiver, and there is an external antenna port if you wish
to get even better signal strength, though the external antenna is
sold separately. The map data includes 48 contiguous States in the
US, Canada, and Hawaii (big island). The Western Europe package includes
France, Germany, Ireland, Austria, Benelux, Finland, Italy, Norway,
Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
We used the Dell
Axim X5 Advanced with the Belkin
Bluetooth CF Card and an HP
iPAQ h1945 which has built-in Bluetooth.
The Socket GPS Nav Kit comes with a Socket GPS receiver
with Bluetooth wireless technology, a DC power adapter with Y cable,
leather carrying case for the GPS receiver and 2 CDs with MyNavigator
installation and map data software, a Quick Start Guide.
After you’ve connected your Pocket PC to your
desktop/laptop via ActiveSync, insert the Disk 1 to install the navigation
and map software. The installation will install the navigation software
on both desktop and Pocket PC. You will find a Map Loader program
on your desktop, which will help you load map data. The program strongly
suggests that you have a 64MB storage card if you wish to download
state maps and only download city radius maps if you don’t
have much storage space.
You can download the maps by either State or City.
When you download the data by State, you can choose the states by
either clicking on the states on the map or by checking the list
of states on the right side of the map screen. For large states like
California and Texas, you will find the map is split into two download
files. When you download by City, you can define the City Map Radius
by mileage. In both download methods, you can specify where to install
the data: Pocket PC internal memory, storage card or your PC’s
hard drive. The Map Loader will give you information on the size
of the download and the available space on your target location.
Once everything is set, hit the Generate Map button.
Before we get into trip planning on your Pocket PC,
let’s look at how the Bluetooth GPS receiver works. You must
first charge the Bluetooth GPS Receiver using the included in-vehicle
power adapter. Socket does offer an AC power adapter for an additional
cost. Make sure that you fully charge the receiver before using it
for the first time. On top of the GPS receiver, you will find three
LEDs, the power jack and the on/off switch. The LEDs indicate Bluetooth
status, GPS status and Battery status, marked with little icons.
There is also an external antenna port on the right hand side of
the receiver where you can plug in an external antenna for maximum
Turn on the Bluetooth GPS receiver to get a fix before
connecting to your Pocket PC. The cold start takes about 25-30 seconds
and warm start only a few second. I usually can track 5-6 satellites
in full signal strength with 7-8 satellites in-sight. Once you have
a fix, you can pair up your Pocket PC with your GPS by performing
a Bluetooth device discovery on your Pocket PC. You’ll bond
the two devices, making sure that you use “0183” as the
The Bluetooth connection was very easy to create
and the process is fairly simple. You don’t need to be Bluetooth
savvy to use the Bluetooth GPS. The only small issue I’ve
encountered with this Bluetooth receiver is the LEDs were a bit
hard to see in strong sunlight.
You can plan your trips on your Pocket PC directly
as long as you have the map data downloaded. The main menu of MyNavigator
is very intuitive and links to Destinations, Map View, Route Options,
Display Options, Speed Alert, Record, Volume and GPS Info.