ALK launches Co-Pilot for the BlackBerry 8800


alklogo.jpgIt’s rare that you’ll have companies telling you go to off-board (as opposed to getting on-board), but this bad analogy has to end somewhere, right? ALK Technologies has launched the off-board version of it’s popular on-board CoPilot satellite navigation mapping application for both the Pearl and the BlackBerry 8800. While on-board systems carry all the amps that routes are calculated with, off-board systems “carry only the ability to display the route info that is downloaded over the air from a central server.”

While use of ALK’s GPS package on the Pearl still requires an external puck with the GPS silicon, the 8800 launched earlier this week is RIM’s first device with the GPS chip built in (rumor has it that the silicon in question is the SIRFstarIII), obviating the need for a second piece of hardware.

The 8800 also ships with some basic mapping capabilities developed by RIM itself, based on map info from TeleAtlas NV. ALK and other mapping specialists, including Telmap, say their products go a lot further and so believe their carrier partners will continue to mandate their software be loaded on the devices for their GPS services.

Quin cited, for instance, CoPilot’s ability to calculate multiple routes for the same stops, which he said is particularly useful in fleet management for delivery environments. CoPilot also uses maps from TeleAtlas’s archrival Navteq.