Now comes the good stuff: the guts of the Garmin Mobile XT software, which really blew my mind.
Iâ€™ll start off with the good points. I didnâ€™t expect much from the Mobile XT software, thinking that it would tell me where I am and how to get to my destination like a few other GPS solutions Iâ€™ve played with in the past. But the Garmin solution contains so much more: the software will find things like the nearest tourist attractions, restaurants by type, hospital, airports, etc.
There are also settings that allow you to optimize your path, like the ability to tell Mobile XT that youâ€™re on a motorcycle and want to avoid dirt roads. Or maybe youâ€™re on a bicycle, which means youâ€™ll then try to avoid any highways.
I was also very surprised with the voice direction and how it was a sexy sounding female that pronounce the road names pretty accurately. Iâ€™m not even sure how they do it because the program itself is only half a megabyte â€“ I assume that they do download parts of it because a few times the voice would crackle.
I do have a few grips with the Mobile XT software, mainly that the client software seems to be a direct port of a J2ME midlet, meaning that they just transferred the code from a cellphone version and ported it over to the Blackberry. Yes, the program works but they donâ€™t take advantage of the superior Blackberry navigation. Like if Iâ€™m in the map view and want to find the nearest gas station, I shouldnâ€™t need to leave the map but just hit the scroll wheel and select â€˜Find Gas Stationsâ€™.
Another issue I have is that the graphics are pretty poor, which is also probably related to Garmin taking the easy way out and porting the program over from a cellphone version, which typically have less processing power than Blackberry devices. If you have played around with the BlackBerry 8800 and used the built-in GPS system, the graphics difference is like that between the Atari (Garmin) and Super Nintendo (8800).
Thatâ€™s it for now; next week Iâ€™ll write about the performance of the Garmin Mobile 10 GPS unit.