Comments on: More Details on Magellan GPS Receiver for m500 Series

Thales Navigation has released some more details on the GPS receiver it is developing for the m500 series. The Magellan GPS Companion was first announced in early January. Yesterday , the company said it would be capable of 12 hours of continuous use, about five times longer than competitive products. It won't be available until sometime this Spring and a price still isn't available
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what aboud sd gps?

crustyedgeofinnovation @ 3/16/2002 11:51:56 AM #
what advantage does this have over the proposed sd GPS, other than that the sd gps will only come out later?...

RE: what aboud sd gps?
JeepBastard @ 3/16/2002 12:05:44 PM #
nothing. GPS units are all bulky right now. Kinda sucks to carry one.

RE: what aboud sd gps?
Ed @ 3/16/2002 2:16:06 PM #
This one leaves the SD slot free, allowing you to store a large number of maps on a card, rather than having to fit them all into internal memory.

It's only speculation but I'd be willing to wager this one will turn out cheaper than the SD version, if only because smaller generally means more expensive.

News Editor

RE: what aboud sd gps?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/16/2002 3:12:15 PM #
> nothing. GPS units are all bulky right now. Kinda sucks to carry one.

Not true. Sony has a memory stick GPS unit.

RE: what aboud sd gps?
Liljeberg @ 3/16/2002 3:36:08 PM #
> GPS units are all bulky right now. Kinda sucks to carry one.

Well, not entirely true. The Garmin eTrex series can't be accused for beeing bulky can they?

RE: what aboud sd gps?
msmasitti @ 3/16/2002 4:08:30 PM #
Neither can the Memory Stick GPS either...

CLIE Moderator
RE: what aboud sd gps?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/16/2002 5:42:31 PM #
As an avid GPS user, I have to say that sticking this onto my m505 is not appealing. I already had problems with cleaner getting behind the screen the first week I had it.

GPSRs need to be rugged. An SD card or GPS cradle is not rugged. To be of any use inside a vehicle, you need either a re-radiating antenna or an external antenna. I am certain the SD gps will not support externals, so it will require an expensive addon (that requires its own power) to be a good vehicle navigation system. Plus you can't put many maps on it.

The Magellan cradle, if it supports an external hookup, would be sufficient for use in vehicles... But it looks rather bulky, and I would rather stick with my waterproof, floating GPSMAP 76.

GARMIN is supposedly working on some GPS/PDA stuff... I'd wait to see what they bring to the table.

RE: what aboud sd gps?
Altema @ 3/16/2002 6:40:37 PM #
"you need either a re-radiating antenna or an external antenna."

Most Palm-based GPS units come with suction mounts so they can be attached to the dashboard or windshield, which gives decent reception for most vehicles. On the SD and MS GPS units, the antenna is in the head which sticks up from the card. Both are smaller than this unit, but I'd really like to see a shootout comparison for acquisition time, accuracy, reliability, and battery life.
From what I've seen (and I could be wrong on any of these opinions), the advantages of the card GPS units are that they are smaller (of course!), and use less power. On the negative side, they MUST take power from the Palm, and not everyone wants to lose their expansion memory to use the GPS. I don't think either style would have problems with ruggedness if mounted inside a vehicle... unless you are doing serious boulder bashing in your 4x4. For camping and hiking, it's my opinion that the card GPS might not do as well crammed into a backpack. I would worry about it snapping off. Neither one would be as rugged as a standalone GPS, but then you can't crunch spreadsheets, play games, or use your bird spotting software on a standalone GPS. Then again, the 505 does not float!
Battery life is another issue, and the 12 hours mentioned for the GPS in this article sounds like a good match for the M515, which has been giving me 10 to 12 hours per charge (mixed sidelight usage).
Ed, has anyone done a road test review of the NavMan GPS for the 500 series? I never received a response from the company on if the 12v adapter for the GPS supplied power to the Palm, and was curious if anyone out there had used this combo. I may buy one soon...

RE: what aboud sd gps?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/17/2002 8:30:44 AM #
I've never been a big fan of the one-device-for-everything myself. Even with crappy suction mounts, you have problems. If the antenna is a patch antenna the optimal orientation is horizontal, so vertical mount is terrible. Quad-helix are designed to be vertical, but inside a vehicle it is only slightly better.

I used my GPSR without the external antenna for several months, and found that the only satellites I could lock onto from the dash (which, by the way, in my Jeep it is too close to the windshield and improperly angled to mount via a simple little suction mount) were directly overhead down to about 25 degrees above the horizon directly in front of me.

Drive into an urban canyon, or some mountain roads with high trees on either side and you will lose your lock. If you don't lose the lock your position will be terrible (many consumer GPSRs lie about the "locks" and will continue to display position even when the HDOP is tremendous).

Bottom line -- I think it's a neat toy, but I would no sooner replace my real GPSr with it than I would replace my real compass and map with a GPSr.

SD GPS? Not likely a solid performer.
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/18/2002 2:57:18 AM #
Not needing a standalone GPS unit (although I think the indash vehicle options are pretty cool) I like the idea of the Magellan cradle. Put it on when you want it, leave it off when you don't.

Never having used GPS, I think I'd want a digital speedometer indication for the Palm, and an analog compass display.

Can anybody give any insight to what combo would be better (assuming one doesn't need to input Long/Lat info, or a really high degree of accuracy?)

For casual use, I would think an analog compass display would be more intuitive when driving.

A rookie question, I know.

RE: what aboud sd gps?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/18/2002 11:08:00 AM #
"you need either a re-radiating antenna or an external antenna."

Not true, at least not in my experience, which is extensive - at last count I own 15 GPS's covering four generations (I write nav software). Many if not most consumer-grade 12-channel receivers will warm start and maintain moderately good lock inside a car even without a direct sky view. The Magellan for the Handspring works surprisingly well sitting in a console cup holder, and I would expect this one to work about as well.

An SD GPS - as much as I want to see one - will NOT solve the power consumption problems. GPS chipsets are power hogs, and form factor alone is not going to mitigate this. I would expect to require external power for continuous use.

To me, however, the "sled" approach stinks and, knowing how Thales/Magellan has been approaching the Palm OS market, I'm disappointed because this will be their only product to support the platform. Attaching a GPS is a means to an end, not the end in itself, and to hog the serial port when there is other expansion available is short-sighted. As far as "taking" memory expansion, there's nothing in Palm OS to prevent you from building extra memory into an SDIO peripheral.

...mike musick

RE: what aboud sd gps?
Altema @ 3/19/2002 12:22:53 PM #
"As far as "taking" memory expansion, there's nothing in Palm OS to prevent you from building extra memory into an SDIO peripheral."

Mike, you hit the the nail on the head. I only hope the manufacturers recognize this as well. I would not buy an MS camera unless it had at least 16Mb on the stick, and I would hesitate before buying MS or SD GPS units with no memory.

Using Street Finder is limited

I.M. Anonymous @ 3/18/2002 8:37:38 AM #
I checked out the Randy Street Finder
and you have to load their maps onto the
device before you can use it, rather than
creating a generic GPS interface with
waypoint tracking. The really silly part
is the availability of Canadian maps is
non-existant. has their own
software that works with the Streetfinder
devices, but buying twice makes me twitch.

At least they could have made or bundled with gpspilot
instead of going with Randy McNally.

Outside US: does it work?

PIC mobile user @ 3/18/2002 9:23:31 AM #
The GPS uses a dbase in order to provide directions. Has anyone tried to use a Palm GPS outside the US, for instance, in South America? I'll bet it has a limited functionality


PIC mobile user @ 3/18/2002 4:27:27 PM #
Will it work with the m125?
RE: m125
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/6/2002 8:13:46 AM #
I live in London and would like to have an application that will allow me to drive in Europe and not get lost... I am learning the subject of a palm based solution 4 some time now but not sure there a good alternative exists. The main problem is that the palm (I own a M505) do not "speak" and that makes it inferior to begin with.
To conclude, I don't reccomend buying a palm based GPS solution, yet.

Hope I've helped.


PIC mobile user @ 3/18/2002 8:55:33 PM #
Is there any type of subscription fee for GPS service? (Other than the hardware).
RE: Fee?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/19/2002 8:16:37 AM #
You mean to receive the signals?
No, just walk into nearest outdoor shop and see for your self. GPS is fun, you can do stuff like with it. :)

How about Asia?

PIC mobile user @ 3/21/2002 5:03:03 AM #
So far there hasnt been much support of Asian maps. When is some company going to start support of Asian City Maps?


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