Socket Launches Bluetooth GPS Receiver

Socket Communications has announced the availability of its Bluetooth GPS Receiver, the first stand-alone wireless Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices supporting virtual COM ports. The Receiver is small and lightweight for optimum portability and allows anyone with a Bluetooth-enabled handheld computer to wirelessly receive GPS location signals within 30 feet of the Receiver. It works with a number of popular GPS map programs including Destinator, Mapopolis, Pharos and TeletypeGPS.

"Before now, adding GPS capabilities to a Pocket PC meant using an obtrusive receiver or troubling with messy cables and external antennas – reducing the portability of your Pocket PC," said John Doub, director, External Bluetooth Products for Socket. "Our Bluetooth GPS Receiver provides a wireless connection to your Pocket PC, eliminating all of these inconveniences."

Socket Launches Bluetooth GPS ReceiverGPS requires clear line-of-site access to the sky. The Socket Bluetooth GPS Receiver provides 12-channel all-in-view tracking of satellites, position accuracy of 10 meters, and it supports the NMEA-0183 (v2.20) standard at 38,400 bps baud rate. It is Bluetooth 1.1 (Class 2) certified and is compatible with any Bluetooth device with a Serial Port Profile, inclusing Palm OS devices. The rechargeable embedded lithium-ion battery lasts for six hours of continuous use, or the Receiver may be plugged into the car lighter for use or recharging.

Pricing and Availability
Socket's Bluetooth GPS Receiver will be available in December through Socket’s website ( and through Socket’s worldwide distribution channels for a suggested retail price of U.S. $449. The Receiver comes with a three-year warranty.

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Seems expensive

Enfors @ 11/22/2002 10:21:48 AM #
I may be missing something, but isn't this a little expensive for a GPS unit without a screen? There are a lot cheaper GPS units out there *with* screens. The conviniency of bluetooth isn't worth this much, IMO.

RE: Seems expensive
mikemusick @ 11/22/2002 11:14:07 AM #
This price point isn't going to last very long. Waiting in the wings are sub-$100 RS232 Bluetooth "dongles". Connect those to any of a half-dozen GPS "mice" in the $100 vicinity and you'll get the same result for less than half the price.

As I understand it, the primary delay in getting BT-RS232 to market is FCC compliance testing. EMTAC/Socket/whoever simply made it through the gate earlier than the others.

RE: Seems expensive
Altema @ 11/22/2002 12:35:24 PM #
It does seem a litle high, especially for a device which does not have the accuracy of other devices.

Pocket PC Only?

robman @ 11/22/2002 10:23:16 AM #
From the story and what I can find on the website, there is no mention of compatability with the Palm for this device. So, unless I'm missing something, this seems to be a tragic announcement for Palm users---somebody is actually using an open standard like Bluetooth but has failed to provide Palm support.


Palm Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin

RE: Pocket PC Only?
Admin @ 11/22/2002 10:31:16 AM #
This does work with the Palm OS, it is not clear from the article and I'll revise it. It does work well with Mapopolis, a popular Palm OS and PPC mapping application.
RE: Pocket PC Only?
asiayeah @ 11/22/2002 10:31:19 AM #
Oh, but this product seems a good fit for the new Tungsten T with built-in bluetooth.


With great power comes great responsiblity.

RE: Pocket PC Only?
mashby @ 11/22/2002 10:38:00 AM #
Transplant Computing has been selling this device as the EMTAC Wireless GPS ( From their web site it looks like Socket is re-branding it as a PocketPC Bundle, but it works perfectly well with the Palm OS.

I've been using it for a couple of weeks with my Palm Tungsten T and it works VERY well. It's a great little device and holds a charge for quite some time.

Michael T. Ashby

RE: Pocket PC Only?
TobyG @ 11/22/2002 10:45:29 AM #
"From the story and what I can find on the website, there is no mention of compatability with the Palm for this device. So, unless I'm missing something, this seems to be a tragic announcement for Palm users---somebody is actually using an open standard like Bluetooth but has failed to provide Palm support."

Look on Palm's website, and you'll find the same device sold by a different OEM for over $100 cheaper with a full Mapopolis bundle. Methinks it's the PPC getting the short end of the stick here. ;)

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown

RE: Pocket PC Only?
mashby @ 11/22/2002 4:50:33 PM #
The re-branded Socket bundle is targeting the PocketPC market, but it's the same device and it work with the Palm OS just fine. :)

Michael T. Ashby
Bluetooth GPS Solutions
pdangel @ 11/25/2002 3:14:56 AM #
EMTAC Bluetooth GPS (Tungsten T info)

Florida company Ashvattha Semiconductor claims to have a single chip that combines the radio sides of GSM and GPRS mobile phone standards, a GPS satellite navigation system and a Bluetooth personal area network.

Trimble Introduces Bluetooth Enabled GPS Surveying System

more solutions coming

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

Need a clear access to sky?

Manicorp @ 11/22/2002 11:24:57 AM #
Does this mean that you cant use it inside the car/airplane? I wonder if this can be used like the protable Garmins, that can be used inside a moving vehicle where direction changes constantly?

If it could be used inside a vehicle, bundled with software, and cost aroung $300, I'll buy it and use it.


RE: Need a clear access to sky?
mikemusick @ 11/22/2002 11:35:57 AM #
It will work fine sitting on the dash under the sloped windshield, as do nearly all current GPS's. I have a GPS built into one vehicle that's actually attached UNDER the dashboard plastic, and it works great.

However, if you are still concerned about "sky view" (which is what we call it), I noticed in one of the pictures (elsewhere) of this GPS that it has provision for an external antenna. These usually have about 10 ft. of cable and a magnetic base for the car roof. It is probably available as an accessory if not already included with it.

RE: Need a clear access to sky?
Altema @ 11/22/2002 12:30:30 PM #
I can usually maintain a decent lock even when I place my gps on the floor of the van, but I would not trust it to maintain a reliable lock from there for very long. From the dashboard holder, I can lock onto as many as 9 satellites.

Ooops... looks like a radar detector!

mikemusick @ 11/22/2002 11:26:41 AM #
Yeah, I know this is a little wacky, but radar detectors are illegal in Virginia and D.C., with hefty fines (not to mention confiscation), and the police are rather aggressive about it. The sad reality is that the burden would be on you to prove that it wasn't a radar detector, and that will usually involve a court visit - a real pain if you're just passing through.

Don't laugh - this GPS does look a lot like a couple of models of radar detectors that have wireless display units you mount "elsewhere".

RE: Ooops... looks like a radar detector!
Zuber @ 11/22/2002 1:17:40 PM #

All I need to do now is get this and a similar looking radar detector. If I get pulled over, I present this thing to the police, spend half an hour explaining what it is and showing off the Tungsten and all is well.


RE: Ooops... looks like a radar detector!
dboehme @ 11/22/2002 1:51:35 PM #
What about a radar detector with bluetooth - mount the radar detector under the hood and you could use your palm as the display.

RE: Ooops... looks like a radar detector!
scyber @ 11/22/2002 6:00:47 PM #
I got pulled over in virginia and they knew we had a radar detector. They simple noted the brand name and wrote me a speeding ticket. No confiscation, no fines.

On Monday, I have to fight for my driverslicense!
Schorsch @ 11/23/2002 5:43:02 AM #
Tis morning, a policeman detected my bluetooth GPS in my car on the dashboard when it was parked on an sideway before an shopping mall. He wrote me a ticket and put it under the windshildwiper.
Now i have to see on mondy morning the policestation to prrof, it isnt an radardedector!!!!
If I donīt (can) do this, I will get a penalty over 500 Dollars(Euros) and tey will take my driverskicence for three month!

In Germany since April 1. 2002, its strongly frobidden, just to carry an radardedector in your car!
Deosnt metter if it works, if you use it or not!
I hope, that the policeman has taken a photo of the GPS in my car that i can proof!

Otherwise, the idea, to build an radardedector in the house of the bluetooth GPS ..... I have to think about.......!

Georg has one for $329

savvy @ 11/22/2002 1:03:03 PM #

Map accuracy is crucial

arnstein @ 11/22/2002 2:25:26 PM #
I own two GPS devices and my experience is that the quality of the map data is very important.

Compiling maps that accurately place roads and other features of interest is an extremely expensive enterprise. I doubt that any PDA software has maps that are worth a hoot. Stick with the dedicated GPS companies like Garmin and Magellan.

Without a good software map, it doesn't matter how accurate the GPS receiver is.

RE: Map accuracy is crucial
shaggypaul @ 11/22/2002 2:45:40 PM #
All the big players in the Palm and PPC mapping software have exactly the same map data source as Garmin, etc. In my experience (and I've tried them all) They are all very accurate. Not to mention a cheaper solution than dedicated car navigators with color screens. Mapopolis on the TT is amazing, speedwise. Any door to door directions in < 5 seconds.

RE: Map accuracy is crucial
mashby @ 11/22/2002 4:52:15 PM #
I've found the Mapopolis maps to be of excellent quality. I've been using their Palm OS 5 version with GPS support and it's been on the money with the BT GPS unit. I've been pleasantly surprised.

Of course, these maps are made for road navigation and not off-road (for hunting and fishing). For those applications, a standard GPS may provide more options, I don't know.

That being said, since the maps that Mapopolis ( provide are broken down by county, I don't see any reason why they couldn't be used for off-road activities.

Michael T. Ashby

RE: Map accuracy is crucial
Altema @ 11/25/2002 12:09:34 AM #
Ditto on the quality and accuracy. I recently completed a project where we needed coordinates for all our buildings. Mapopolis actually saved me several days of work because I could use the address search, then tap the map for the GPS coordinates. The accuracy was right on the money when we did the physical onsite confirmations, even more accurate than my desktop mapping software.

itīs not worth the Money!

Schorsch @ 11/22/2002 3:10:04 PM #
Tis is noz the full story!
If you really will use it, you need an additional Zigaretlighter plug 12 to 5 volt and a charger cabel for the TT or PPC! Together more or less 50 $ extra.
If you dont do this, you will have an emty palm on your next businessmeeting and an emty GPS for driving to the next meeting. Better and cheeper solution is:

RE: itīs not worth the Money!
jmpage2 @ 11/22/2002 9:09:56 PM #
Well I would supposed the big advantage of the bluetooth capability is that you can position the GPS reciever away from the handheld. Might be useful in some car/boat situations.

Palm gets 6 hrs on a charge and so does the GPS... if I go on a longer than 6 hr drive then I don't usually need the GPS on the whole time since I end up driving 100 miles at a time on highway X.
My PALM OS 5 Tungsten Bluetooth Setup

It does work with Palm OS

miradu @ 11/22/2002 3:36:25 PM #
TreoCentral has a video of it working with a Tungsten T and Mapopolis? software. It will work with ANY NMEA compatible application, meaning that even a cellphone could possibly use it...

RE: It does work with Palm OS
Schorsch @ 11/22/2002 6:34:44 PM #
I connected today my bluetooth GPS to my bluetooth printer, and - i got a print out of the NMEA signals!
No setup has been necessary!
It works although with my notebook and bluetooth USB stick and navigationsoftware. Although my Palm TT and Sony NX 70 with bluetooth memory stick are working fine



Ambassador @ 11/22/2002 6:36:06 PM #
I just purchased the Magellan NavCompanion with Street finder deluxe and so far I like my mapopolis maps better... I like being able to load by county and not having to create my own maps... Maybe I am too lazy ;)

Off topic...
I cannot get the NavCompanion to work!!!! when ever I mount it to my M515 it begins to make the palm run find searches, create new todos, and cycle through launcher tabs. Does anyone have any ideas???? (other than reloading all my data one at a time)


RE: Mapopolis/Help
Ambassador @ 11/22/2002 7:05:35 PM #
As always....

I finally got an email from Magellan support that said I cannot have an expansion card in the slot when using the NavCompanion!!!! Wrong, I find that that does not affect the situation and if that is true we have a greater issue. I could not reply tothat email so I called them. They said I had to remove (not disable) any programs that utilize the universal connector: keyboards and such. So, I realized that I had not disabled my thumbboard. I did remove them and the unit now is stable. I also reinstalled them and with them disabled the unit is stable. This just goes to prove how blind I can be when I am trying to get a new toy to work :|

I hope this helps some other poor soul!

RE: Mapopolis/Help
Altema @ 11/24/2002 11:24:56 PM #
Their tech support is wrong, it works fine with or without an expansion card inserted. I'm actually surprised they responded... I contacted them over half a year ago, and am still waiting for something other than the confirmation email.

You may want to make sure that you do not have any keyboard drivers active (especially clip on keyboard drivers), and disable all hacks and overclocking utilities. If you did have to disable any hacks or drivers, then perform a soft reset afterwards. If it still makes your Palm go crazy, then delete the Magellan Nav Companion and Streetfinder programs from the Palm and try it again. If your Palm still goes crazy, your GPS is probably defective. If you take that same device and clip to any Palm M500, M505, or M515 (no software installation needed), and it causes the device to attempt a hotsync, that would clinch the fact that the GPS is defective. Contact their tech support again and let them know it the GPS is not working, and you'd like to exchange it for a working unit.

You should be able to clip the Palm to your Magellan without your Palm doing anything. I frequently clip mine together while at the main menu or in other programs, then I select the map program which is usually Mapopolis. I do have a keyboard driver active, but it's the PPK driver which is stable and does not cause any problems.

Short review

Zuber @ 11/23/2002 9:27:03 AM #
Brighthand ( boo hiss ;) ) has a short review.



golalmo @ 11/24/2002 2:45:40 AM #
Sony already made a memorystick GPS reciver that connect directly to the MS sockt on the cli'e.
As soon as such product will be avaliable (and i'm sure there'll be one soon), this unit would be a total waste of money.

Zuber @ 11/24/2002 6:06:43 PM #
If you mean this one

Then from what I have read elsewhere, it is not much use unless you live in Japan. Different systems or something. Only what I have heard, not varified it.

Besides which, unless you intend to spend your whole life using nothing but Sony devices and memory sticks, this device gives you the option of swithcing to another PDA without loosing your investment.

Altema @ 11/25/2002 12:01:34 AM #
"this device gives you the option of swithcing to another PDA without loosing your investment."

Good point. As much as I like the Magellan GPS (can leave it on and running for over 10 hours nonstop), it would be a doorstop if I moved to a device with a different connector.

GPS & Bluetooth

bytor @ 11/26/2002 9:15:06 AM #
If someone wanted to make a real useful device, me thinks a GPS receiver built into a watch with bluetooth. No display necessary. If I am correct, the people at Sony have already created a GPS watch. Now, drop the display, add BT, and viola!!


Long Live Visor Prism



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