Saturday, June 23, 2007

Navicore GPS Kit is here, initial observations, a new delay

So I got the kit from Womworld yesterday. I installed the software onto my Nokia N800 Internet Tablet and ran into the review's first major delay. The software license code reported itself as "already in use" when it connected to their server when installing and of course the GPS software will not run. I emailed womworld for a new code but since they're in Great Britain, they're gone for the weekend so the earliest I can expect to start using the gps software is Monday.

Yep, I tried calling their helpdesk using the number helpfully enclosed with the kit. However it's apparently a national holiday wherever the helpdesk is and I am out of luck till Monday as they don't do weekends.

Well, at the very least I could try out the mounting hardware that comes with the kit I told myself. The windshield attachment suction cup is very strong and holds things securely. Just make sure it does not wiggle once you engage the lock. The unit actually came off the windshield once, with my N800 mounted, and dropped to the floor! I think it was because I did not pay close attention. No harm done but something to be aware of, specially on a motorcycle! Luckily I had done the mounting right when I took the N800 out for a ride yesterday.

As I had suspected, the LCD screen is damn near useless in bright daylight. I was wearing the dark visor with my helmet and raising it out of the way helped a tiny bit but still the images were very washed out. This is a problem with all LCD screens on mobile electronics so no big surprise.

Once I get the license code activated for my N800, I hope to use the "high contrast" screen display on the GPS software. Maybe it'll help, maybe it won't. I've pretty much resigned myself to using the voice prompt feature when riding anyways. It will be much safer since it removes the temptation to look at the screen instead of paying attention to the road.

We'll see how the above works out, first I have get licensed!

The GPS receiver that comes with the kit is compact, charges via the enclosed usb power cable. Mating it to my N800 will also have to wait for the right license code.

Below are a couple of shots to demo the screen display quality while the motorcycle was parked out in the sunlight. Mounting point is the windshield as mentioned before. Note, using the windshield on a motorcycle means you can no longer raise or lower it without then having to adjust viewing angle on the N800 mount. Not to mention also making sure you don't intefere with the motion of the windshield since you can knock off the N800's mounting hardware and off goes your N800!

I had the display brightness on maximum, with the dimming timeout set for 60 minutes so it would not cut in and dim the display in order to try and maximize battery life!.

You can barely see the video player controls, the red is my tshirt reflecting on the screen.

I then cobble up a quick "sunshade", helps a tiny bit as you can see.

As you can see, it's barely usable the screen which is why I am pinning all my hopes of using the gps software's visual info on the "high contrast" mode that it comes with.

I am sure it'll be better during overcast skies and in the evening/night. These are just the initial observations I am making here.

For a great in-depth review of the N800 using the Navicore GPS in a non-motorcycling environment ( i.e. the way it was designed to be used), go to thoughtfix's blog here.

23JUN07: Check out 23JUN's article. Changing some factors resulted in the screen being usable for the most part of a ride.

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