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New Palm Treo Smartphone Navigator GPS Edition 2 with TomTom Navigator 6!!!

Yesterday Palm released its absolutely terrific new Treo GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 with the latest version 6 of the TomTom Navigator software for USA and Canada.

As regular Treonauts readers will undoubtedly already know my experience with GPS navigation solutions for the Treo has been absolutely superb (see Travelling with a Treo GPS In My Pocket and Treo GPS: Accessory of the Year) and it’s become an indispensable tool to help me get from A to B as quickly as possible without getting utterly lost while driving in cities across the US.

Until now my favourite GPS kit has consisted of the TomTom Navigator 5 GPS Bundle because its included GPS receiver was probably the single most elegant high-end SiRF StarIII powered one available.  Nevertheless, although the TomTom bundle is beautifully designed and excellent in terms of performance it only includes a receiver and navigation software and requires the additional purchase of a separate vehicle mount as well as a car charger which can bring the total cost to some $350 or more.

Palm’s new Treo GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 bundle priced at only $299 however conveniently includes _all_ the accessories (with a combined value of some $395) that you’ll need to use your GPS solution in the car.  The package consists of:

  • TomTom NAVIGATOR 6 software ($149.95 value)
  • 1GB SD card ($44.95 value) pre-installed with map of the continental United States and Canada
  • USB 2.0 SD card reader ($19.95 value)
  • a beautifully designed small and light GPS receiver powered by SiRFStarIII with Bluetooth wireless technology ($129.95 value)
  • Vehicle device cradle with mounting bracket and suction cup pad ($29.95 value)
  • Vehicle power adapter with dual connectors to charge your GPS receiver and Treo smartphone ($19.95)

The package is undoubtedly great but there’s even better news.  Many TomTom Navigator owners had previously complained of the relatively complex procedures to install the navigation software on their SD cards.  With Palm’s new bundle this installation complexity is completely removed because all of the maps already come pre-installed on the included 1GB SD card – the only thing that one needs to do to get started using the TomTom Navigator software is simply to insert the card into your Treo.  Moreover, better still is the fact that the SD card is compatible with the Treo 700p, Treo 700w and Treo 650.

Additionally, the latest version 6 of the TomTom Navigator software among others delivers these enhancements:

  • Better coverage with the latest Tele Atlas maps with coast-to-coast, cross border, door-to-door navigation between USA and Canada
  • Arrival time-based planning so you can calculate when you'll reach your destination-even factor in delays
  • Speed limit information for the roads you're traveling so you'll always know the limit, even between signs
  • Improved point-of-interest searches help you find nearby restaurants, gas stations along your route, attractions in the town you'd like to visit, and more, with greater speed and ease
  • Safety Lock lets you view less menu options while driving for better safety

Overall I believe that Palm has done an incredible job developing its Treo GPS Navigator Smartphone Edition 2 – it offers terrific value, includes all relevant accessories, has a gorgeous new high-end GPS receiver, is extremely simple to install and use and includes the latest version of my favourite TomTom Navigator software.

I cannot more highly recommend to those Treonauts who have not yet had the opportunity to experience GPS navigation on their Treo to give this latest bundle a try.  Meanwhile, those Treonauts who like me already own the TomTom Navigator 5 software will be anxiously awaiting the separate release of just the Navigator 6 software on an SD card as well.

Treonauts are always navigating the world

Posted by Andrew on August 16, 2006 at 09:49 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo GPS

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by Edwin | Aug 16, 2006 11:00:53 AM

That's great that the maps are preinstalled on the 1GB card but are they seamless? Can you navigate a route from the east coast of the United States to the west coast without having to switch map sets? As an owner of the previous Palm navigator bundle not having the ability to load all the maps as one large set bugged me.

I, too, hope they make just the Navigator 6 software availabe on an SD card.

by Andrew | Aug 16, 2006 11:07:07 AM

Edwin - yes, this has been taken care of with the updated Navigator 6 software:

"the latest Tele Atlas maps with coast-to-coast, cross border, door-to-door navigation between USA and Canada"

Cheers, A.

by Carlos | Aug 16, 2006 11:46:03 AM

Anybody know if there is/or will be an upgrade path for the software if you have the previous version?

by Tom | Aug 16, 2006 11:59:32 AM

Am I correct in understanding that there is no syncing needed? Do you simply plug in the SD card and you can run the program from the card? Is it necessary to install software on the phone in order to run this? I haven't gotten the earlier versions because of the memory and syncing issues.

by Edwin | Aug 16, 2006 2:19:24 PM

This is great news, Andrew! To fit all the maps and that extra info onto 1GB makes it a worthwhile upgrade.

Thanks for another excellent review!

by Nikolai | Aug 16, 2006 2:31:34 PM

Are you able to use multiple bluetooth devices while using GPS (i.e. carkit, headset, etc.)?

How does Tomtom 6 handle incoming phone calls while using GPS?

Do you carry this package here? Do we get a member discount?

How long does the GPS battery last?

Thank you for answering and creating a nice review.

by Andrew | Aug 16, 2006 2:53:41 PM

Edwin - my pleasure. I will write a more complete review when I receive my unit next week.

Nikolai - answers to your questions below.

- No, you are not able to use multiple BT devices.
- When receiving a call TT6 temporarily suspends GPS navigation to answer the call and then resumes when you complete the call.
- The Treonauts Shop will begin selling it next week.
- The battery easily lasts 6 or more hours (I don't have exact data at this stage)

Cheers, A.

by Teresa | Aug 16, 2006 3:13:57 PM

Okay - you've sold me - now all I have to do is get a Treo. :-) Since that will involve a bunch of other issues with my phone service - I've been putting it off for a bit - but I gotta say I could really really use that GPS up here in the great Northeast as no road goes where I expect it to... (therein lies the drawback to growing up in the Midwest where all the roads are pretty straight forward. I am so not used to windy, twisty, can't get there from here roads)

by Borszczuk | Aug 16, 2006 4:22:59 PM

Tom - no, you don't need to install anything. App gets launched when you insert a card (or you can launch it directly via launcher by switching to card).

As for TomTom 5 - yes, map installation process was real pain in the ass. Hotsyncing lasts ages and it used to hang from time to time. The TomTom however allows you to install you the software to the disk directory. So if you got a card reader, it is *much* faster to let setup unpack all files and then copy it to card (or just point to the card directly if you like)

by Maynard | Aug 16, 2006 4:26:52 PM

Any insight into the price that Treonauts will be selling the Navigator 6 bundle for? On the Palm site it is listed at $299.95.

by Maynard | Aug 16, 2006 4:48:23 PM

Another question. As far as setup, what is involved with the process. Have had sync issues with other software in the past, and if this is just a plug an go deal, this would help out tremendously. Anything that needs to be installed onto your desktop?

by Greg | Aug 16, 2006 5:58:37 PM

Thanks for the quick overview. Looking forward to the detailed review. One concern, my understanding is that the previous version came on 5 or 6 CDs. Assuming the software only took up 1 CD, that would leave 4-5 CDs of map data. At 450 MB per CD that would be 1.8-2.2 GB of map data. What are they leaving out by only providing a 1 GB SD card?


by Borszczuk | Aug 17, 2006 6:38:33 AM

Maynard - TomTom does not require anything special installed on your desktop. This card should be pure "Plug and Play" type of.

by Franz | Aug 17, 2006 7:03:06 PM

This product looks great, but it leaves me with several questions: Does the 1GB card have room for John Cleese's voice to be added? What are the 30 voices included? To reiterate what others have asked - How does this all fit on 1GB? Can we use POI and the future scenic route option? Can we play Pocket tunes while the TomTom software is running? Will a larger card be available with additional storage for MP3 and other files? I'd love to hear a full review. Thanks.

by elwarren | Aug 17, 2006 8:46:42 PM

Does the gps record the track data of where I've been, so that I can download it later? Or will there be a gap in my track log when I'm talking on the phone during a roadtrip? Do any of these bluetooth gps receivers do that?

by Nikolai | Aug 17, 2006 10:18:05 PM

Andrew, thanks for the response and answers. Have an additional question:

Can the software and maps be installed on my own SD card (2Gb or 4Gb) instead of the TomTom navigator 6 1GB SD card? I do not like to be swapping out cards in order to sooner or later loose/misplace one or the other. Your answer/input is appreciated.

by ppcmd | Aug 19, 2006 12:44:58 AM

I just ordered mine yesterday from the Palm Store, I didn't see it for sale here yet and wanted to get it for my upcoming trip.

Nikolai I can aswer your question with a yes. I actually emailed Palm Support that question before I purchased since I have a 2GB card and don't need 2 cards with me (I have a 60GB ipod Video for my music and vids)

Palms answer:

Basically, it is possible to transfer the maps to your 2 GB card. We would like to inform you that the TomTom NAVIGATOR expansion card includes a map by default. You can customize which maps you use in the following ways:

a) Add one or more additional maps to the TomTom NAVIGATOR expansion card, up to the available memory on the card.
b) Replace the default map with a different map.
c) Put multiple maps on a blank expansion card. If you choose this option, you need to either erase the included expansion card or purchase a separate, high capacity expansion card.

For more information, you may refer to the documentation of the Palm GPS Navigator SKU 3263NA. You may refer also on the link below:


Hope that helps.

by bruce | Aug 19, 2006 7:22:16 PM

Mine arrived on Friday afternoon, installed and configured Friday evening, used it that night and this AM. Seems like it will deliver on all promises so far. Kinda funny..., I had just decided to take the plunge an but the TomTom Navigator 5 bundle when I read this post. Bought it that day!

by Jeff | Aug 20, 2006 7:55:56 AM

I owned TomTom Navigator 5 bundle before, and now got this Palm GPS Navigator 6 package from Palm's comapny store, and tried it for a few days. Some observations:

- Installation is way easier than navigator 5 with card reader
- The receiver is great, cute-looking, very quick locking onto signal. Smalleder than TomTom receiver, but a bit thicker. Argubably, TomTom receiver is still more elegant, higher quality in build. But Palm receiver did make a headway in catching up. And, I liked Palm receiver's switch better. With TomTom receiver, it is sometimes hard to tell whether you have turned unit on/off after pressing the button for a couple seconds (you can not really read the flashing light that well during the day).
- The default map pre-installed on the card covers all continental USA and Canada. But be aware that it is kind of a condensed map. It is not the same as putting all regional maps together (that's why it fits in 1 GB card). I just noticed that POI misses some categories, the most notable among those is "Shop" or "Store" category as was called in Navigator 5. As a result, you can not find, for instance, your local Wal-Mart store, or IKEA. If you install your regional map, you should be able to find them.
- Another problem with default all-in-one USA/Canada map is that it takes a lot longer finding a match when you type in first a few letters of your city, POI etc as there are more choices to match. Overral, it significantly slows down the user experience.
- Navigator 6 takes a lot longer to connect to GPS unit, like 20 seconds. Navigator 5 only takes 1~2 second. I am running Navigator 5 to connect to the same Palm receiver. So it is definitely a software problem than the receiver.
- In general, Navigator 6 appears to be significantly slower than Navigator 5. That includes how smooth the moving map appears during navigation. You can observe the major difference in map animation during route demo.
- For Navigator 5, I was able to install it on both Treo 700p and Dell Axim x51v. Naturally, I was trying to do the same thing with GPS Navigator 6 since it does work with Treo 700w (a Window's mobile system). However, it only intalls on Treo, but not other WM devices like Axim. I know that most of you may only care about Treo. But if you happened to have Axim as well, you'd love to have it working on both devices. TomTom allows you to activate the software/map up to two devices at the same time. If you do have Axim, you definitely want to try that. I can tell you that TomTom looks stunningly good with Axim's amazing display.
- And as far as user interface change is concerned, honestly, I found that upgrade from Navigator 5 to 6 is very minor (you don't really need to lean anything to get up to speed if you used version 5 before, for better or for worse. In fact, the two look virtually the same to me, except the significant downgrading on performance.

Conclusion: I love the package (good receiver, functional and complete accessories) but wish I am running Navigator 5.

by Jon | Aug 20, 2006 7:27:49 PM

Andrew -

I've used older generations of marine GPS before, and OEM in-car navigation systems before, but never a portable unit like this. My question is an obvious one, given the title of your review - will I be able to obtain and maintain a satellite fix with the GPS reciever in my pocket? I do a lot of walking, travelling on public transit, etc while in cities on business. I'd like to be able to keep the GPS reciever in my pocket, my Treo 650 in my hand, and be able to navigate that way. I know GPS is supposed to be a line of sight application, and it seems as though the fabric of a pants pocket shouldn't stop a global satellite system, but better to ask first and buy later!

Thanks for the great review!

by Bart | Aug 24, 2006 5:14:33 PM

Jon, I have an Emtac SiRFIII GPS bluetooth receiver (similar to the one discussed here) and can even put it in my car's center console with the lid closed and it maintains a fix. It should easily work in your pocket. Won't work in a subway though!

by Dan | Aug 24, 2006 11:19:25 PM

I've got Navigator 5 from the previous Palm bundle. Can the maps be upgraded? I couldn't find a link for an upgrade on the TomTom website. Twice now I've found new highways not shown on the included maps. I'd like to update every year or so but that doesn't seem possible without buying a new unit?


by d'Andre Willis | Aug 25, 2006 11:57:53 AM

Palm is running a $100 rebate on the old Navigator 5 bundle this month (which includes a charger and the SD card preloaded with US). Any thoughts on which you'd choose for your first system if there was a $100 difference in cost?

by Dan | Aug 29, 2006 10:23:33 PM

The Navigator 5 works great as a portable nav system. The "points of interest" are particularily helpful when travelling. You can locate a hotel up ahead on the highway and ask the Treo to dial the number to check on room availability. Very nice!

The only complaint I've got is that it often freezes up on long trips...somtimes once every hour or two. This requires removing the battery to reset. What a pain. Still it is a bargain at the price. If the new version has fixed this problem I'd pay the difference. If not, $100 is a pretty attractive discount to use the older software.

by Isaac | Aug 30, 2006 2:46:45 AM

To Andrew - You have had the opportunity to test the system out, based on the review by a member here would you say that the sofware version 6 is slower then version 5? Do you notice any differance in performance & speed in the phone & software? Im in canada & there are no stores that carry the system so I cannot get any information. I called a palm retailer in California & the guy was busy so couldnt help me for too long. Would appriciate your help. Thanks mate

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