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Treo GPS: A Superb Experience

Treo GPSI have to admit that I keep being surprised by how few Treonauts overall know about the superb benefits of adding a Treo GPS Navigation solution to their smartphone.  

A Treo GPS kit is without a doubt one of my very favourite accessories (see Traveling with a Treo GPS In My Pocket) and one that I never dream to travel without – particularly when visiting a city that I don’t know well or at all.  My most recent experience took place a few weeks ago as I visited Italy with friends near Milan.

My existing TomTom Navigator software only included maps for the US and Canada and so I first had to purchase the Western Europe maps to cover Italy.  After installing these to a 2GB SD Card (a 10 minutes process) I was ready to among others start planning my car journey from Malpensa airport to the absolutely superb “L’Ostelliere” hotel where we would be staying in the Piemonte countryside.

 TomTom Navigator 

All I needed to do was access the “Advanced planning” menu (above left) in TomTom’s navigation software then select a “Depart from:“ address (Malpensa airport in this case) followed by “Pick a destination” (my hotel address which I had previously already saved as a Favorite) and within a few seconds I had a detailed map with estimated travel times and distance.


Naturally, pre-planning the route was only a small part of the equation and the most important bit evidently takes place upon arrival when you sit in your car rental and prepare all the GPS navigation kit for your journey.

For starters I typically always keep one or more spare Treo batteries that I’ve fully charged (now even easier with the Treo Battery Charger) at the ready just to make sure that I always have enough power no matter what the situation.  I then have a Treo car charger as well as the included TomTom GPS receiver car charger.  Finally I also recently added the iGrip Custom Fit Flexible Treo Mount which holds my smartphone securely in place attached to the windshield and within close and easy visual reach while driving.

After turning the TomTom GPS receiver on, I launch the Navigator application on my Treo and select “Navigate to…” following a route setting process nearly identical to the one that I previously described above. 

I start the engine, leave the car park and for the next hour and a half listen to turn-by-turn directions delivered by a lovely English woman’s voice while occasionally viewing the route on my Treo screen.  I typically arrive quickly and extremely relaxed at my destination without once making a wrong turn, worrying about getting lost, dangerously fumbling with paper maps while driving or having to read a single sign on the road… 

Overall, navigating with a Treo GPS solution is the closest that I’ve come to driving on auto-pilot and every time that I use it still often wonder how I ever managed to live without one in “the old days”.

My current favourite Treo GPS Navigation bundles are the TomTom Navigator 6 (it’s the most expensive but I like their GPS receiver) and Palm GPS Navigator 2+ (which now conveniently adds out-of-the-box support for the Treo 680 as well as a free custom fit flexible mount).  If you prefer to make your own bundle by purchasing a separate GPS receiver and GPS software as well as a vehicle mount then my top recommendation are the GlobalSat BT-338 and GlobalSat BT359W.

Treonauts never get lost

Posted by Andrew on May 2, 2007 at 11:58 AM

Treo Accessories , Treo GPS

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by lalakis | May 2, 2007 12:53:57 PM

Too bad I cannot find a map for my country (Greece) :-(

by France Treo | May 2, 2007 12:59:27 PM

I agree that TomTom is one of the most useful applications running on my Treo. Its integration with the "Treo spirit" is brilliant.

One little thing I dislike, though, is that TomTom badly recalculates the time needed to fullfill the distance. It it says 1h35 for a 130km trip, and you get yourself caught in traffic jam, well, TomTom does not update the average speed, and only delays the arrival time by the amount of time spent into traffice. A better solution would have been to compute an average speed, and apply it to the remaining distance to drive.

by Jeff | May 2, 2007 1:04:15 PM

TomTom works wonderfully for me, around my home town as well as around the country, I use it every day. Planning a trip to the UK this month, I just bought the maps and installed on a 1G card, and it was straightforward. When I needed help, their customer service by phone was wonderful, but via the TomTom website I got only irrelevant answers after long delays.

Now I'm looking for a bit of software or a feature to let me TRACK my route as well as plan one with the GPS. Any pointers?

by Matt | May 2, 2007 1:17:49 PM

I think that TomTom is too expensive. I've almost bought Mapopolis a couple of times, but I still balk at the price. I already have a BlueTooth GPS receiver that works very well with my Treo. I used it for the Mapopolis demo period and it was pretty cool. What I really want though is a way to use Google Maps with the GPS for navigation. We're getting closer, there's a program now called Where Am I? that queries your position through a BT GPS and then passes it along to Google Maps. We just need to get that so it updates your position in real time and then get voice guidance and automatic route correction and it'll be the best package. My biggest problem with prepackaged GPS solutions is that their maps become outdated so quickly. Google Maps is updated more regularly, and its free to boot.

by Garett | May 2, 2007 1:38:36 PM

I have a Treo 650 TOM TOM GPS device.

Can I use that with my 750? Do I just need the software or am I sol.


by Celeste | May 2, 2007 3:31:46 PM

When the cellular phone company announced they would no longer support my 8 year old analog phone I decided to upgrade in a big way. I bought an unlocked Treo 680 with the idea that I was upgrading from a Zire to an easier to use PDA (love the keyboard) that just happened to have a phone, too.

The guys here at the office still don't understand why I rarely turn my phone on (I'm on a prepaid plan and don't give out my phone number). The phone is for my convenience, not for any one else.

But I did get the Palm GPS Navigator SmartPhone Edition 2 (and my rebate arrived last week). My husband and I really enjoy using it, even when we are going somewhere we've been many times before. I haven't had a chance to plan a trip to somewhere unfamiliar, yet, but this less than super-techno grandmother finds the Tom Tom software easy to use and understand.

Now if the clear SPE Slidercase for 680's would appear in the Treo Accessory Shop I'd be even happier!

by Roger Mc | May 2, 2007 4:34:13 PM

I too love my GPS and have traveled with it. It works great on my Treo 700P. Even if you do not travel, but live in a metropolitan area it is great. I have the TomTom loaned into my Treo and it works fine. For spouses, this is a great gift for all of us "have everthing" types.

by Waylo | May 2, 2007 5:23:54 PM

I've had TomTom on my Palm TX ever since I bought it a year and a half ago. I didn't really see the need for a Treo until I realized I was carrying around my TX everywhere just so I could use my GPS! Once I made that realization, it was Treo time!

I do feel 'bad' for leaving my Palm TX at home all the time now and rarely using it. But I think I'll just bring the TX along on trips as an extra (for movies and airport Wifi).

Pathaway (pathaway.com) is a great tracking program, if you are interesting in calculating distances or mapping out your expeditions. You can also convert the recordings to Google-earth formats. You do have to make your own maps, however. To my knowledge, there are no Palm-based GPS programs that navigate AND track. GPS Pilot makes 2 programs (Atlas + Tracker) which are similar to Pathaway. But Pathaway is by far the best one I've found.

by john | May 2, 2007 6:02:24 PM

I tried this on my 680 and it was so slow I had to return it

by Craig | May 2, 2007 9:36:08 PM

Garmin Mobile XT (last update, Garmin Mobile 10) just added tracks to their software. I've not played with it much yet - I couldn't figure out where to find the actual track file I created. It must have stored it on the phone vs. the SD card. Other than that, it worked pretty cool - shows little breadcrumbs on the display everywhere you drive. You can even set the interval rate to minimize the track file size.

by Borszczuk | May 3, 2007 5:56:35 AM

France Treo: TomTom calculates time using expected travel speeds, not your real speed. That's why its estimates are simply useless so I got it turned off.

by Fred | May 3, 2007 6:12:38 AM

Ya sou Lalaki!

I agree - it's terrible that there are no maps for Greece! (To GPS den einai elliniki efevrisi;;)

by JPVann | May 3, 2007 10:58:19 AM

I am in Vancouver this week on vacation and am using a new Globalsat 359, Treo 750 and Google Maps. Works great! And Google is free, although it requires contstant data connection.

by rxgrl | May 4, 2007 11:37:06 AM

I really could have used this when I was driving around Sicily with a guide book and a map I bought at the airport! I would have avoided getting lost in Palermo for an hour and crying that I would never find my hotel! Well, I did, so I'm obviously a master at finding my way with a map. Now that I know I can do that, I no longer want the stress involved and I would really like to get a GPS. Only thing is I'm awful with making decisions and I don't know which one to buy! Now my quest of reading every article about GPS software begins.....

by Beth | May 5, 2007 11:59:35 AM

I love my Tom Tom GPS! I had used it so much that I had to have my receiver replaced and for those three months I was lost. I couldn't drive anywhere. The Yahoo maps get me lost because the directions are never on point especially if you have a detour it doesn't tell you those things and you have to figure out a new route on your own. Tom Tom helps me get to where I need to go no matter what the road conditions are and they always get me back on track. Living in a construction 24/7 state like Michigan it is a life saver! I never know what roads, cities or areas are going to be under construction and my Tom Tom always gets me where I need to go! The traffic option on it hasn't worked too well for me and my only complaint (other than the poor customer service at Tom Tom) is that with all the construction not only in Michigan but also at my grandpa's in TN it doesn't always have the right new roads. One part of our interstate makes it freak out because they moved it slightly and my grandpa's house isn't even on the map! But other than that a great software, life saver and addition to my treo life :)

by Mark | May 11, 2007 3:49:49 PM

Satisfied w/Mapopolis, but I understand they've closed down. Primary drawback is it locks-up when you make or recv phone calls. Since I'm on the phone a lot while navigating, I have to choose when to talk or navigate. Day of the other Treo GPS systems allow simultaneous use?

by kara | Nov 10, 2007 12:06:09 PM

I have a Tret 700wx. I just downloaded a freeware GPS software named Nav4All (ver 8.0.5). When I go to "where Am I" it says "GPS not turned on".

How do I turn on GPS?

I know i go to Systems-Settings-GPS then what should the "Gps Program Port" be? Its set as Com0.

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