Google Navigation.

Whilst I know Google Navigation has been around in the U.S for a while it’s only recently we received it on this side of the pond, I recently used on my Samsung Galaxy*

Since this was my first time using Navigation, I wasn’t sure what to expect and as it was a long Journey I also packed my Tomtom Just in case, although i’m pleased to say the Tomtom was not required.

Once thing to note is if you are using an Andorid version prior to 2.0 the voice navigation does not work, I didn’t realise this initially so sat there trying to navigate by voice and just making myself out to look like an Idiot.

Since voice navigation does not work on my phone, I used the alternative of searching for my destination on google maps, then selecting the navigate option.

Once navigate is pressed, Goggle navigation starts up and begins downloading the route information, this took a couple minutes since the simcard I had in the phone at the time seems to only be provisioned to allow access to the GPRS network and not the 3G network, although once this had happened I didn’t notice any difficulties caused by intermittent loss of coverage.

I did however find it a bit slow to re-route when i’d accidentally taken a wrong turning, this may be down to the aforementioned lack of 3G, I’ve yet to try and drive off route with no network coverage, so i’m not sure how it would react in those circumstances.

In terms of the accuracy of the Navigation and the Clarity of Instructions I didn’t have any major Issues, In-fact I quite liked how it reads out directions for roundabouts, not only telling you the exit you need but also the name of the road and sometimes even where it goes (And it usually matches up with what’s on the road-sign, making it a lot easier to make-sure you find your exit)

Unfortunately the voice they use is awful, I believe it’s a text to speech engine but it sounds very robotic and could easily irritate, hopefully in a future version they’ll be able to change it to a more human sounding voice.

It Did slip up once when locating a train-station, for some reason it took us to the road behind the station and not the one leading upto it, thankfully the station had a foot bridge to cross to the correct side and I was only dropping people off, might have been a little inconvenient if you were expecting the car park however.  It was very nifty how it drops into street view as you approach your destination (if Google have street-view imagery of the area)

In Terms of Data usage It appears to have used Less than 5MB for a 220Mile journey (The Prepay Sim i’d put in the phone had 250MB of data allowance on it and according to the operator there’s now 247Mb left… of course the data use may vary depending on what you are planning on doing with it, probably best to have some kind of data bundle if you plan to use navigation).

I’m unable to comment on the traffic reporting functionality as the majority of my journey goggle didn’t have traffic info for.

To Sum it all up it’s a pretty decent piece of navigation software and if you happen to have a Android handset running Android 1.6 or higher then all you need to do to get Navigation is to visit the market place and grab the updated maps application, not only is it Free but it’s darn good as well.

*Not supported on the official UK firmware, since at the time of writing the i7500 galaxy in the UK is running Andorid 1.5 and navigation needs a minimum of 1.6 I used JC6 (1.6 based) from here, note replacing the firmware with firmware obtained from an unofficial source will probably void the warranty on the phone.


Game Crashes!

If there’s one thing more annoying than losing at a game it’s being at a point where you cannot save for a while and then having the game itself crash, as I’ve experienced several times with the Dragon Age: Origins expansion. (Awakening)

Infact I was recently in a battle where I was coming close to winning (and then i could have saved) when the dreaded message stating that there was an error encountered and the program has been closed, it’s always happening at the worst possible movement also.

Having a quick look around, it seems there are several people reporting similar crashes, Can’t say i had this many problems with the original game, however the video drivers have probably changed versions several times since then.

Guess it might be worth checking the PC over just to make sure The drivers are up2date.etc But considering it only seems to happen on Dragon Age it’s probably a bug in the game itself… Sigh.

Unfortunately console games are not immune from such problems either, I recall bluedragon doing it in the middle of a boss fight at least once.

The downside is it seems the quality of recent games has gone downhill a lot, since most companies seem to have the mentality of release now, patch later.   Sadly this is now infecting consoles since again they can just issue an update via the online functions of modern consoles.

Rant over, Time to get some sleep.