We’re quite spoiled you and I. Can you imagine if twenty years ago someone had shown you the very device you currently carry and use on a daily basis? Being able to instantly communicate using all manner of methods provided by the most mundane of Windows Mobile Phones is simply an amazing example of technology. As generations of Windows Mobile devices pass by there are new and improved hardware toys that become fairly standard in each generation. GPS receivers are an example of a feature that many of us take for granted that is one of the more amazing pieces of consumer technology.
All of this being true, GPS receivers are not included in all of the Windows Mobile devices that we carry around. Even if it is included, getting a radio signal to and from those satellites drains a battery like few other things can. For those of you facing these dilemmas, I present the GlobalSat BT-368i Bluetooth GPS receiver.
The BT-368i features a SiRF StarIII GPS chip. For the uninitiated, SiRF is one of the big names in mobile GPS technology. The Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery offers “up to 10 hours” of use (I haven’t put the GPS to use for that long, but it is definitely good for more than a couple of hours).
On a side note, the BT-368i also supports connection to your PC using Bluetooth or the miniUSB port.
The obvious benefit here is to anyone who does not own a device with a built-in GPS receiver. Any Windows Mobile device that supports Bluetooth should work just fine with the BT-368i. Additionally, the BT-368i should outperform most built in GPS chips (faster startup/seek times and greater accuracy); I know I found this true when comparing with the GPS included in my AT&T Tilt. Lastly, the fact that you are not constantly utilizing your battery to power the GPS receiver will give you a longer time between charges and allow you more freedom to actually use the GPS.
Getting a Bluetooth GPS to work with something like Google Maps or Microsoft’s Bing has a few more steps to it than I would like. After the standard pairing process is completed, the Serial Port Bluetooth Profile must be selected, and a COM port assigned to the GPS. Once this is done you should be able to get Google or Bing to see your GPS with minimal effort. If you have any trouble, be sure to hit up our forums with any questions you may have. Our readers are pretty smart folks.
With a price tag of $99.95, GlobalSat’s BT-368i is probably best for those either without a GPS at all or anyone that really uses their GPS extensively. Sure, there are handheld GPS devices that are in the same ballpark as far as cost, but it’s hard to argue about having so many methods of connectivity in one device. I can say from personal experience that having a GPS working with Bing and Google Maps can be very handy when you’re in unfamiliar territory.