Closer Look: Treo 800w's unique GPS Plugin

One neat feature that we've mentioned recently in our Podcast was Palm's unique "Maps" program and Today Plugin, which is nicely tied into the phone's aGPS system.

Palm has always done a nice job in marrying the hardware to the software and instead of just slapping some GPS on the phone, they actually made it...well, useful and easy.

Here are a couple of interesting things gleaned from past scoops and the recently released user manual...

Read on for more details on the 800w's GPS capabilities...


  • Look up a contact's location directly from your Today screen (p240)
  • Find people, restaurants, movies, etc. using the GPS Today plugin (p182)
  • Map your current, recent, and street locations

It also appears that at least for some of these functions, it uses the much superior assisted-GPS system, meaning your current geographical location should happen within seconds, as opposed to the longer "cold start" of traditional GPS systems (read our GPS vs aGPS tutorial here). This should make it faster than the Sprint Touch, Mogul and Q9c which don't use the assistance servers out-of-the-box. Stay tuned for more details.

Basically how it works is while on the today screen, you can just type the name of your contact, hold down the center key and select the "Find" menu entry. The GPS will then map that contact's address directly on the screen.

The other unique feature involves the "Point of Interest" plugin which is sort of like having Microsoft's Live Search built right in to the Today screen. All you do is type in whatever you are looking for and hit "enter" and it will look up and map the info directly, all based on your aGPS coordinates.

That brings us finally to that last aspect. the program "Maps". Not much is currently known about this except it looks like Goolge Maps (but isn't?) and it is not Live Search, though we understand both programs will work with the device's built in GPS. This app appears to be a custom mapping program that is streamlined and tied closely to the OS, for seamless integration.

Either way, these "little features" look to be quite useful and and at this point, unique to the Palm Treo 800w.

WC Staff