Review: Who needs a PND when you have CoPilot Live 8 on an HTC HD2?

Summary:Earlier this summer I posted on the release of CoPilot Live 8 for Google Android and loaded it up on my T-Mobile G1 to evaluate for a full review. A ton of new devices came shooting across my desk and I never had the chance to finish my review of this excellent GPS navigation solution, although I did use it successfully for a couple of road trips and found it to be an excellent solution on the Android platform. Last week I received an HTC HD2 device to evaluate and found that CoPilot Live 8 was preloaded on the device. The software was loaded with a 14-day trial and I quickly learned I could transfer the review license from my G1 to the HD2 and quickly set up the account on the HD2 and downloaded the 31MB map for Washington State. As you can see in my image gallery containing screenshots of the application and video of CoPilot Live 8 in action (thanks to my new teenage daughter taking the wheel), the software is fantastic and with that large, fabulous 4.3 inch 800x480 pixel resolution display you can't find a much better portable GPS navigation/mapping solution available.

Earlier this summer I posted on the release of CoPilot Live 8 for Google Android and loaded it up on my T-Mobile G1 to evaluate for a full review. A ton of new devices came shooting across my desk and I never had the chance to finish my review of this excellent GPS navigation solution, although I did use it successfully for a couple of road trips and found it to be an excellent solution on the Android platform. Last week I received an HTC HD2 device to evaluate and found that CoPilot Live 8 was preloaded on the device. The software was loaded with a 14-day trial and I quickly learned I could transfer the review license from my G1 to the HD2 and quickly set up the account on the HD2 and downloaded the 31MB map for Washington State. As you can see in my image gallery containing screenshots of the application and video of CoPilot Live 8 in action (thanks to my new teenage daughter taking the wheel), the software is fantastic and with that large, fabulous 4.3 inch 800x480 pixel resolution display you can't find a much better portable GPS navigation/mapping solution available.


Image Gallery:Check out a few screenshots of CoPilot Live 8 running on the HTC HD2.
Image Gallery: Options pop-up display
Image Gallery: Live services

I'll try to cover some of the primary aspects and my favorite features of CoPilot Live 8 and give you my impressions of the usability and capability of the software, but as you can see on the Features page there is an amazing list of functions available to you in the software. As you can see in my video below the software screams on the HTC HD2 with 1GHz Snapdragon processor and all I need now is a proper car mount for the device to have a super in-car navigation system. As you will read below, CoPilot Live 8 also meets the needs for your out-of-car experiences, which is quite important for me personally.

Start up and walk around the interface

When you first launch CoPilot you need to select the region you want maps for, the language you want to use, and then enter registration information (if you want to purchase or enter your activation code) or select a trial. One thing I love about CoPilot 8 compared to a few other GPS navigation solutions I have tried is that CoPilot starts right up in map view and plots your GPS location in seconds (after performing the initial setup of course). This way you can be up and running with at least a map of the area and POIs in your area before you even think about starting to enter a destination and start navigation.

You position is shown as a large red dot that turns into an arrow when you start to move. This appears in the lower third of the display in the center so you can see the roads as you drive up towards the top of the display. In the upper left corner you will find the (-) for zooming out with the wrench and screwdriver icon indicating these are the software settings. In the upper right corner you will find the (+) symbol for zooming in with the compass indicator (if toggled on) placed below this. In the bottom left you will find a small red arrow with the word Menu below it that is tapped to access the extensive Menu in the software. The other parts of the bottom of the display can vary depending on settings, but generally include the distance to a turn, navigation mode, GPS satellite signal, any traffic warnings, wireless data connection status, ETA, and more.

When you rotate into landscape mode you will see two green arrows to toggle between different views, including Safety View and full screen toggle. Safety View hides the map and presents large yellow arrows, along with the voice navigation to get you to your destination.

You will find the entry keyboards throughout CoPilot Live 8 to be shown in alphabetical order and not in QWERTY form. It makes it a bit awkward for entering information, but the keys are large enough to be easily tappable. I understand QWERTY is on the iPhone software and that a QWERTY keyboard is under development for Windows Mobile and Android.

Settings

There are two areas of settings within CoPilot 8. The first is called Options and is found by tapping on the wrench and screwdriver icon on the left side of the display. You will see a 3x3 grid of icons appear and if nothing is tapped then the Options display will automatically hide itself. The nine available options include 2D/3D view toggle, Safety view, itinerary, volume, mode of travel, voice command (not yet supported), portrait/landscape toggle, rotate map, and compass toggle. The mode of travel toggle lets you select from auto, walking, RV, motorcycle, and bicycle. As stated on the CoPilot site, walking mode gives you a custom map display and useful on-screen compass with a straight line indicator that keeps you heading in the right direction towards your destination. The cycling mode gives you satellite navigation on your bicycle, with voice directions and cycling-specific routes while the RV mode can calculate routes better suited to larger vehicles, minivans and Recreational Vehicles. RV routing favors main roads and avoids U-turns where possible. I particularly like the walking mode since I spend time walking around cities when I am traveling and in the past have been using Google Maps. However, it will be nice to have the maps on the device with no wireless Internet access needed to obtain maps.

The second area where you will find settings is on the 2nd page of the Menu options. Tapping on Settings here opens up six pages of settings for you to manage and customize your CoPilot Live 8 experience. Different settings you will find on these six pages include routing, map styles (color variations), map display (heading or north up), sound, GPS satellite status, POI display, speed limit, warnings, clear turn, day/night toggle, themes, GPS track playback, and more.

The application is very powerful and also very usable in a car. The buttons are very large and responsive so you can quickly tap anywhere and activate/select what you desire.

Live Services

Available Live Services include Live Local Search, Live Traffic, Live Link, Live Weather, and Fuel Prices. These are all pretty self-explanatory and give you the information via a wireless data connection. I understand RoadSide assistance can also be provided if you subscribe to the breakdown service, to be provided at a later date.

Fuel prices can be setup to sort by distance or price with a default search radius and fuel grade. Weather data is provided by AccuWeather.com and tapping on a specific day will launch the web browser for more detailed information. Traffic incidents can be viewed in a list or on a map.

Let's travel somewhere

If you want to go on a trip, then you can either tap on Destination or on My Places to visit your standard destinations (Home, Work, Recent, and Favorites). If you tap on Destination then you have options for address, POI, contact, pick on map, intersection, photonav, and coordinates. As you start entering text you will find cities and other data filtered as you type. I understand that voice support (text to speech and voice recognition) for destinations is coming to the software as a premium service, but this is not currently available. You can preplan trips using the free Windows CoPilot Central software. There is no version for Macs though so I haven't tried it out yet myself.

As you can see in my video, CoPilot Live 8 will inform you of upcoming turns via voice. The only voice available is John and it sounds fine. ETA, time and distance to next turn, and other helpful information is provided as you drive.

Pros and cons

Pros:
  • The software is very responsive on the HD2 and the button area are very large so I never hit a button by accident. There are a ton of options to make the experience an enjoyable and customizable one on your Windows Mobile device.
  • The walking mode is outstanding for those of use who walk around new cities as we travel.
  • The price is outstanding and half of what the previous version cost so you really cannot go wrong for just $35 for the entire US and Canada with no obligation to buy an upgrade or pay a subscription.
  • ClearTurn is a handy feature to have for exiting the highway, especially if you are driving in a new area.

Cons: Voice enabled destinations are not yet supported, but this functionality is under development.

Pricing and service options

CoPilot Live 8 for Windows Mobile is available via download for only $34.99 and includes maps of the US and Canada. You can order it on DVD for $54.99 and on a 2GB microSD card for $59.99. With the download version you can order and just download and place the maps on a microSD card or DVD for backup yourself too, but the other options are there for convenience. You can buy one year of premium Live services (subscription to real-time traffic information, fuel prices and local search) for $19.99.

Special Holiday Pricing

I just received the following press release and think you will all enjoy seeing that you can purchase CoPilot Live 8 for just $19.99 starting tomorrow morning for a limited time.

Happy Thanksgiving from CoPilot Live - GPS navigation throughout USA for $19.99

Holiday Sale -- Avoid the hectic malls, crowded parking lots and long store lines!

Award-winning GPS navigation for smartphones provides full USA mapping, 3D map views and spoken directions; and it’s available for the breakthrough price of $19.99 this Thanksgiving holiday. AAA is forecasting an increase in 2009 traffic with almost 40 million Americans travelling more than 50 miles over the Thanksgiving weekend. This year however, holiday travellers can navigate to their destinations a little more easily – simply using their GPS-enabled Smartphone equipped with the CoPilot Live GPS navigation app.

Available for iPhone, Windows Mobile or Android smartphones, CoPilot Live provides turn-by-turn directions across USA, complete with detailed spoken turn instructions and clear colorful 3D street maps. CoPilot’s street maps are stored on the phone, so there’s no expensive map downloads or any risk of being stranded without a map in a mobile coverage dead spot. If you do encounter an unexpected delay or severe holiday traffic, just hit CoPilot’s instant detour button to find a way to avoid it. You can even let your friends and family know what time you’ll arrive, thanks to CoPilot Live’s unique LiveLink location sharing service that allows them to follow your location live on an Internet-based map.

But best of all, CoPilot Live is available at an incredible Thanksgiving special price of $19.99 beginning at 8am EST on Wednesday November 25th. It’s a one-time payment for a lifetime of stress free driving. Travel easier this Thanksgiving – and beyond with CoPilot Live.

Available for iPhone from the App Store, for Android Smartphones like the T-Mobile G1 via Android Market, and for Windows Mobile smartphones from www.copilotlive.com.

Topics: Mobility, CXO, Hardware, HTC, IT Employment, Networking, Software, Wi-Fi

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.