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Gpsnavigation Moves to Your Palm

  • Date Submitted: 12/24/2012 12:47 AM
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NY Times
GPS navigation moves to your palm

By Michel Marriott

In recent years, Global Positioning System navigation, commonly known as GPS, has rapidly migrated from oceangoing vessels and adventurers' backpacks to the dashboards of luxury sedans. In yet another leap into the mainstream, GPS technology, cheaper yet more sophisticated than ever, is increasingly finding its way into the palms of everyday users.

In an array of devices, many new and some newly enhanced, the use of orbiting satellites to orient and guide travelers has never been simpler, more accurate or, well, cooler.

Taking advantage of faster, smaller processors, higher-resolution liquid-crystal-diode color screens and more efficient antennas, digital storage and software, GPS devices are becoming an ever more compact source of useful maps with walking and driving cues.

"More and more young people look to GPS," said Steven Hendricks, a Motorola spokesman. "They've used it as hikers and snowboarders. Now more professional folks are wanting to use it for traveling, finding their ways to restaurants and hotels, to meetings and clients."

In some instances, roofers helping to rebuild homes and businesses in Hurricane Katrina's wake have been using hand-held GPS devices to locate job sites in areas where street addresses have been blown away, workers say.

But perhaps the most prominent example of GPS's broadening acceptance is its increasing incorporation into feature-laden mobile phones.

The federal government requires mobile phone makers to embed location technology in phones sold in the United States, to help emergency services locate people when they call 911 in emergencies.

But basic location technology, accomplished in most phones with GPS chips, cannot alone be used to navigate from point to point. For that, carriers must use special software or additional hardware, experts said.

Motorola's i870 multimedia phone is crammed with new hardware that includes GPS...


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