So, having given you a bit of choice in terms of hardware, let's look at the software. We are going to bring into the light a few navigation applications, so you can make up your mind about which one of them will best suit your needs. A thing for you to consider is the map coverage, as different applications have different areas covered.
The journey begins with the Route66 applications. They are available for the three most popular mobile phone platforms - Symbian S60, Windows Mobile Professional and Windows Mobile Standard.
Mobile 7 is the version for Windows Mobile Standard and the manufacturer claims it's the most complete GPS navigation solution. Well, we wouldn't go that far but we still give credit to Route66 for including free real-time traffic information, which makes for congestion free route planning. Another key feature of Mobile 7 is the fast re-routing in case you stray from the original route. Our experience showed that address searching is really fast even on large maps, so you won't need to wait for hours before the program finds the address you entered. The newly included GPS signal extrapolation allows navigation to continue even in tunnels. So unless you are crossing the English Channel, you won't see you Windows Mobile smartphone lose its signal. The Mobile 7 application also has something for those who often get speeding tickets - it will give away a warning signal once a predefined speed limit is exceeded.
The user interface of Mobile 7 is really cool but, frankly, the other navigation solutions included in this article do have their strong points too. It all boils down to taste, so it's entirely up to you to decide which one does it for you.
As indicated on the Route66 web site, the cost of Mobile 7 with an all-European map included is 249.95 Euro, while the version with UK and Ireland maps only is a few cents short of 200 Euro. Among the niceties of the retail package are a Bluetooth GPS receiver (with Sirf Star III chipset), memory card with an adapter and a memory card reader.
For Windows Mobile Professional users, Route66 offers the Navigate 7 application. In terms of functionality it's identical to Mobile 7, only suited to work with touch sensitive displays. It provides ample, easy to hit buttons, so you can easily use it in any conditions. Otherwise, it offers basically the same user-friendly interface and customization options as Mobile 7. 2D and 3D views of the maps are available, and so are night colors for better usability in the dark.
Recently acquired by Nokia, NAVTEQ is the map provider for the Navigate 7 application's database. As a matter of fact, NAVTEQ also supports the Mobile 7 maps and their most recent edition is from the first quarter of 2006.
The Navigate 7 application with Great Britain and Ireland maps will cost you 59.95 Euro, while the version including all the available European maps is worth EUR 119.95.
Route 66 has an offering for the Symbian OS with the S60 UI. The software is a namesake of the Windows smartphone solution - Mobile 7. The version for Symbian phones however supports maps dated from the 3rd quarter of 2005.
You guessed it right, the interface differs a little from the previously mentioned versions, the key modification being the 12-button keypad optimization, as this keypad layout is used in most of S60 smartphones. The included points of interest are more than 1.15 million all around Europe including hotels, restaurants, museums and so on.
The price of the Symbian variety of Mobile 7 varies from 199.95 to 249.95 Euro depending on the included maps. In all of the packages however, there is a Bluetooth GPS receiver included. No further chargers or subscriptions apply, as is the case for all other Route66 navigation applications. Bear in mind that although the traffic information is free, you may be charged for the data transfers based on your current mobile telephony plan.