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Friday, September 28, 2012

Hands Free Geocaching Navigation: We Are So Close.

More Power Allocation For Smartphone Navigation
Without trying to get into the GPSr versus Smartphone navigation debate I wanted to share some insights I have discovered after recently pairing up my phone with my new geocache-mobile. Yes after seven years and 225,000 miles of servitude. My 2005 Chevy Malibu has been traded in for a 2012 Chevy Malibu and with that a whole new set of functionality to play with.

For example, all the hands free goodness which I plan on utilizing when I go out geocaching. Now I can hook my Galaxy S3 directly into the nice little USB port just under the radio. This to me is a big plus because I now have an alternate power source for my smart phone and it opens up my cigarette lighter port for something else. *Note this car also has another port and a standard 110 plug just behind the center console -  slick. So outlets are no longer an issue but is there enough juice going through to keep up with the phone? Read on.

Next is the fun part, the Bluetooth communication. Now I can hook my phone right into the smarts of the car via Bluetooth connector (you can go through USB for other things but not for discussion here). Once paired you have direct access thru your steering wheel to tell your car/phone to do anything from getting directions to a nearby restaurant, send a text, find out the weather, to even just plain calling someone and everything goes through the car's sound system. Very cool but not perfect, the technology is getting there but I have found some bugs when testing these features. Over all, very cool to not have the phone in your hand to do all of this BUT and you knew there was a but, there are indeed some major power drain on the smartphone depending on what you use it for. I noticed very quickly that if you use the phone for navigation either with Google Maps, Waze or any other app you are utilizing the GPS functionality  Now add in the Bluetooth power drain and you can almost watch the battery die right before your very eyes. Even when it is plugged in. Cap'n - We Need More Pow'r.

So maybe this is a good argument for having multiple devices in your car when geocaching. I mean I always have used my smart phone for one or two geocache find runs. Though if you are planning on doing a geocaching afternoon or day. You may want to utilize that cigarette lighter outlet for your auto GPSr unit to get to the geocache site and then use your smart phone or hand GPSr unit for finding your geocache. Right now there is just too much of a drain or not enough battery capacity to put everything on your smartphone.

Now let's see: -=BLING=- Bluetooth -> Voice -> Navigate -> Directions to nearest Geocaching Event -> Engage!


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1 comment:

Dan Cole said...


Great write up! I've experienced the same thing with my Galaxy Nexus. One more thing though, I think you need to upgrade your mount to a Ram Mount! :)