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December 13, 2006

During my love-hate relationship with Bluetooth, I have noticed two trends. One is that as the technology improves so does that ease of connectivity. My early experience trying to connect devices via Bluetooth was like marrying a pit bull to a panther. Second is the range of connection has increased.
With respect to Bluetooth GPS receivers, I have noted another trend, and that is the reduction in size. I remember my first, big yellow GPS receiver was about the size of a Yellowpage phone book. Just Mobile’s new Bluetooth receiver is the smallest one I believe I’ve ever seen, measuring about 1.5 x 2.75 x .8 inches. It doesn’t take up much room on your dashboard which it sits securely like a little gray frog aided by four rubber pads.
It has three LED lights signaling the Bluetooth and satellite connectivity. The power button/light indicates charge status. I appreciate its mini-USB connection too, as it is becoming universal and eliminates the number of different kinds of cables you have to tote on a trip.
In the box, you get a cigarette lighter charger/adapter for car travel. You can also unplug the cable from the adapter and plug it into the USB port of a computer. You can also plug the same cable into an included AC adapter. The Li-ion battery is removable and rechargeable. I found that it lasted a little over 6 hours, but I’m not sure if it were fully charged or not.
This receiver is blessed with SiRFstar III, which is the most advanced technology available. It means faster connections and more accurate positioning because it is capable of tracking up to 20 satellites simultaneously. This technology has also proven useful in conjunction with mobile phone networks.
I certainly found the JustMobile receiver to be a quick hooker upper on a recent 2500-mile road trip. I experimented with it using three different Pocket PCs, a Pocket PC Phone, and a Smartphone. It picked up a signal and locked in within just a few seconds, even in a new location with a new partner.
It didn’t take me to within a centimeter of a pirate’s treasure, but I haven’t done any geocaching with it yet to determine its accuracy. I think I’ll wait until this summer for that when the weather is a little more agreeable.
It almost goes without saying that its assessment of altitude is probably not exactly accurate, but that’s always the case with GPS reckoning. I never know if benchmarks, software, or satellites are at fault, but I probably wouldn’t want to land a plane depending on it.
If you are looking for a stocking stuffer, this little gizmo would make a welcome present. Or, why not ask Santa Claus for one for yourself?
They are available online from Expansys and MobilePlanet and cost about $80.

Posted by tim at December 13, 2006 04:22 PM


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