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Saturday, February 16, 2008

The project has started....

The project for bringing you a cheap and affordable, small size, nice-looking GPS plug-in for you iPhone/iTouch has finally kicked off.

First off, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am an electrical engineer who has been working in the telecom/datacom area for many years. While working at a few start-up companies, I have gained experience in bringing a device from development to design to production to market. This experience will be very useful in making an affordable GPS solution for the iPhone/iTouch a reality.

So why this project? First off, there is no GPS on the iPhone/iTouch, but it sure would be nice to have a Navigator app in the car while you are on the road. So I looked around on the internet and the idea for a GPS unit for the iPhone has come up before. There is even one company already in the process of making a plug-in module for about $90 (it is not clear when their product will come to market, most likely after the SDK comes out). Also, their solution is not open-source.... my philosophy is to get the community involved. When the the community indicates that it wants a certain thing and supports it, things can be achieved quickly and for an affordable price, avoiding the excessive price mark-ups that most for-profit companies make. A good example of this community backed concept is the plug-in microphone that was developed to make VoIP calls with the iTouch

What are the goals of the project?

  • First off, we have to make the hardware. This should be rather straight-forward and I don't forsee many issues with this. The trick is to put everything in a small package at an affordable price.
  • Second, we need software. In its most simple version, the software would just pop-up with a google map of your coordinates and show you were you are. But really, in the end, we would like to have a voice guided Navigator app that takes a starting and end-address and will just give you directions along the way. This app should be native on the iPhone/iTouch without having the need to be connected to your phone provider or WiFi.
So that's the basic scoop of things.

Make sure to take part in the three polls on the right so we can figure out if you are an iPhone or an iTouch user and how much you would be willing to sacrifice for such a GPS device.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the project. If you ever need any beta testers give me a shout.

Alex (ginnerb@gmail.com)

UK.

Tony said...

Basically, what you're asking for is a group or rather a community that can or are willing to help you out on developing an open source GPS navigator with realtime voice navigation tracking down your coordinates and where you are every what? 1 - 5 minutes? I think it's possible but gee the concept of it is really difficult if you think about the cost. Of course it's possible to do but it would take some time considering that the application would be rather for the iphone than it should be for the itouch. I would say that it would have to work with either the unlimited internet plan that AT&T has provided for the iphone and specifically for the itouch to connect to wifi by purchasing some kind of EVDO router such as a very common one that is provided and built by Cradlepoint.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you do create progress in doing such a complicated thing. If you're thinking of doing what touchmods are doing, don't start off like them. They're really relying on donations and purchases of the microphones to keep continuing their productive work. Right now plan to create the device, make it compact of course. Then develop a software to run on the iphone in order for the GPS device to work. Show proof in everything you do. Sell the software and microphone as a bundle so you would make profit to keep continuing on with your work. That's my opinion so you don't really need to take it unless it's what you think would work best for your project.

Sincerely,

Tony M. Pham

Anonymous said...

I think if u had two models one for the ipod and a different one for iphone and made it contour to the bottom like an extension of the phone and for ipod one just have an extension for the headphone port. I think that it would make the pproduct attractive as people weel see it as an extension of the orginal and would like it belongs.