Tuesday, March 27, 2007

MIO 310 pocket PC GPS running Microsoft Pocket PC 4.2 with SIRF

I love the MIO digiwalker 310 from mio-tech http://www.mio-tech.com/.
This is such a fantastic device. It is running Microsoft Pocket PC 4.2 and this device shows how great and stable Microsoft OS can be when it is integrated the right way !
When i say right way it is because the device is running some really good open source library. Also because there is no need to use some fancy overkill c# UI.
The decision to choose c# or not on embedded device has to be driven by a good balance between scalability and speed. The faster the better....
Using c# for the beauty of the code is not always good...
The experience is the key to have a great product and the fact that the code has to be clean enough to maintain and understand is not always a must have... I mean clean is good but balancing managed and unmanaged code is important.

A bried list of the open source libraries and sdk's

Firefly embedded application engine www.pdamill.com
FFUI embeded user interface www.pdamill.com
Hekkus sound system www.shlzero.com
Sqlite database Engine www.sqlite.org
AGG graphics library www.antigrain.com
Redblack tree
Freetype font rendering library www.freetype.org
Tremor OGG library www.Xiph.org

The human interface is slick ! The device has a touch screen with buttons big enough not to use any stylus. SD/MMC reader, USB adapter, stereo headset plug and a way to lock the device.
Your finger works fine but be carrefull when you leave an in and out burger place..
Touched screens are not really fat friendly by nature.... After using the device for 3 days, i love it !
i didn't see any negative point except maybe that i would have like to be able to pick a female english voice instead of the men english voice choosen by default for US. The french voice is female by defaut which is a nice french touch.


+ Zoom is fantastic and realtime.
+ POI are great and intelligent. Based on your location and always sorted by distance.
+ POI can be browsed by categories as well.
+ Fantastic auto completion when you type anything using the keyboard
+ Voice is clear and loud
+ Night vision mode is great and the device switch automatically based on the time.
+ The device engine is smart enough to tell you to take the left lane on a free way
when your driving segment is long enough
+ Calculation time are fast
+ Screen size is big
+ MP3 player


- no indoor outlet adapter to charge the device. Just a car adapter so if you have a bike
you will need a USB charger at home.

After all i think that a portable GPS device with additional audio features is the way to go. Using a phone which require activation seams to have more inconvenient than advantage. I have tons of ideas around GPS now by combining the POI database with mood and also by performing datamining and beeing able to analyse route history to use them as preferred route. I can't wait to see some video player on this device.