If you haven’t noticed, (and it’s been hard not to!) the battle of mobile platform supremacy has been heating up over the past couple of weeks.
First Apple announced the latest versions of their desktop and mobile operating systems: Mountain Lion and iOS 6. While these will bring a wide range of incremental enhancements, the much-anticipated announcement of their own mapping service – in place of Google Maps – stole most of the headlines. The increased synchronization of content between iOS 6 and Mountain Lion through iCloud only partly compensates for the fact that they remain quite separate operating systems.
Next up was Microsoft with Windows 8 for mobiles and – quite surprisingly – their own mobile computer, the Microsoft Surface “slatebook”. Here at CoPilot, we’re a fan of Windows 8 as it should allow much greater freedom for developers to create apps compared with the ‘managed code’ of Windows Phone 7. As for the Surface, this is presumably Microsoft’s way of telling Enterprises to hold off on deploying iPads … and their consumer partners that they need to make better hardware.
Yesterday it was Google’s turn to take the stage, and they were well prepared with multiple announcements, not to mention a few skydivers and bikers! Here’s a few things that grabbed our attention:
A Google-branded Tablet Although it may not win awards for hardware innovation and spec-wise it’s unlikely to deter many future iPad buyers, we really like the look of the new Nexus 7 tablet. Its middle of the road features are more than compensated by its extremely aggressive $199 price. In a head to head battle with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, our money would probably be on the Nexus. It’s the tablet the Kindle Fire should have been, less “blocky” hardware, the very latest version of Android OS (Jellybean) and – most interestingly for us – built-in GPS. Final verdict: with CoPilot Live installed we believe it’s going to be the best 7” GPS in the world!
Android Jellybean The new version of Android’s operating system looks set to build on the improvements of the incumbent Ice Cream Sandwich by introducing what we’d describe as “UI Polish” to enhance the user experience. Also included are what’s described as “offline maps” although it appears that this is not really a new feature, rather an official launch of a beta feature that allows you to download a comparatively small section of map (40 mile or so radius) to your device. We’ll of course make sure CoPilot is compatible with Jellybean as soon as possible and naturally, we’ll continue to allow you to store entire countries or regions offline.
Project Glass It looks like Google is determined to make the concept of augmented reality enabled spectacles actually happen as soon as….. next year. Conceptually it sounds amazing, however it remains to be seen how mainstream this will become over the next few years. We can’t help thinking that it’s currently a bit ahead of it’s time. We’re also wondering whether it might become a viable “heads-up-display” platform for navigation. It may eventually be useful on-foot, but there’s a long way to go before it can be used safely for in-car guidance.
What do you think? Could wearable GPS glasses be the future for in-car navigation?