John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Copilot live for Android mini review

I’ve used a number of phone based GPS programs and love them. They have their pluses and minues when compared to dedicated GPS devices. The plus of a dedicated GPS device is it is single purpose. They just do their thing. They don’t interfere with playing music, are always available, don’t interfere with incoming calls etc. On the negative side they are a disconnected device. So you have the following minuses:

  • no ability to update maps/POIs (some can but charge for it and can’t be done on the fly)
  • no ability to update the program itself
  • no access to online services like real time traffic data, construction, accidents etc
  • no access to your contact list

I’ve always liked having a GPS program to go along with my phone. It’s always with you. I’ve used a couple of different ones, TomTom, iGo to mention a few. They are all generally heavy on the device in terms of memory, processor and battery usage. I’ve always heard about CoPilot but never had the chance to play. Now on my Android G1 I managed to snag a copy. You can download the ap over the marketplace and then download the maps online or on your PC. This is a nice feature.

There are a number of GPS programs for the iPhone but I was always underwhelmed by the performance of the iPhone’s GPS so never bothered. The fact that the TomTom iPhone mount is designed to “enhance” iPhone’s GPS tells me I am not the only one that finds it lacking.

Online content

CoPilot includes the ability to download real time data like traffic, accidents etc online. A nice feature for sure. No idea how current this data is but it seems to work well. You can also download the weather but this seems like a useless add to the program.

Turn by Turn

The program includes turn by turn direction that is reasonably fast at bringing up your path, but I am not sure I can imagine how many minutes it would take to figure out a long route. The program includes voice commands to tell you when and which direction to turn but does not have any announcement of where you are turning onto (the name of the street).

Dynamic map support

The program does not have dynamic zoom in or out or dynamic warning times based on speed. Something TomTom and iGo both have.


The program includes it’s own set of audio setting for volume and for some reason even ignores when the phone is on mute. A poor choice.

HUGE amounts of memory

This program is a bruiser. It takes about 30MB free on your phone to install. I had to uninstall a lot of stuff to get this ap on. Once in it only takes just under 15MB from your phone’s storage. The maps are stored on the SD card and the one for North America is roughly 1G and the one for Ontario is 40MB.

Contacts/POIs etc

The program has it’s own POIs (points of interest) and you can add your own pretty easily by converting them to OV2 files. “You can download any OV2 file format add-on POI from the internet and integrate these into your device by copying the BMP and OV2 files into the \CoPilot\Save folder and launching CoPilot to integrate them.”

At this time the Android version does not support navigating to contacts, a MAJOR miss as far as I am concerned.

Navigating and then have to do something

One of the things you need to deal with in an all in one device (rather than a dedicated device) is that you may need to do something. Change a song, look at and email, take a call etc. On CoPilot the program literally shuts down (not suspends) lets you go do your thing and then you have to restart it. It does pick up where you left off but has to recalculate the route each and every time. Very annoying and hard on the patience.

Home and work locations

CoPilot allows you set your home and work location. Handy so you can just say go home. Strangely enough the only way to set these is to type in the address. No way to say use current GPS for that. Odd. Your current location can be added to favorites which is nice.

Live Link

If you have other friends with Copilot on their phones you can share you location with them. Kind of a GPS MSN.

Location sharing

You can share your location with someone from within the ap, but only by SMS. Others allow you to email them. A little odd and another miss.


If your pictures have Geotagging on them the program allows you to navigate to the location the picture was taken. A little bit of an odd function.

Updating CoPilot

CoPilot can be updated from the market place or directly from within the program, over the air. A nice feature!

Overall impressions

Overall this is a good program, but not a great one. There are some major misses for me as mentioned above. The hardware worked well (the G1 GPS and screen). The menus are simple to navigate and relatively self explanatory. If I would compare this to TomTom I prefer the way TomTom worked on Windows mobile. Not sure I will continue to dedicate the precious 15MB of phone space rather than use my dedicated GPS device.


December 7, 2009 - Posted by | Android, GPS Stuff, Uncategorized

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