March 4, 2007

Nokia’s smart2go – looks promising but not yet ready for the wild

Posted in Articles at 9:13 pm by siddey

The announcement last month that Nokia was releasing a free mapping application called smart2go for users of Nokia and Windows Mobile 5.0 smartphones was great news. What was even more exciting was realising that there were Australian maps available for download. The technology was purchased by Nokia from a German company called Gate5.

Unfortunately the excitement has stopped there for now. Nokia has taken the google-style beta release approach one step further and released software that is embarrassingly buggy.

I installed and ran the software only to realise that it did not recognise the built-in GPS in my ipaq hw6965.
It was also apparent that their standalone maploader application (used for downloading maps offline instead of via your mobile carrier) was just as buggy. It took a few attempts to commence downloading the Australian maps, which for some reason only downloaded at about the same rate as dial-up (some achievement given I’m on ADSL2). Five hours later the 56Mb download completed.

As I had selected the option to save maps directly to the mini-sd I use in my ipaq, I was hoping that I would still be able to play with the application after bypassing the search for a bluetooth GPS (which seems to be a default start-up function that can’t be turned off).

No such luck, I’m afraid! After pressing cancel a few times to stop the bluetooth search and entering the main screen, I was unable to bring up any locations using the search interface provided. For some reason it appears as though the Australian maps were not registered.

I’ve fired off some feedback to the smart2go.com website and hopefully we’ll see a slightly more rewarding beta release sometime soon.

I will then provide some commentary and screenshots of what should be a groundbreaking move for Nokia in 2007.

Update 08/04/2007: Just to check that I wasn’t being unnecessarily critical, I uninstalled and re-installed the application (including the maps downloaded onto my SD card). I started the application and entered “Sydney” in the location search screen and it worked. Manually scrolling the map seemed ok, however, searches for suburbs or street addresses would always return zero results (even though I could manually traverse the maps and eventually find the locations I had tried to search for). The graphics do render nicely and overall the application looks nice, however, it isn’t usable in its currently crippled form. Basically it’s a buggy application that really isn’t going to excite anyone in Australia just yet (or anyone with in-built mobile GPS Receivers).