Navigating with HTC Locations
When I bought my latest smartphone, HTC Desire HD, a navigation software called HTC Locations was preinstalled. HTC Locations is a product by HTC but navigation and maps is powered by the well known Route 66.
It is free to download maps but to be able to navigate in an area you must buy a navigation license. Additinally you can also buy license for traffic information and speed cameras. The navition for Scandinavia came with a 30 day free trial. After a bit of testing I decided to buy navigation for entire Europe, life time updates. It is a big plus that all maps are on the SD memory so you don’t need a data connection to use it.
After a couple of months of use there are some issues with the software (which I have reported to HTC).
- A feature I miss from other navigators is to set a town centre as destination. If you are going to a large city for example, you might not know a street name you want to go to. You just want to get into the city centre. This is not possible in HTC Locations. You must enter a street as your destination. Picking one at random and your target is a larger city, you risk ending up in some suburb.
- I bought the navigation license with my Swedish SIM in the phone. On a trip to Italy I put an Italian SIM in the phone. Doing this the navigation did not work unless I put my Swedish SIM back in. HTC has not yet responded to my question about this.
- On a trip in Italy from Bergamo to Tortona the route goes by Milan which is a major city. Milan has a circular motorway surrounding the city ("tangenziale") in order to lead traffic outside the city centre. HTC Locations however, routed me straight through the city centre. Worse is that in larger cities in Italy they have ECO-zones. Without a permit you will get a fine if you drive into an ECO-zone. The streets are monitored by video cameras and fines are sent to you by mail, even to foreigners. HTC Locations tried to lead us straight through the Milan ECO-zone. Luckily enough I spotted the ECO-zone signs so I manually could avoid it. A couple of days later a similar thing happened in Torino where the navigator tried to lead us through a traffic limitation zone (ZTL, zona traffico limitate) even though our destination address was outside the ZTL.
- When going from Münich in Germany to Venice in Italy HTC Locations routed us through the alps on small, beautiful roads. The trip took several hours longer than calculated because the calculations are probably based on the speed limit of the road. Even though the limit is 80 km/h it is impossible to keep that speed on narrow serpentine roads. The roads should probably be encoded with lower speeds so the navigator will make the route on larger roads.
- Several times when waiting for a red light the HTC connected to an open Wifi hotspot. When doing so the navigator exited the map mode to the menu, loosing the destination. I quickly had to reselect the destination from the history to contine the navigation. Once it had found my position and recalculated the route to the destination, the red had turned to green and the Italians behind had started honking their horns a long time ago.
Apart from that I think the navigation works well and it is very practical to have a good navigator in your phone. To be able to use it as a navigator (opposed to buying a separate product) you will need a car mount and a car charger.