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Using GPS With What You've Got

Palm's GPS Navigator kit turns a Treo 650 into a great travel assistant.
Palm's GPS Navigator kit turns a Treo 650 into a great travel assistant.
With cell phones, personal digital assistants, and digital music players already cluttering your pockets or purse, adding a portable GPS may seem like inviting device overload. But you might not need a new gadget.

If you own a Windows Mobile- or Palm-based handheld (or a PDA-phone hybrid such as a Treo), you can buy kits such as Delorme's Earthmate GPS Blue Logger, Palm's GPS Navigator, Pharos's Pocket GPS Navigator, or TomTom's Navigator 5, which include mapping software and a Bluetooth GPS receiver, for $150 to $300. A cheaper option for Windows Mobile PDAs with a CompactFlash slot is Pharos's $140 Pocket GPS Receiver.

Garmin, Hewlett-Packard, and Pharos also have PDAs with built-in GPS that generally go for $425 to $600 (less for models without mapping software--but then you'll want to buy your own). Garmin's iQue line includes Windows Mobile and Palm OS models; HP and Pharos offer only Windows Mobile-based PDAs.

Map 'n' Phone

Given how many cell phones have integrated music players and cameras, you'd think that more of them would come with built-in GPS receivers. If you own one of the few that have GPS, you typically must pay a subscription fee to access mapping data from a server, and frequent map and direction downloads could eat into your airtime minutes.

Verizon, for example, charges $10 a month for its VS Navigator application-and-phone (Motorola V325) combo.

For outdoorsy people, Nextel's GPS-equipped BlackBerry (7520 or 7100i) and Trimble Navigation's Trimble Outdoors service provide street maps and topographical charts. (Trimble's site lists other GPS-equipped phones the service supports.)

Sprint customers with selected Sanyo phones and Garmin's free Mobile Manager application can pay $10 a month to download turn-by-turn voice directions (text costs less). Cingular supports iPaq models hw6510 and hw6515, Windows Mobile PDA-phone hybrids with integrated GPS receivers; however, you must buy mapping software separately.

At a Glance
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