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MS smart phones gain in-car nav kit

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Navigation software specialist ALK will allow Windows Mobile-based smart phones to be used as in-car map-readers later this month, the company said today.

ALK CoPilot Live for MS smart phonesAnd ALK held out the prospect that it may also support the more popular Symbian smart phone platform next year.

CoPilot Live for mobile phones is essentially a version of ALK's PocketPC navigation software, shoehorned onto a handset. Like CoPilot Live 5, the smart phone edition provides both 2D and 3D route-maps with spoken directions for in-motion navigation.

The software's maps - provided by Navteq - are bang up to date, ALK claimed, and for British drivers included the location of speed cameras and London's congestion charge zone, providing warnings on their approach and the ability to determine routes that bypass them.

The code can make full use of the handset's GPRS connectivity to receive traffic incident data and to send out up-to-the-minute location information. The latter is pitched primarily at fleet managers, but ALK stressed the consumer applications, such as text messages to inform relatives, colleagues etc. that you'll be late.

ALK CoPilot Live for MS smart phonesCoPilot Live will ship in a couple of weeks' time, ALK said, through its network of resellers as standalone software (from £150) or with the company's own Bluetooth-enabled GPS receiver (from £299). ALK representatives said the company was currently approaching both mobile phone retailers and network providers to take the kit on.

The navigation software and maps ship on a 128MB Mini SD card with an SD card adaptor, freeing users from the need to sync up the handset with a PC. If you want to use the Bluetooth receiver, you'll need a Bluetooth-equipped handset.

Support for Symbian-based smart phones is in the works, we understand, but its release is some way off - well into 2005. ®

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