Feeds
75%

Asus MyPal A636 GPS PDA

Neither fish nor fowl?

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Review Low-end GPS satellite navigation systems fall into two categories: PDAs with bundled route-planning kit, and dedicated navigation devices. Asus' MyPal A636 falls between the two: it's a Windows Mobile 5.0 device, incorporating Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so it has all the hallmarks of an up-to-date PDA. But the hardware has clearly been designed with GPS in mind rather than accessing personal information, so it looks like a dedicated unit.

Asus MyPal A636 GPS PDA

Out of the box, the A636 makes for a chunky PDA. It's not large but it is thicker than many PocketPCs I've looked at. It has a solid feel. Nor is it unattractive to look at. The thickness arises from the fold-out 5 x 5cm GPS antenna, which also swivels so you can always get it facing skywards in whatever orientation you hold the machine. Stowed, the antenna is almost flush with the back of the device, so it fits smoothly into pockets and cases.

Below the GPS antenna is the battery cover protecting the removable 3.7V, 1300mAh power cell. The left-hand side of the A636 is bare but for an infra-red port - the right-hand side is entirely feature-free. The top of the unit sports a recessed power key and, despite the PDA's girth, a slot for an SD IO card rather than the CompactFlash slot you might expect it to sport. The unit's base has a rubber bung-covered headphone socket, a proprietary power and data connector, and a reset button.

The front of the unit is dominated by the 3.5in, 240 x 320, 65,536-colour LCD above three circles - respectively a speaker grille, a five-way navigation control and a circularly arranged array of four application buttons. The layout, while not unattractive, is about as far from the PDA 'standard' as you get, and far more like the multi-button control array sported by dedicated GPS systems like the Bluemedia BM6830. Indeed, the icons on the controls are all oriented along the device's major axis, inviting you to hold the unit not like a PDA but in landscape mode, like a dedicated GPS device.

As I said, though, this is a fully-featured Windows Mobile machine, with Bluetooth 1.2 to allow it to be connected wirelessly to a mobile phone, and 802.11b Wi-Fi for broadband links. Both wireless systems are activated by taskbar icons on the Today screen. After activating the Wi-Fi adaptor, you can use Asus' own Wi-Fi Manager utility to scan for hotspots and connect to them. I had no trouble talking to the office's WEP-shielded base-station.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.