As I have been spending a lot of time in stores of late for the holiday shopping season, the stores abound with all kinds of nifty new widgets and gizmos- one of which is the dashtop moving-map GPS units. These, along with MP3 players still have me puzzled.
I've been a user of PDAs going back to around 1998, where I had an NEC MobilePro 400 running Windows CE. I still have the MobilePro, and loved the wide screen and Pocket Excel and Word, along with the fact that it could take standard AA batteries.
A couple of years later, I got a Philips Nino 510, one of the first Windows CE-based units to come out with a color screen. The trusty Nino lasted me almost 5 years before one fall too many finally caused the screen to go. In fact, though I am hardly a trendsetter, I had been enjoying MP3s and other modern pleasures with my Nino for years before the iPod craze even caught on.
I now run an HP iPAQ rx3115, with integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, to serve a wide variety of everyday tasks, including mapping. We have also recently developed an application based on the EPA EnviroMapper family optimized for handheld PDAs, which uses ASP.NET, ArcIMS, ArcWeb Services for base mapping and geocoding, GlobeXplorer imagery, and the EPA EnviroFacts database for facilities data. One of the things that comes to mind is integration of GPS into this type of application.
With the advent of Bluetooth and other technologies, it becomes a no-brainer to integrate GPS into mobile applications. This returns to the original question- the fancy dashtop GPS units selling for $900 at Best Buy and all of those favorite technology haunts. For just over a third of that price, one can equip ones self with a nice PDA, a bluetooth GPS unit and software, and perhaps even an FM transmitter and have a rig that will suit your vehicle for navigation and MP3 entertainment needs, as well as all of the other niceties that a modern PDA provides- email, contacts, calendars, to-do, calculator, Excel, Word, voice recorder, et cetera. For a guy like me who spends many hours on the road (even my regular four-hour ride from Northeastern Pennsylvania to Washington, DC alone).
As a little aside, I am a direct descendant of the man after whom Bluetooth is named- King Harald Blåtand (AD 911-987), son of Gorm the Old. Harald, also known as King Harald I, united Denmark and Norway. Bluetooth technology, spearheaded by several Scandinavian firms, is in turn viewed as a uniter, much as King Harald was. Incidentally, Harald didn't actually have blue teeth, but was indeed rumored to have an affinity for blueberries.
.net, .NET Compact Framework, applications, arcims, arcweb, asp.net, bluetooth, Denmark, developer, dotnet, epa, esri, esri developer network, geo, geography, geospatial, gis, gps, history, holiday, map, mapping, microsoft, mobile, mp3, msdn, Norway, pda, pennsylvania, pocketpc, programming, remote sensing, software, tools, web services, webmapping, Windows CE, windows mobile, wireless