HTC Shift X9501 software update to enable GPS through Telenav in SnapVUE

Htc_shift_x9501

There’s been a bit of confusion about whether or not the HTC Shift actually has functional GPS housed in it, particularly after the curious listing found at eXpansys last week, so I’d like to take a moment now to break it all down and clarify what’s going on.

I’m not sure about the X9000 (CDMA version), but the X9500 (GSM version) has always had GPS on the Qualcomm chipset used to run the SnapVUE/Windows Mobile side of things. The GPS module was discovered by xda-developers a long time ago, but as of today, cooked ROMs with GPS drivers that would allow the module to actually be used are still not available. GPS has been successfully enabled in the past, but not to the extent where Shift owners are swarming the boards to turn their devices into in-car navigation systems.

But even when/if this becomes possible, the hacking method would hardly be sanctioned by HTC and GPS still wouldn’t work out of the box.

That’s where the HTC Shift X9501 comes in. It was announced by Rogers Wireless, a carrier in Canada, last month but was largely ignored (presumably because most people just thought the story was that the Shift could now be purchased in Canada, which is great news for Canadians but not exactly ground-breaking for others). What those of us who glossed over the press release missed, however, was this important detail:

Additionally, Rogers and HTC will deliver a software update to customers within three months, which will enable GPS connectivity and robust map and navigation capabilities through TeleNav.

This is in keeping with what HTC told eXpansys after last week’s confusion:

The UMTS units DO have GPS.  BUT – GPS ONLY works for TeleNav in SnapVUE.  GPS does NOT work in Vista. The UMTS devices (X9501) are the only devices in the world with GPS enabled in SnapVUE.

The GPS capability of the X9501 is also listed on the specs sheet (PDF) available on the Switch Off, Stay Connected official Shift website:

X9501_telenav

X9501_turnbyturn

Whether a GPS module actually exists in the X9000, it seems clear from its specs sheet (PDF) that a software update will not be issued to enable it.

The lingering question in my mind is whether the update will be available for the X9500 (the version I have). And has the X9500 been replaced by the X9501? Only the X9000 and X9501 are listed on the Switch Off, Stay Connected website.

If you’re enticed by the GPS update and want to be sure it becomes available to you, eXpansys is selling the X9501 now for $1565.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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