Use your wi-fi Android tablet to navigate

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I wouldn’t worry too much if I were Garmin or TomTom. Even though it might not be the best option, you can use your Morola XOOM (any Android tablet) to provide turn by turn directions (if Google Maps is offered in your country) without a data connection. Basically, Google Maps uses locally stored data to provide navigation on your phone/tablets. The data is stored on your tablet, and when combined with the GPS information (built in), you get turn by turn directions.  Don’t believe me? I’ll tell you how it works.

Again, you might not want to hook up your 10″ tablet in your car for this but if you need to get somewhere quick, it’s there for ya. Wanting to provide more information for their users, years ago Google launched Google Maps for mobile use. They used a combination of GPS sensors in smartphones, and cellular tower positioning to provide directions and traffic alerts. Its been a fantastic free service offered by the company. One of the big questions brought forth was what they heck happens if you lose network coverage? No data, no service right?

Wrong.  According to Google, “If you’re driving in an area with spotty or no data connectivity, you’ll still be able to use Google Maps Navigation (Beta) through the use of pre-fetched map data. Pre-fetched map data for your route is passively downloaded and stored locally on your device, and Google Maps Navigation (Beta) will rely on this data when your device loses its data connection….Navigation and voice guidance will continue as long as you do not deviate from your prescribed route, but underlying map tiles may not load….If you deviate from your route, you will not receive a reroute until you re-establish a data connection.”

So there you have it. It works as long as you download the data before you leave your connection. No worries if you have a 3G/4G XOOM, your network coverage should be fine depending on your area. But for you wi-fi XOOM owners (and general Android owners), you can still get most of the same accomplished. I took a little trip using the data down to the local Starbucks the other day, and it worked like a charm. Turn by Turn voice navigation from my wi-fi device, with no connection whatsoever. I even preferred it(Google Maps) over my SUV’s factory navigation by far.

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Allen Schmidt

Allen is a former contributing editor at Nothing But Tablets, which was merged with Pocketables in 2012.

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