The Route 66 Mobile software will seem familiar to most people as it was previously showcased on the TV series the ‘Long Way Down’, which featured Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. However before you could only utilise the software on a 6110 Navigator, but now Route 66 have released this for additional Symbian Smartphones.
The software comes supplied in a DVD case and it contains a quick start guide, Route 66 Sync, Backup-CDROM and the software on a 512MB microSD card (which also has a 3-1 adaptor for miniSD and SD).
Note: The software will not work on all Symbian phones and has been designed for the following devices...
Nokia 6110 Navigator, Nokia E90, Nokia N73, Nokia N82, Nokia N95, Nokia N95GB, Samsung i550 and Samsung i560.
Installation was a piece of cake, simply insert the card into your device, accept the install warning and after you have entered your product activation key you are set to go.
Of course the software is better suited to devices with built in receivers, but the software should function exactly the same if you use a Bluetooth receiver.
A GPRS connection is also recommended – but not required – to access some of Route66 Data services, which we will cover later on.
If you have used Route 66 software on say dedicated GPS receivers you will feel right at home with the mobile version as they have captured the same look and feel.
We tested the software on an N82 so we can’t vouch for the Samsung interface but you will find all the options are kept to a minimum, whilst keyboard shortcuts are available to speed things up.
Route 66 have provided several options for navigating to your chosen destination, you can browse nearby POI, navigate to saved landmarks (in other words favourites), contacts via your address book, addresses (postcodes that sort of thing) and Free Text.
The latter option uses Fuzzy search rules to find destinations and is one of the devices key selling points, as it allows you to type in parts of a location instead of the whole address, so for example you could type in ‘bold road’ and it will go off and search for all logical results.
This works remarkably quickly and is much better suited to the mobile world than its larger dedicated brothers.
Another feature that the software can take advantage of is your data connection.
For example your GPS co-ordinates or current map position can be sent via MMS/SMS and POI can be dialled straight from the interface.
By default you won’t find a safety camera database or traffic options installed, but before the alarm bells start ringing it’s not a major problem to add them. Inside one of the sub-menus you will find the Extras option, here you add the aforementioned items on the fly (but you can also add them via your PC to cut down on the data bill). The cost of the safety camera database is £7.48 and the traffic will cost you £22.52.
From the online store you can even purchase travel guides, weather forecasts, maps, colour schemes and voices.
As mentioned earlier we used a Nokia N82 for our road tests and we found the internal A-GPS receiver more than capable of handling the demands placed by the software.
We must point out that the pack lacks a car cradle, so you will need to add this to the cost of if you want to use the software for in-car navigation.
Initial route calculations were nippy and like most software products you can run through a simulation of your route beforehand using the handy route planner.
The maps themselves were bright (though this is more dependent on your device) and you have the standard 2D and 3D views available, but we found the latter was the preferred choice as it was easier to view the maps on our devices smaller screen.
Thankfully to compensate for your mobiles - potentially smaller screen - you can add a serious of directional aides - which can also be made transparent. With this feature you can gain additional functionality whilst not sacrificing screen space - as the background is still visible underneath.
Unfortunately you don’t get text-to-speech included with the software, but according to our contacts at Route 66 we have been told this will be included in future updates - good stuff.
But on the whole directions were clearly spoken and your routes are helped with different colour coded paths, which help to differentiate your optimal route from normal roads and you also have a handy trip log that records basic info about your current trip.
More impressive was its route-recalculation speed, which was better than we had expected from a mobile and even its choice of routes were efficient.