Here's a little bit of update on the upcoming release of Sygic Drive. A couple of days ago I was given access to Sygic's FTP server to download Canada/USA map. I was finally able to take this new software on the road. This is still not the final product, it still is a Beta version.
I'm very much impressed with the fluid movement of the map. While we are used to the once-per-second screen refresh rate of other GPS navigation programs, Sygic Drive refreshes several times per second. I've seen higher refresh rate on some PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices), but this is the first time I see the same on a program running on a PC. Hmm, PC's are more powerful than PNDs, so technically this is easier to achieve on a PC, but since the PND GPS market share is much greater, most of the innovation is first seen there.
The screen refresh rate can be as low as 1 per second, and it can be as high as 5, 6, or 7 times per second. I'm being told it can be even higher, and it just depends on the speed of the PC used.
From the usability perspective I see one issue. I suspect users may find destination entering complicated - at least here in Canada (or at least in and around the Toronto area). It involves too many steps. It involves steps which other GPS solutions don't require of users:
* I have to select "Canada" (I wish the program remembered my earlier selection)
* Then I need to enter "City". (I wish I could search the whole province, without having to enter a particular city name)
* When I enter "Toronto", it then gives me several "Toronto" options (regions - which actually don't make sense, for example "Toronto - Peel Region". Toronto is not in Peel Region. Peel Region is north of Toronto.)
Ideally the program should remember my country. It should ask me my province (Ontario, etc), and then it should remember it. It should give me the option to enter "City", or search "Any" city. This concern was forwarded to Sygic.
While downloading my Canada/USA map, I noticed there were maps available for a few countries even outside Europe and North America. I saw Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Thailand. All these maps will be available for purchase when the final version of Sygic Drive is released. When may that be? The current estimate is end of January/early February 2008.