Bluetooth GPS receiver support
  • Since the demise of Symbian OS, the ability for native use of external GPS receivers has vanished from the operating systems (not sure about iOS), so it cannot be used by the applications, and in some cases it is very needed. These cases include bad weather or terrain conditions where external, more sensitive GPS unit would perform far better than the one built in in the most (and especially cheaper devices). However with both Android and Windows Phone, such units are practically unusable. Android has a form of hack-ish solution by enabling mock gps data in the developer menu and using a software that would feed the real data through the mock data ability, but still this is not an every-user solution.

    Because external GPS receivers are not supported on OS level each app needs its own support of this functionality and so far I saw none of the major apps to support it. Everyone relies on the location API of the OS. In my view adding such support would not be that complicated and most of the external receivers communicate in standardized way by using NMEA standard for the data transmitted, which is quite plain, well documented and does not require any complex processing.

    Not to mention the impact on battery life of the device when you have your OS location services disabled and still be able to use navigation software.
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  • on Android you can use BluetoothGPS from Google Play
  • Sure, but you still need to enable Developer Mode, enable mock location, etc, so you can use it with other apps. Not quite the out-of-the-box functionality.

    And as for me personally I am more interested in this for Windows Phone, because most of the phones easily lose satellite lock in rainy weather and keeping location services enabled and in active use drains battery far too fast making devices more warm than comfortable. Using a sensitive external receiver for people who travel often on car and on foot is a good option to have.
  • I do not have to enable anything, it works straight off

    I have no knowledge of WP and bluetooth, may be somone else can explain it
  • Windows Phone API is not as rich as Android API and it doesn't support background service providing GPS to other application. On Windows tablet it is possible - there is possible to run desktop app which provide BT GPS for Metro applications.
  • Windows tablet it is running actually a desktop windows, not windows phone, so you can use all kinds of apps available on the web.. Windows Phone however due to it's security limitations is completely another matter, so such a support should be provided by the app itself.. There are apps that can use bluetooth GPS device and show your position on google map, but that is all they do.

    Basically for bluetooth GPS you have to pair them with the phone and then when you access the data they are sending NMEA formatted strings containing location data, time, etc, etc.

    Anyway it seems that it would be too much work to implement this just for the sake of not that big amount of WP users that would go the length of using an external GPS receiver with their phone, though it has its fair share of uses. If some wonder happens, Microsoft might decide to include such support in WP 10, which is due to be released in a couple of months. However I don't find it very likely.

    Still MapFactor is a great piece of software. Easily one of the best navigation choices for WP8

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