Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adding maps and custom POI to Garmin-Asus A10 GPS smartphone

Just like all other Garmin GPS devices, Garmin-Asus A10 GPS smartphone also supports multiple map and multiple custom POI file.

You can add maps into this phone by creating a new "Map" folder either in /storage or /sdcard and put the Garmin map with .img extension inside that folder.

Putting the file in /storage will utilize part of the phone's 4GB internal storage, and putting the file in /sdcard will utilize the storage in your micro SD card in the phone.

If the map comes with JCV file, create a "Garmin" folder either in /storage or /sdcard, and then create a "JCV" folder inside your "Garmin" folder, then put the JCV file inside it.

To put the custom Point Of Interest (POI) files into the phone, create a "POI" folder inside your "Garmin" folder and put the custom POI files with .gpi extension inside that folder.

Besides, the maps that preinstalled in the phone are resided in the /storage/.System folder.

When you have multiple maps in the phone, you might want to choose which map to use for your GPS navigation. Here is the place to do the selection: go to Settings > Navigation.

Then tap on the phone's Menu key again to show this pull-up menu.

Select "Map Info" and you will finally reach the place to select/deselect your maps.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Enabling WiFi wireless tethering in Garmin-Asus A10 to share 3G Internet with Samsung Galaxy Tab

I have just mentioned that Garmin-Asus A10 smartphone is a very good companion with Samsung Galaxy Tab. One of the crucial function for this companionship is wireless tethering, which is definitely possible but also not so straightforward.

This is because Garmin-Asus A10 is running on Android 2.1 (Éclair) which doesn't come with tethering feature, and Samsung Galaxy Tab is not able to connect to Adhoc WiFi hotspot (the portable WiFi hotspot running in Android smartphone or iPhone) without some tweaking.

You will need to root both the A10 and Galaxy Tab in order to achieve this. Rooting can be done using DooMLoRD's Easy Rooting Toolkit v4.0.

Once successfully rooted, you can proceed to install Barnacle WiFi Tether from Android Market to enable tethering function in Garmin-Asus A10.

You also need to replace the stock /system/bin/wpa_supplicant file in Galaxy Tab to a patched one to enable it to connect to any Adhoc WiFi hotspot. Here is the detail instruction and here is the wpa_supplicant file suitable for Samsung Galaxy Tab running on Gingerbread.

Now, tethering is ready. You only have to do the above for one time, and can enjoy the tethering function for unlimited times.

To tether the 3G Internet of Garmin-Asus A10 to Samsung Galaxy Tab, run the Barnacle WiFi Tether app in A10 and start the tethering. Then, enable WiFi connection in Galaxy Tab, and you will soon see them associated.

If you have other Android smartphone running on 2.2 (Froyo) and above or Apple iPhone 3Gs and above, you can also tether to Galaxy Tab after replacing the wpa_supplicant file in the Galaxy Tab with the patched one as mentioned above.

Garmin-Asus A10 Android smartphone stock clearance sale (RM5xx) - a good companion for smart tablet

Garmin-Asus A10 Android smartphone is on stock clearance sale nationwide now!

This Android smartphone with Garmin Nuvi 1690 GPS features used to sell above RM1200 for the standard package itself, and now you can get a complete set with all the following items at a price of RM5xx only:

  • The standard package - the phone, indoor charger, USB cable, earphone and battery
  • Car charger and windscreen suction mount cradle
  • A10/M10 desktop battery charger and 1 additional battery
  • A10 anti-fingerprint screen protector
  • 2 years warranty from SiS
This is really a very good deal to buy it as a companion phone for Samsung Galaxy Tab or some other Android smart tablet or Apple iPad, although we know that Garmin and Asus had discontinued their deal in producing future Garmin-Asus smartphone, and the Android in Garmin Asus A10 remains as 2.1 (Éclair) only.

Why? Because firstly, the Garmin-Asus A10 has a built-in Garmin GPS with Nuvi 1690 features, with a very fast responding and good signal reception GPS chip inside (compared with other smartphones with GPS or a-GPS feature). This phone can locate your location within seconds once its GPS feature is turned on!

The "Where To?" and "Where Am I" app are commonly used GPS feature. Beside that, you can also install additional GPS app into the phone, such as Sygic.

Secondly, the Samsung Galaxy Tab is too troublesome to use as a phone. The A10 with small 3.2" screen is nice to carry in your pocket and work as a phone. It has nice speaker that make your ringtone louder than most Android smartphones too.

So, with this companion, you can:
  • Use the A10 as your phone, GPS, calculator, and perhaps basic camera
  • Use the Galaxy Tab for Internet, gaming, reading, and other smartphone functions
In fact, I have found out a way to tether the Internet access of your A10 to Galaxy Tab, so you just need one SIM card with data plan in the A10 for this companionship to work seamlessly.

The pros of A10:
  • Small size, easy to carry in any pocket. Good companion for tablet
  • Superb Garmin GPS function
  • Garmin maps are popular and have worldwide coverage. Free unlimited map update available for MalSingMaps (MSM), MalFreeMaps (MFM), etc. Many custom POIs and travel guides can be downloaded from the Internet too.
  • When attached to its car GPS cradle, incoming phone calls are handled by the loudspeaker on the cradle. You don't need bluetooth or wired headphone for hand-free phone conversation
  • Long lasting 1500mAh battery (can last for more than 30 hours without charging if not using GPS)
  • Built-in 4 GB internal memory, and support additional memory (up to 32 GB) with micro SDHC card
  • Its phone casing and accessories are solid and of good quality, same material with Garmin GPS products. Better protection from scratch and drop.
  • The current cost of RM5xx is competitive to standalone basic GPS device and entry level Android phone. With A10, you get both of them in a single device! In fact, its hardware spec is better than Samsung Galaxy Y S5360 and HTC Explorer.
The cons:
  • The 3.2" screen size with only 320x480 resolution is good enough for GPS and general phone function, but is small for other smartphone functions which you can use the 7" and above Galaxy Tab to handle
  • The 3.2" screen is a bit small when use as GPS in car, but the voice is loud and clear
  • CPU speed at 600Mhz and 512 GB RAM is good enough for GPS and general phone function, but not powerful enough for many apps that need higher resource, which you can use the Galaxy Tab to handle
  • Latest firmware is Android is 2.1 (Éclair) update-1, able to install and run most Android apps in the Market, but lack of new features in Android 2.2 (Froyo), 2.3 (Gingerbread) and above. You will need to root it and install Barnacle Wifi Tether as tethering is only built-in in Android 2.2 onwards

You can consider this phone if you are still using Galaxy Tab as your phone (make this a good companion) or you are considering entry level Android smartphone such as Samsung Galaxy Y S5360, HTC Explorer, etc. At almost the same price, this phone has better hardware specs, Garmin Nuvi 1690 GPS functions, and come together with a lot of accessories.

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