1. jalan#WP's Avatar
    I wanted to provide some feedback to the group based on my personal experiences with CoPilot Live v8 on Windows Mobile in the US. I have used the app for thousands of drive miles since its initial release. I also subscribe to the Live feature set which includes live search, gas prices, traffic and weather.

    My opinion of this app started very, very high. Over time, it has lessened the more I've used it. However, it is still the app that I use. I keep my Garmin 885t at home for business trips for now. I can trust CPL for most of my needs and continue to use it as my solution of choice. However, this has a lot to do with the fact that it runs on my smartphone. It is "good enough" that the benefit of carrying a single device outweighs the limitations of the product.

    The UI is just superb. It is really good. I can do almost everything with my finger. The app looks very, very nice also. The maps are not as visually detailed as Navteq on a Garmin (for examples, you don't see bodies of water colored blue), but the app still looks good.

    There are a ton of customizable choices. You can set route profiles that allow you to assign your own speed classes for roads. You can set preferences or avoid types of roads. You can plan trips in the software and save those routes. You can create vias in your route. You can detour by removing specific road segments. And the best thing (for me) is that you can import OV2 formatted custom POI files, including proximity alert files. I keep all of my POI's in Google Maps MyMaps. I use TakItWithMe to convert my Google MyMaps to GPX, then convert the GPX file to an OV2 and import it into CPL. I wish CPL would just use the smartphone data connection to subscribe to GeoRSS feeds (ala Dash Navigation) so that I could just subscribe in real time to my Google MyMaps, but no dice on that.

    With all of these great features, CPL is still just "OK" for me. For one, the maps are not good. They are old. They contain errors that Navteq fixed over a year ago at least. ALK does have a 45-day MapSure commitment on their website. It states that if you submit map errors to them, they will research and correct the map within 45 days. There have been monthly 1.0 GB updates each month from ALK, as well as some in-app map maintenance updates. However, non of them have fixed 6 updates that I submitted to ALK on November 24, 2009. Another customer says (on Facebook) that his errors submitted on November 9, 2009 also aren't addressed. As I compare my 6 submitted errors, Navteq, TeleAtlas, Google Maps and Rand McNally all have the error correct. ALK trails them all. The maps aren't good and ALK is currently not living up to its 45-day update commitment. ALK, on it's Facebook page, is also not responding to customers asking about why the 45-day update commitment isn't being met.

    That brings me to the second issue with ALK that makes this app less than desirable. Many of the features advertised for the product remain vaporware, long past the deadline quoted by ALK. Now, lets be clear. These features are an additional cost. So, it isn't that we paid for the feature and didn't get it. We haven't paid for it yet. However, customers do make purchase decisions based on the features that are advertised as available or "coming soon." Many customers complained about the availability of the Live Services package. Live services was advertised as "coming soon" when the app was first released. In the US, it ended up being over 3 months before it was released. Live Search is great. I love it. Live Traffic, however, is a disaster in its implementation.

    The data comes from Inrix and I've found the data to be fantastic. It appears to be Inrix's complete feed: all markets and all primary and secondary roads in those markets. I can't think of any other GPS app or PND in the US that has all of the Inrix feed. The problem is what CPL does (or doesn't do) with the traffic feed data. The CPL app DOES NOT take the traffic information available in its own app, into account when calculating a route or displaying the ETA! The app shows you traffic on your route, representing it by a nice bar on the right hand side of the screen that represents each incident on your route and the distance the incident is from you. You can click on any of the incident icons and read the text data for the incident from Inrix. The incidents are even color coded for their severity. For example, you can click on the red traffic icon and see that the flow on the 101 in San Jose is 25 / mph. However, CPL doesn't take that 25 mph flow rate and adjust the ETA. The ETA remains like the app doesn't know a thing about traffic. You can detour around the traffic, but it does you no good. The app doesn't take known traffic into account on the suggested route either, so you have no idea whether the alternate route is better or not. It only shows you the difference in miles and time as is you were driving the speed limits. This implementation of traffic is inexcusable and ALK should be embarrassed by it.

    ALK advertised Text-To-Speech and Voice Command as features "coming soon" when the app was released. Later last year, they changed the delivery time to "Q4 2009." Their website, today, STILL says "Q4 2009" for the delivery. Three weeks ago, ALK, on their Facebook page said that TTS was "imminent." It is still not available. Voice Command hasn't even been mentioned by ALK, despite their webpage still showing it as coming Q4 2009.

    So, what I'd say is that we have an app that has the best UI I've used. It has lots of great features. It has many customizable options. It has the best traffic data feed I've seen. However, ALK's maps are poor and they aren't living up to their 45-day update commitment. Their traffic implementation is a total waste of the great data feed they have. And they haven't delivered on promised time frames for new features.

    The app has a ton of potential that it isn't currently living up to.
    01-26-2010 08:25 PM
  2. jalan#WP's Avatar
    Just wanted to further follow up on my experiences with ALK. ALK's main place of interaction with customers is Facebook. My post above does contain some criticism of ALK's product. It also contains some praise. I, and others, have been posting to ALK's Facebook page, airing the same complaints that are aired above. Today, I find that I have been banned from ALK's Facebook page. Just a heads up if you are considering this product, the type of people you are dealing with. Apparently they find it best to try to silence their critics rather than address their complaints.
    02-05-2010 07:19 AM
  3. jalan#WP's Avatar
    Last night, ALK released TTS in the US for Windows Mobile. They ended up providing it for free, which was a nice surprise. In a few tests today, it seems to work pretty well. The voices are a little more robotic than their non-TTS voices, but for free, I can't complain about that.

    They also released a new map update. I find improvements in the map in my area, some of which are things that I submitted. Don't know if it is a direct result of them responding to submissions, or if it is just part of the evolutionary map update process. Either way, I am pleased with that update as well.
    02-06-2010 10:59 AM