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ollave

Huawei Sonic (Android) plus Holux M-241

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Hi all,

 

Huawei Sonic (Android) plus Holux M-241

Initial success report

 

Having read (somewhere, in an older thread) about using an external GPSr logger with an Android based smart phone, I thought I'd report that this combination appears to be working well for me (caveat: only one day's testing so far) and gives me access to a high sensitivity GPSr while still using my phone and c:geo, without switching to a dedicated GPSr at ground zero.

 

Some notes:

 

1. I'm in Australia. The phone may not be 100% identical in other markets.

 

2. The documentation makes no mention either way about Bluetooth SPP (the protocol by which it talks to the logger). I took the phone into the shop to test with the logger I proposed to buy. After rebooting the phone to get application downloads to work again (this is a "cheap and cheerful" phone, not an iPhone), the phone and logger paired and worked immediately.

 

3. I am using c:geo (with its recommended additional applications) and "Bluetooth GPS" to provide the interface to the logger

 

4. I found two nearby caches quickly first try each. Nice. :)

 

Pros:

 

a) it's a smart phone: OK, a cheap and cheerful smart phone, but gives me mobile online internet, paperless geocaching, and [untested by me] 3G tethering for my laptop.

 

B) Android/Google permit loading "unapproved" applications, unlike the iPhone/Apple alternative; an important philosophical point for me, but irrelevant to many, I appreciate

 

c) Cheap. AUD$188 v. ~AUD$1000 (outright, not on contract) for a loaded up iPhone

 

d) Fast. Not having used a modern high sensitivity GPSr (my previous, now backup is a Geko 201) the speed of locating satellites is amazing.

 

Cons:

 

a) fragile compared to a dedicated GPSr (I dropped the phone yesterday; the back came off. No damage other than some cosmetic only scratches, but my Geko 201 would have hardly noticed -- it's been dropped more than once)

 

B) quality maps such as are available for mapping GPSrs not available [so far as I know]: I'm stuck with Google maps and similar free sources

 

c) the phone doesn't cover all frequencies used in Australia: specifically, it doesn't have the right frequencies for Telstra's NextG network, so I'm stuck with other providers (Optus through a reseller). 3G coverage is ... sporadic, even in Melbourne, so things aren't always speedy for downloads. Pre-loading caches for outside the metropolitan area seems like a good idea. (There's a Firefox addon or extension that talks to c:geo, and works.)

 

d) the phone has "only" 256MB of memory, unlike an iPhone which can go up to 1GB(?)

 

e) two devices to carry: the phone and the GPSr logger (which fits in a pants pocket, or can be worn on a lanyard -- no big deal, for me)

 

Final information for the archives:

 

Android version: 2.3.3

Baseband version: 60501009

Kernel version: 2.6.35.7-perf android@localhost #1

Build number: U8650V100R001C27B823SP03

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Hi all,

 

Huawei Sonic (Android) plus Holux M-241

Initial success report

 

...

Well, the Holux M-241 died on geocaching day #9. An intermittent fault developed where it would seemingly power down (no Bluetooth GPS updates, nothing on the LCD). Turn the power switch off and on and it started as if it had truly been powered down: the time to acquiring satellites was as expected for a cold start.

 

Back to the shop (Johnny Appleseed, Melbourne, Australia). Most unhelpful: wanted to call it a user error as (in the nature of intermittent faults) it didn't show immediately in the shop. (OK, one of the employees seemed a little more ... dubious about that conclusion, but not enough to override the person I was dealing with.)

 

Their plan was to keep the unit for a couple of days and "thoroughly" test it. How you do that in a shop (sit it in the window?). Hardly matches hiking around or even driving over speed bumps, and if the power connection to the battery (my #1 suspicion) was in fact the culprit I'd expect the unit to work just fine in the shop for any number of days.

 

After I indicated some reservations about this "testing" I was asked what I wanted. So I asked for -- and received -- a refund. I found it curious that no replacement was considered, nor was a credit toward a different unit. My policy with businesses that don't want my custom however is to go away quietly, so I took my refund and left.

 

It will take considerable persuasion for me to consider Holux or Johnny Appleseed GPS again. I suspect I got a dud unit from Holux, but how do I tell?

 

Disclaimer: I've spent a lot of time in customer service, and understand just how difficult intermittent problems are. "The black smoke escaped" and "the manufacturer has a recall" are both easy; nevertheless hard problems have to be dealt with too.

 

I still like the concept and I'll probably buy another Bluetooth logger to use with my Android phone. In the mean time I'm back to using the phone for "what caches are nearby?", cache descriptions, and sometimes immediate logging, and my old reliable Geko 201 (with some caches preloaded if I know where I'm going) to actually find things.

 

The phone's GPSr is good enough for maps, but it can unpredictably be 20m (or sometimes more) off which can make finding caches slow and difficult.

Edited by ollave

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Look at the Qstarz BT-Q818XT as a replacement for the Holux. I have one and am extremely happy with it.

Thanks -- that's the one I first heard about, and the one I'm looking at getting now.

 

It was because I wasn't sure whether or not my phone had Bluetooth SPP implemented that I wanted to test before I purchased, without worries about return shipping, restocking fees and whatnot. Bluetooth SPP is a standard part of Android but as my phone's (poor!) manual didn't mention it, I wondered if it had been disabled for some reason. Answer: no, it's there, and works.

 

Thanks once more for the recommendation.

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I use it with the free "Bluetooth GPS" app from the android market:

 

https://market.android.com/details?id=googoo.android.btgps&feature=search_result

 

It interfaces the BT GPS to the apps on the phone using something called the "mock provider" interface. In effect, it pretends to be your phone's internal GPS and when an app needs GPS it will use your BT one instead of the internal. A side benefit of this is drastically decreased phone battery consumption, because the internal GPS is a major battery hog. The Qstarz will last up to 42 hours on a single charge of its internal lithium battery pack.

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I use it with the free "Bluetooth GPS" app from the android market:

 

https://market.android.com/details?id=googoo.android.btgps&feature=search_result

 

It interfaces the BT GPS to the apps on the phone using something called the "mock provider" interface. In effect, it pretends to be your phone's internal GPS and when an app needs GPS it will use your BT one instead of the internal. A side benefit of this is drastically decreased phone battery consumption, because the internal GPS is a major battery hog. The Qstarz will last up to 42 hours on a single charge of its internal lithium battery pack.

Yes, I use/used that/will use it again, but it relies upon Bluetooth SPP being present in the phone. Which mine does and all Android phones _should_, but manufacturers are odd ...

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Do they make otterboxes for your phone..... that would keep it from getting scratched and banged up.

It's a relatively new phone, so very few accessories, if any. But at $188 (AUD$, approximately the same in USD$ except that this model isn't sold there) ... who cares? The phone's lithium-ion battery will wear out in a year or three and it will be time to update again. I figure phones are likely to be lost or broken (I've had more than one only work held together by tape after being dropped) so I avoid expensive ones.

 

Digital SLRs and notebook computers I try _very_ hard not to drop. :)

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Do they make otterboxes for your phone..... that would keep it from getting scratched and banged up.

It's a relatively new phone, so very few accessories, if any. But at $188 (AUD$, approximately the same in USD$ except that this model isn't sold there) ... who cares? The phone's lithium-ion battery will wear out in a year or three and it will be time to update again. I figure phones are likely to be lost or broken (I've had more than one only work held together by tape after being dropped) so I avoid expensive ones.

 

Digital SLRs and notebook computers I try _very_ hard not to drop. :)

 

I have a friend that had an otterbox on his iPhone 3gs..... it got ran over by a truck and still worked. Those cases are tough.

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I have an Otterbox Defender on my HTC Inspire 4G. Some of the videos on youtube about that case are impressive. There is one where a guy with an iphone in one turns on the video camera and then tosses it off a 22 story balcony. The video twists around and swoosh-swoosh-swooshes and then it hits the cement... laying on its back, it's looking back up at the guy who threw it and still working.

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Look at the Qstarz BT-Q818XT as a replacement for the Holux. I have one and am extremely happy with it.

Confirm. Lovely unit.

 

Plus I've learned there is some equivalent Nokia battery, so even when the Li-ion battery gets old the unit may not have to be trashed. (I don't have the battery details: anyone interested feel free to email me (I think you can do that from here? If not giles.lean at pobox dot com) and I'll ask my brother in law, who told me.

 

My brother in law has mostly stopped geocaching, but runs Qstarz GPSr loggers for the entire length of the photographic trips that he runs, whether or not he's got a convenient full time power supply, thus his investigation of batteries and chargers. He prefers units with more memory than the BT-Q818XT, but that's just because he wants to be able to store weeks of data. For geocaching, not important.

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About mapping, dude, try Oruxmaps. Just search for it in the market, there's a website too http://www.oruxmaps.com/index_en.html

 

It is completely free, and it offers you plenty of choices of maps that you can download for OFFLINE use also, straight from the phone. Moreover, if you're geeky enough you can add custom map sources (WMS services) to the provided ones!

 

If you care I am going to make a video to demonstrate how to use it.

The new oruxmaps BETA (not in the market, but you can download it from the websites) integrates quite well with c:geo also.

 

Give it a try!

 

(By the way, I know that the above lines looks quite spammish for a user which has only three posts here aboard in the forum, but I am only a android and oruxmaps enthusiast and I am trying to spreading the word because this stuff is AWESOME).

 

By the way, what is the fix time of your Holux/Qstarz? I am considering a external GPS bluetooth unith to improve accuracy (I'd love to use WAAS/EGNOS) and to increase battery life of the smartphone.

Are they water-resistant to any extent?

 

Love,

TOP

Edited by TOPONI

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