Build your own Route 66 

It is a while since I have looked at a Route 66 product and was not really prepared for its D.I.Y. approach.

Route 66 is a company that has been involved in the development of route navigation software for a good many years.  I first came across the company when its main emphasis was developing software for the Windows platform that provided users with route planning software for getting from A to B.  However the emergence of GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology with in-car and hand-held devices has opened up new avenues (pun intended) for the company.  One result is Route 66 Mobile 7 for various Nokia smartphones.


Rather than the complete package approach adopted by other companies, such as Navicore whose product was reviewed earlier this year, Route 66 is more of a D.I.Y. solution.  The Route 66 Mobile 7 product is supplied on a DVD which gives the clue that a computer does have a role to play with the title.  In fact the computer, requiring a USB MMC memory card reader/writer, will be needed to transfer the relevant files to the smartphone.  You will also need to supply the memory card, I used a 512MB card, to hold the files, a Bluetooth GPS receiver and, of course, the smartphone supporting the Symbian 60 platform 2.0 or higher.  You could argue that this is a bit like buying a car without an engine, wheels or seats - of course you do have the satisfaction of putting the various components together.


Once you have installed the Route 66 Mobile 7 software on your computer, copied the files to a memory card and inserted it in to the smartphone, you will need to select the appropriate language and geographical map before entering the eight-character product key found inside the DVD case.  This information is then sent via a SMS message to the company and your product will be activated for use.


You can enter start and destination points plus any number of waypoints that you wish included in your route.  Route 66 will then advise you by voice announcements and on-screen directions as the route to take as you progress on your journey.  If for any reason you miss a turn or decide you want to take a detour, maybe favourite shortcut, then Route 66 will automatically recalculate the route and proceed accordingly.


Regular used destinations can be saved, as can personal preferences such as the distance unit to be used and the volume level for the directional voice.  There is also an option to switch to night colours, presumably to help your passenger navigator to see the screen as you will be concentrating on the driving.  Route 66 also has a feature that enables it to download up-to-date traffic information from the company's web site via a GPRS connection.  This is a free service and it can be set up to dial in automatically with the information being used to help decide on the most appropriate route depending upon road conditions.


Probably due to a couple of D.I.Y. disaster (I'm not owning up to any more) in the past, I prefer the ready-made solution for whatever product.  However I am willing to concede that the Route 66 approach will appeal to others, especially those who already have the necessary extras.  They, no doubt, will be attracted by the product's price point of £69.95 for the software DVD.


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