Application Name: SolidSync Network/Bluetooth GPS
Description: Transmits GPS position data over Bluetooth or over a network using TCP/IP from your Android unit to a compatible receiver
Publisher’s website: SolidSync
Version/date reviewed: v. 2.0.0 / 10-21-10
Phone/OS: Droid X / Android 2.2
This SolidSync Network/Bluetooth GPS app, like the Bluetooth GPS Output app reviewed yesterday, can transmit GPS position data over a Bluetooth connection to a compatible receiver, like a laptop running mapping software. But unlike that app, it offers more control over how the program runs, and also offers the option to transmit position data over a network using the TCP/IP protocol. After you install the app, you’ll find it in the apps listing as “Network/Bluetooth GPS”; took me a while to figure out that it wasn’t listed under either “Bluetooth” or “SolidSync”. Setting up the Bluetooth connection is as much of a pain with this app as the previous one, but the SolidSync website has far better documentation, making the process a bit easier to deal with. And unlike the other app, identifying the correct COM port number for this connection, required by the mapping software on the laptop to make a successful connection, is a lot easier - in the COM port listing section of your Bluetooth control panel, you should see it clearly identified as the “Outgoing” “SolidSync GPS Bluetooth” COM port.
Figure 1: Unlike the other Bluetooth GPS app, the SolidSync app offers the option of running the Bluetooth GPS connection either as the app, or as a background service by checking a box. Just remember to start up the app again to turn off the service, otherwise the GPS will keep running continuously and drain your battery.
Pressing the “Start” button next to the “Service” label starts up the GPS only. You can then “start” either a Bluetooth GPS connection by itself, a network GPS connection by itself, or have both running at the same time. The Settings section lets you set both the GPS update interval (default is 1 second, longer may reduce battery consumption), and the maximum number of network connections it will accept simultaneously. I had no problems using it with any of the mapping programs on my laptop that I tried it with in Bluetooth mode; didn’t test the netwokr mode.
Setup was as big a pain as it usually is for Android Bluetooth, but worked fine after that.
I prefer a separate Bluetooth GPS transmitter; it has definite advantages in terms of battery life and accuracy. But one of those stand-alone Bluetooth GPS transmitters can cost you about $30-40; if battery and accuracy aren’t an issue for you, you can definitely save money using a Bluetooth GPS transmitter app. Between the Bluetooth GPS Output app reviewed yesterday, and the SolidSync Network/Bluetooth GPS app reviewed today, the choice is obvious: the SolidSync app has better documentation, and more features, at the same price. If you need this kind of app, this is the one you should choose.