Here's a nice idea. If you have a WiFi iPad but would like to use that big screen for navigation, now you have a solution.
With a small hardware plug in, and the CoPilot Live software, you can navigate without needing a data plan. "People have always been so disappointed when we've told them that the expensive new iOS device they bought doesn't work with navigation apps because it doesn't have a built-in GPS receiver," said David Quin, head of consumer applications for ALK Technologies. "It has always seemed like such a waste of great technology. But now, with that combination of Bad Elf's GPS receivers and CoPilot Live's maps that don't require any mobile connection for navigation, we have a way to make all those devices more valuable and handy."
Here's how it works. The Bad Elf GPS receiver is incorporated into a 30-pin data connector cable to charge your iOS device. On the other end is a USB connector, so you plug into your car power, and your GPS comes alive, while your iPad charges. If your iPad is charged, the GPS unit will take power from your iPad, and need not be plugged into external power. The included cable also allows your iPad to sync.
Since you are probably going to ask, the Bad Elf GPS receiver doesn't require the CoPilot software. It works with other GPS apps that use self contained maps, like Navigon, Magellan Roadmate, Garmin and TomTom. Other apps, like Google Maps and Apple Maps won't work, because they require a data connection to download map data.
The GPS receiver integrated perfectly with my iPad and the CoPilot Live software, and I loved having the bigger navigation screen of the iPad in the car. Of course, you can also use an iPod touch to navigate as well. As I drove around, I could see that the responsiveness was not as fast as my built-in GPS on my iPhone, but it was serviceable. A few times I lost GPS signal and then it was automatically re-acquired. My metal car didn't seem a perfect reception environment, and Bad Elf suggests an extender cable to get the receiver closer to a window.
The CoPilot software bundled with the Bad Elf GPS unit can be bought for US$99.00. The hardware comes with a redemption code for the CoPilot Live Navigation app. Bad Elf will also be distributing the package at a later date. I've also seen the Bad Elf receiver sold stand alone on places like Amazon, but it's not much of a savings over getting the app bundle.
The CoPilot Live software with the Bad Elf GPS unit is a good way to get high-quality navigation without shelling out more money for a data plan. If you wished your WiFi iPad or iPod touch could help get you around town or navigate a long trip, this hardware / software package is worth investigating.