Originally Posted by twowheeladdict
How do you use your smartphone when there are no cell towers around? Can you download maps? Then you also have to have a large data plan?
Ok... one more time.
?#1 No. You can't make a phone call where there are no cell towers around, but the GPS function of the phone communicates with GPS satellites. You can't use Google maps, because that app (software) requires constant streaming of data that you would have to stream from those aforementioned towers. Google Maps does not store the maps on your phone. However there are many apps that simply install the required maps in bulk, so no data connection with the towers is needed. The technical term is on-line maps (Google Maps) off-line maps (GPS CoPilot + many others)
?#2 Yes. Anything you want. But be carefull. North America is almost 2 GB. That's not a big deal if you have a phone with 32GB, but some people just download the parts they need and save storage space for something else.. Like pictures, or music. Why download a map of Alaska if your touring Maine?
?#3 No. All smartphones are WIFI connected. So you can download these maps at home, or at a coffee shop.
There are forum members here who upgrade their old iPhone 4 to a new 5, and use the old iPhone 4 as their bike GPS. They are not activated, and can no longer make phone calls because they are not associated with towers anymore. These become simply iPod Touches, but with GPS receivers. With the riders preferred off-line maps installed, they are the best GPSs going. IMHO.
I have an iPhone so I tend to use the word iPhone here, but there are incredible Andriod Phones out there that are arguably better than Apple. Check out the new fancy Galaxy S5. Fully waterproof, without the case.