It looks like there are several inexpensive netbooks available right, some even under $100. Would any of these be suitable to load GPS software onto and connect a GPS receiver or are all of these just a waste of money?
Many have found that laptop screens are sometimes not bright enough to see in a sunlit car. Where would you position the netbook? It probably won't sit on the dash with the lid open. At a minimum you would probably need a co-pilot to assist with the netbook/gps function. IMO you'll be happier with a dedicated GPS and use the netbook for catching up on your email and reading posts at the POI Factory.
I have used Microsoft Streets & Trips software with a GPS attached to my laptop (actually I've used a Nuvi with S&T buts that's another story). It works fine and I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work with a Netbook but lack of RAM on these small computers maybe an issue.
Although some people love the larger screen provided by this type of arrangement they do have their draw backs. The big one for me was where do you put the laptop without buying an expensive holder for it. The only answer is to put it in the passenger seat or on your passenger's lap. Either way looking at the map takes your eyes off the road which is never a good thing.
When I was using this setup I also had the issue of where to put the GPS device. You end up with the laptop in the passenger seat and a long cord up to your dash with the GPS device on the end and the whole thing can become a rats nest. These days I believe the GPS device can be plugged directly into the USB port of your laptop which helps out but may cause reception problems because of the placement of the laptop/netbook.
Over all I gave up on the whole idea and now go with a dedicated GPS and put a laptop in the trunk where it belongs when I've driving.
There are too many cords with the laptop idea. You not only have the receiver cable but you have to also plug the netbook/laptop in. What happens if you are in an accident (you never know)or have to stop fast. The netbook winds up on the floor and most likely damaged. A dedicated GPS is the way to go.
Before I had a nuvi, for family vacations I used Street Atlas USA on my laptop with the Delorme LT-20 receiver as a navigator. I had it set up with a power inverter to keep the laptop charged. We always used it with a passenger (not the driver) operating the laptop and doing the navigating. It worked great and had the advantage of being able to use the laptop WiFi connection along with the SA software when we were in hotspots (restaurants, motels, etc). In general, a laptop or netbook is too bulky to use in a car, but it is a popular option for some RV'ers. Street Atlas software does support voice recognition, so it might be possible for the driver to operate it with voice commands if you had a usable mounting and microphone setup.
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