The voice of Co-pilot 7

When I had my previous smartphone, I decided I'd try running Satellite Navigation software on it. ALK were the first to support the phone with Co-Pilot. Co-pilot 5 had it's foibles but basically it worked. It didn't work with Windows Mobile 6 which is what my current phone uses. I looked at the upgrade to version 6, but then ALK made me an offer buy Co-pilot, get version 6 now and version 7 when it's shipping. Version 7 dropped on my doormat last week.

Installing proved to be a bit of a challenge, as the version ALK shipped didn't have a version for non-touch screen smartphones, only Pocket PCs. 10 minutes after calling ALKs support I had the files I needed, installation was unremarkable and hey presto I was up and running with the new version. ALK didn't make changes with version 6, but version 7 is practically unrecognisable. After the initial disorientation - "Why are you adding that to the display ?"  - I'm starting to prefer it. I'll try to post something more about it at a later date. One of the things in Version 7 is it has more pre-configured voices. You can have Australian, British or US English and various European languages in Male or Female voices. I think the voice files used to be WAV files (they might have been WMV) and Windows media player on my PC was prone to deleting them if I told it to shuffle music onto the device. In changing versions the format has gone to .ogg

Recently, Emma Clarke has been in the news, famous as the voice of London underground Emma recorded some spoofs of things announcers might say. You can read on her blog how a combination of sloppy journalism and stupid management cost her that job.  (follow the links to announcements). Someone at ALK thought it would be a great idea to have some spoof Sat-nav announcements - there are a couple of additional ones on Emma's site. They'll have a full set of voice announcements by Emma soon. I quite like the idea of replacing "You have reached your destination" with "Are we there yet ? Are     we    there   yet ?  AreWeThereYet ?"  Sadly they say one should use the Co-pilot central software to put it onto the device, and after installing 3 GB of it I discovered it doesn't work with 64 bit Vista. Grrrr.

More coverage: BBC, BBC (again), Jason

Technorati tags: London Underground, Emma Clarke, SmartPhone, ALK, co-pilot