can you reprogram a $70 GPS as a generic computer or else buy an equivalent one for the same price?

small screen GPS devices that nowadays sell for $70 look like a nice little cheap computer with a touch screen. The only problem being that this nice little computer only runs the GPS app and that’s it.

Which begs the question - if I want to get a nice little cheap computer with a touch screen for some other purpose (where I would write my own app to use) can I buy the GPS, get rid of current app and install another one? Or else, are there similar devices being sold explicitly for a generic use, i.e. so that the buyer would install his own apps, sort of like you can do on the horribly overpriced Android phones?

I think you can get a $70 Android phone, or you can get an old iPhone/iTouch, jailbreak it and have a nice command line Debian environment on the back end to play with.

I’m sure it’s possible with a GPS, but unless there’s a community somewhere that does this, you’ll probably be in uncharted territory and will have to do a lot of low level hacking. Android ROMS, for example, are basically custom compiled versions of the vanilla Android operating system, but it takes groups of people a lot of work to get them to work on different phones.

Yes it’s quite possible as long as the GPS has a touch screen and uses WINCE as its operating system you use a “loader” on the SD card to boot into windows at startup, Google “GPS windows unlock” and you’ll get plenty of hits.

Most of these GPS run some version of Windows CE on the background. There are several hacks where you can disable the main gps application from running and that brings the Windows desktop on the foreground.

I did that on my Blaupunkt GPS but it was very slow and there wasn’t much I could do with it anyway.

Here’s a good place to start:

Basically, they are a PDA that runs Windows CE. They can be unlocked and run any program that will run in that environment.

This Nav740 GPS runs Windows CE and it’s not hard to get out of the GPS front-end and into Windows CE. I never figured out a lot of value once I got there though.

I have MUCH more fun with my iPod Touch.