While no global positioning system (GPS) device needs its Bluetooth® functions to operate, the fact that they are sometimes combined merely represents a convenience to the average user. In cases where people are driving and receiving phone calls, this represents yet another option in hands-free phone conversations. Further, the receiver can provide a number of other benefits as well.
A Bluetooth® connection can aid in receiving and making calls. The fact that most GPS receivers have a touch screen makes the answering of a call very convenient. Most devices, once the wireless connection is completed to the mobile phone, will display the incoming call on the screen. Answering it is as simple as touching the screen.
The conversation is usually held through the navigation device's internal microphone. The speaker, which usually provides driving directions, is used so that the driver can hear the caller's voice. It may be possible to attach earphones to the GPS receiver as well so that the conversation can be heard more clearly.
Most Bluetooth® GPS receivers are higher-end models. As this feature isn't considered necessary, it's usually not the first addition added. Depending on the brand, however, there are some mid-range models that include this option. Still, it usually does add to the price, and most of the things it does can be done with a simple Bluetooth® earpiece, at a much lower price.
One of the things many of these higher end receivers may offer is the opportunity to find points of interest or services along the way and call immediately. For example, a driver on the road may be looking to make hotel reservations for the night in a certain location. Some GPS units can find hotels, show their location on a map, and even provide the phone number. Often, calling the phone number with this type of device is as simple as touching it on the display screen. The GPS will then relay the call through a mobile phone.
This feature can be especially helpful or convenient, and may also offer some safety features. In fact, in some jurisdictions, it may be illegal to drive while holding a cellular phone. A GPS device that can also make calls can help provide a legal alternative in the case no other type of hands-free device is available. Also, because these units typically run off power generated by the car, there is no need to worry about the battery life.