×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Standalone GPS Receivers Going the Way of the Dodo

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the why-did-you-program-me-to-feel-pain dept.

Cellphones 422

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that more than 40 percent of all smartphone owners and 80 percent of iPhone users use their mobile devices to get turn-by-turn directions driving down sales of traditional standalone GPS units from companies like TomTom, Garmin and Magellan. During the first quarter, TomTom said it shipped 29 percent fewer GPS units compared with the period in 2008 while Garmin's unit sales fell 13 percent from the previous year. While smartphones are susceptible to interruptions from incoming phone calls and using the mapping features for a long time can chew through battery power, the list of the smartphone's shortcomings is dwindling as some of the latest navigation applications offer voice navigation and take advantage of the phone's always-connected state to offer real-time traffic updates, directions to contacts in the phone's address book and more. 'I've not stopped using a GPS because I never bought one in the first place — they are expensive and inconvenient,' says Steve Weller. 'Now with the iPhone, I will actually use GPS — and the 10 other functions it replaces.' The traditional GPS device companies are trying to adapt, seeking to expand their reach into the smartphone market. TomTom recently announced that it would introduce a portable navigation application for the iPhone that would feature turn-by-turn directions and audio prompts. 'The simplicity of having one device and not needing to pull the Garmin out of my glove compartment is enough,' says Andrew DiMarcangelo. 'I want to get into my car and do as few things as possible.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

422 comments

I guess I should prepare for extinction then (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636165)

as I don't own a GPS or a Satnav and don't have a GPS in my phone, ipod or anything else.

I use maps and if required a compass and somehow, I don't seem to get lost.

Perhaps this is a slow news day?

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (3, Informative)

nizo (81281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636383)

Actually I am excited because while I have never even held a GPS unit, I'm guessing soon I will be able to get one on ebay for a few bucks.

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636447)

It's all hype.

No smartphone is waterproof and can be easily read in direct sun while mounted to a motorcycle handlebar.

No smartphone can do what my field guide GPS can do. (Give me elevation maps... oh the iphone cant do that? sowwwy.)

No smartphone can work well on a boat at 55mph across the water and it does not interface to my autohelm.

Only a utterly complete fool would think the standalone GPS is going the way of the DoDo bird.

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (4, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636533)

No smartphone is waterproof and can be easily read in direct sun while mounted to a motorcycle handlebar.
Buy a case.

No smartphone can do what my field guide GPS can do. (Give me elevation maps... oh the iphone cant do that? sowwwy.)
Sure it can -- log into google maps, and use the elevation maps feature.

No smartphone can work well on a boat at 55mph across the water and it does not interface to my autohelm.
Sure they can -- put them in aeroplane mode and use the GPS chip as normal.

Only a utterly complete fool would think the standalone GPS is going the way of the DoDo bird.
Only a utterly complete fool would think that most standalone GPS units are used for what you just outlined. Most of them are sat just inside a car windscreen giving turn-by-turn directions, for which, a smartphone is totally ideal -- it's not like you can use your phone while driving anyway.

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636605)

it's not like you can use your phone while driving anyway.

No, that would be wrong. lol

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (1, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636559)

It's all hype.

No smartphone is waterproof and can be easily read in direct sun while mounted to a motorcycle handlebar.

No smartphone can do what my field guide GPS can do. (Give me elevation maps... oh the iphone cant do that? sowwwy.)

No smartphone can work well on a boat at 55mph across the water and it does not interface to my autohelm.

Only a utterly complete fool would think the standalone GPS is going the way of the DoDo bird.

I think they're making the assumption that the only place a GPS is used is attached to the dashboard of a car.

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636593)

For hiking, and boating it doesn't fit. But Garmin, Magellan, and TomTom have been rolling in piles of cash from the market of individuals who want turn by turn in their cars or as toys. It sounds like they are losing that market, and a big market it is. There will still exist the niche markets which existed before. Recreational motoring, and serious hiking, etc.

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (1, Offtopic)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636633)

You don't get space on the NYT site, or front page Slashdot, by noting that standalone GPS sales are down 29 percent. If you use that data to make some ridiculous assumption that standalone GPS will soon go extinct, you get space in the business section so you can be read by people who's business models are based on continual expansion of a given market.

And space on sites where technology is seen as a juggernaut that crushes everything in its path.

People are still making really nice orienteering compasses.

You can still buy new quad maps of most anywehere on earth.

I am not positive, but you can probably still buy sextants.

Re:I guess I should prepare for extinction then (4, Informative)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636603)

No thanks, I'll stick with my Garmin please. I've used the GPS on my phone, and it takes over 5 minutes to get a lock. My 60CSx can get a lock in under 30 seconds, from INSIDE my house. It's batteries last all day too! My phone loses GPS signal under heavy cloud cover (or at least it seems like it), and it sucks the battery down like crazy. After using the phone's gps for an hour the battery is comepletely drained. Ohh yeah, the handheld GPS has magnetic compas and altimiter that can be used when standing still. Plus it's more rugged, water proof, and it floats, I feel much safer about taking my GPS into the woods, over rocks and streams, kayaking and boating than I do with my phone.

not surprising.. (1, Interesting)

sykoboy (1220026) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636191)

was really just a matter of time i suppose.. the only advantage the gps units had over smartphones is the fact they still worked on trips that take out them out of signal range.

Re:not surprising.. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636245)

Phone gps doesn't use cell tower triangulation. It is a real gps receiver.

Re:not surprising.. (2, Insightful)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636583)

Most (all?) smartphone GPS packages I have seen don't store the maps locally, but instead stream them from a central server over the cellular link. Hence, even using real GPS, the ones I have seen don't work outside of cell range, which is a huge downside.

Re:not surprising.. (3, Interesting)

dyefade (735994) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636719)

Most phones I've seen, except the iPhone, stores it's maps locally. They should even work with no GPS _or_ data reception (if you just want to use the map for setting up favourites, plan routes etc.)

This is Europe, as usual with mobile stories there are likely wild differences between EU and the US on this.

Re:not surprising.. (2, Interesting)

Foktip (736679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636299)

Also, they dont use data, and some carriers still charge per month for a "GPS Package add-on".
The Garmin Nuviphone G60 looks interesting though...

Re:not surprising.. (2, Informative)

The Salamander (56587) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636337)

That's not even an advantage anymore, as several apps can cache the maps for usage when away from coverage.

My app, iTopoMaps, is specifically designed for this usage as it provides USGS topographic maps in the backcountry. I've had countless users tell me they've stopped using their Garmins, etc.

Battery life is still an issue compared to commercial units, and the GPS isn't the best, but hopefully that will be remedied soon by some external bluetooth units.

Re:not surprising.. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636381)

Why do people think this. GPS is *not* something that can be, or is received over cell networks. GPS units in phones are just that â" they are chips that tune into the radio signals put out by GPS satellites.

So repeat after me: GPS is still GPS, even though it's in my phone.

Re:not surprising.. (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636543)

I don't have a smart phone so I'm not sure how it works but from what I've seen, there is no menu option on your phone to go in and get GPS coordinates. You can only use the GPS so that it points out your location on a map that is downloaded via the Internet connection. I think thats why we're referring to signal.

Re:not surprising.. (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636561)

the only advantage the gps units had over smartphones is the fact they still worked on trips that take out them out of signal range.

Why do people think this. GPS is *not* something that can be, or is received over cell networks.

I think you missed the tense there. Smartphones did use cell phone towers to triangulate position and provide GPS type information before such phones started to get actual GPS chips and antenna. At the time, smartphones did fine in the city, but failed to provide your location when you were out in the country away from towers. Now most smartphones include actual GPS so that disadvantage has gone away, as per the original poster's comment.

Slow down and comprehend what people are saying before going off half cocked.

Re:not surprising.. (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636591)

The fact that cell phones did this before having GPS in them does not mean that at any point when doing this they were using GPS. GPS is a specific term that refers to a bunch of satellites whizzing about above us and triangulating your position by receiving timing signals from them

Re:not surprising.. (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636631)

I may be mistaken, but the mapping software on my blackberry will use a location from a tower to get an initial location until it can get a sat lock.

Re:not surprising.. (1)

adamchou (993073) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636485)

the only advantage the gps units had over smartphones is the fact they still worked on trips that take out them out of signal range.

That "only" advantage is really a huge advantage, at least for people that need it when they're out of signal range. I'm willing to bet that there are lots of people that travel outside of signal range that need GPS services too. I'm into boating and I really need my GPS to give me coordinates when I'm out on the ocean and when any nearby boats can only pick up my signal but not triangulate it. Even more so in case I need to broadcast an SOS to boats in my local vicinity. There are probably also numerous other sports that take people far out into the desert or other remote places that should or do rely on GPS for safety and organization.

I'm not going to put my life on the line because my signal has died or my cell phone's battery is dead and the manufacturer didn't provide a way to plug in some sort of backup battery.

Already there (2, Informative)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636233)

If I recall correctly it's been for years that TomTom and Garmin have been offering GPS apps for Symbian phones. That's probably all their business will be about in a few years anyways.

Re:Already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636417)

They are actually cutting support for windows mobile phones. They have either stopped offering them or announced end-of-life.

Re:Already there (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636541)

I don't know about the Symbian version, but the Windows Mobile version usually lags a generation behind the standalone devices, and you can't even buy it legally in the United States.

Also, the standalone devices will always have their place, with two primary reasons (these assume phones that have sufficient onboard storage for map data w/o the cell phone connection):
1) For visibility while in use, a 4.3" widescreen display is very nice for a nav device. A phone that large would never sell.
2) The GPS receiver in most phones capable of performing mapping functions (Qualcomm GPSOne) is SHIT. It's about on par with my old Garmin eMap (6+ years old) in terms of sensitivity and lock times. The far more modern GPS chipsets included in standalone devices (SiRF III, MTK v1 and v2) absolutely destroy the GPSOne solution in terms of sensitivity, accuracy, and lock times.

Re:Already there (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636687)

1) For visibility while in use, a 4.3" widescreen display is very nice for a nav device. A phone that large would never sell.

Wrong. [wikipedia.org] Also, standalone device screen resolution always sucks. A 3.8" WVGA screen is much better than a 4.3" WQVGA screen in terms of readability.

2) The GPS receiver in most phones capable of performing mapping functions (Qualcomm GPSOne) is SHIT. It's about on par with my old Garmin eMap (6+ years old) in terms of sensitivity and lock times. The far more modern GPS chipsets included in standalone devices (SiRF III, MTK v1 and v2) absolutely destroy the GPSOne solution in terms of sensitivity, accuracy, and lock times.

Wrong again (use the previous link). Also, Qualcomm GPSOne is not that bad, especially when using it with the QuickGPS software which downloads the satellite position for the next seven days from the internet. Lock times are then about four seconds.

Re:Already there (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636701)

Garmin has a GPS app that runs on just about any smartphone. They are also introducing a new phone (Linux-based nuvifone) themselves. Plus, standalone road units are just a small part of their portfolio. They have professional GPS systems, some for boats, and some for airplanes.

really?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636235)

Expensive and inconvenient?
What about the stupid toll tax you have to pay on your IPhone plan or any other smartphone for that matter?

Re:really?!?! (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636403)

You don't pay any tax on your plan. The iPhone has a *real* GPS unit in it -- i.e. it picks up radio signals from satellites, it doesn't triangulate your position from cell phone towers.

Re:really?!?! (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636609)

my garmin was a x-mass gift.
It costs me $0 per month to use it.
I don't think that I would like my cell phone strapped to my dashboard. I try not to use it while I drive and I don't think that having it in front of me while I drive is a good thing.
Now, if i was hiking or something I might like a map on my phone. But I am an American and try not to walk anywhere that I can drive...

I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636255)

With the downturn in the economy it only stands to figure that gizmos like GPS are falling off a lot of people's shopping lists. I won't deny that some are taking the cheaper route and using an existing device for their nav but how many are using it because they have it and not because they really wanted it to begin with?

Couple this with more and more cars coming equipped with these devices already installed.

Between these three factors I think it's a bit easier to see where the slide is happening. Simply assuming that it's all phone based is short sighted.

Re:I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (1)

evilkasper (1292798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636489)

I agree completely. There is a large portion of people that do not have smart phones, so they are obviously not using their cell phone as a GPS. There is a also a large portion of people that have had a standalone GPS unit for years, if they are thinking like I am; it still works so I'm not upgrading yet. I love how we are so quick to say a device is dead or dying just because something else can do what t does. The standalone GPS will most likely be with us for quite a while.

Re:I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636649)

Some writer bought an iphone and thinks it is god's gift to the world. He also sees his friends all buying it so he jumps to the conclusion that it is a cultural event.

Personally I don't like the idea of everyone being locked into the same company (Apple in this case). It stifles creativity and keeps prices inflated. Nor do I see a smartphone being built to equal a dedicated GPS unit. They could technically but they wouldn't business-wise. I sometimes hike with a GPS unit and I don't consider a smartphone a substitute for a real GPS.

Re:I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636503)

Exactly, the navigation on the iPhone is simply crap compared to my ancient Garman GPS. The iPhone is good for walking, but as for driving, I put in an address and it had me going through non-existant roads (!).

Re:I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636669)

Completely agreed...the gps navigation feature of the iphone has been the one real disappointment I've had with it. Useless IMHO.

I'm sticking with my Garmin for now...

Re:I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636521)

Exactly, unemployment is way up, the economy is down with no improvement in sight and sales of a product that is not a necessity are way down. Those sales must be down because of smart phones. /s

Re:I think there is a bit of a stretch here... (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636565)

Are you kidding. GPS is just wreaking of bells-and-whistles that GM/Toyota will never satisfy. Until they put a hole in the dash for 3rd party engine rewiring, then the accessory market will thrive, especially in GPS evolution.

----------

Speedlimits [wikispeedia.org]
New Android app needs your help. [google.com]
The Future. [blogspot.com]

As a response, Tom Tom and Garmin... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636263)

...will be introducing GPS models that have insane per-minute charges and require payments for making noises and changing screen backgrounds so mobile users will feel more comfortable.

Re:As a response, Tom Tom and Garmin... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636445)

You don't pay insane per-minute charges. Most phones, including the iPhone have a *real* GPS unit in them -- i.e. it picks up radio signals from satellites, it doesn't triangulate your position from cell phone towers.

Re:As a response, Tom Tom and Garmin... (2, Funny)

adamchou (993073) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636721)

I believe the iPhone has a light saber app that makes a WHOOSH sound when you swing it around. You might wanna try installing that and playing around with it.

Re:As a response, Tom Tom and Garmin... (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636743)

You don't pay insane per-minute charges. Most phones, including the iPhone have a *real* GPS unit in them -- i.e. it picks up radio signals from satellites, it doesn't triangulate your position from cell phone towers.
So, will it continue to work and display maps even if you cancel your cell phone service?

Except for Verizon Wireless Cutsomers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636275)

It's hard to use your phone for navigation when your only choice is paying extra for the service provider's half assed navigation app because they disable GPS on all their phones. And they prevent non-official apps from using aGPS too.

I like standalone GPS (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636289)

I've got a Garmin and love it. It's made to sit easily on the dash, has a bigger screen than a phone, doesn't need cell coverage, and doesn't keep me from using my phone.

The only thing not to like is that the maps eventually get out of date, and that it's a separate cost.

The ideal would be to have it built in to my dash and update itself via Wi-Fi when I pull into the driveway.

Re:I like standalone GPS (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636567)

I've got a Garmin and love it. It's made to sit easily on the dash, has a bigger screen than a phone, doesn't need cell coverage, and doesn't keep me from using my phone.

Best justification for my standalnoe GPS, IMO. Comparing the size of the screen I want to be able to glance at while driving and the size of a screen that can comprtably fit into my pocket, they don't overlap.

Putting the two together just gives you a phone that runs out of batteries too quickly, and a GPS that's hard to navigate by.

Re:I like standalone GPS (1)

cronostitan (573676) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636625)

Nowadays no additional costs are involved for map data anymore - unless you want to spend it.
Have a look at the OpenStreetMap project - http://www.openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org] - there you can get the data (which is partially better than Garmin maps) for free. Routing data is just emerging but already possible. I uploaded the complete world map on my GARMIN GPS 60Cx a couple days ago (you will need a big memory card for that, though)

Re:I like standalone GPS (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636673)

The only thing not to like is that the maps eventually get out of date, and that it's a separate cost.

The maps do get out of date, but it's not necessarily a cost. In fact, it's one of the reasons I bought a Garmin instead of the competition; You can make your own maps, with local knowledge and without being beholden to the manufacturer. Ref http://nzopengps.org/ [nzopengps.org]

Speaking from under my tinfoil hat... (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636293)

I don't want my GPS attached to anything that transmits a signal.

Re:Speaking from under my tinfoil hat... (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636393)

The local oscillator in your standalone GPS creates a signal too :-) (albeit very tiny)

Re:Speaking from under my tinfoil hat... (1)

greed (112493) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636621)

You'd hate my Zumo. It's got Bluetooth for patching your cellphone into your helmet headset speaker/mic.

Actually, they can have my Zumo back when they come up with something truly better. For a bike, it's great; it's got MP3 playback from SD cards, the cellphone patch, and can interface with Bluetooth helmet headsets or wired headsets. Got rid of a number of wiring issues with one device.

Re:Speaking from under my tinfoil hat... (1)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636741)

That standard loses a lot of very compelling usages of merging a GPS with internet access though. It's very nice how smart phone apps are able to do things like pull up the prices of all gas stations, and show them in a list for you to pick the best balance of distance and price.

87.2674% of statistics are made up (1)

iamagloworm (816661) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636301)

really, 80% of iphone users use applications that were only released a month ago? fishy statistics. (i.e. made up)

Re:87.2674% of statistics are made up (1)

rift321 (1358397) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636415)

80% of iPhone users recommend not believing any statistic-backed assertion that begins with "80% of iPhone users."

Re:87.2674% of statistics are made up (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636429)

After all, everyone knows that 78% of statistics that sound like they were made up really are.

Re:87.2674% of statistics are made up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636535)

The iPhone always had turn by turn directions... it just didn't have voice navigation.

Re:87.2674% of statistics are made up (1)

quintessentialk (926161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636627)

That's what I was thinking. I wasn't even aware that the iPhone had turn-by-turn GPS apps yet. Surely that must be very recent.

I'm one of them (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636309)

I've never owned a stand-alone GPS, but back in January I picked up a Blackberry Storm, which is the first "smart phone" that I've owned. Frankly, if there is anything about this phone that actually justifies having it, it would most definitely be Google Maps, which can talk to the GPS chip in the phone to find out where I am and were I'm going without having to pay for the Verizon Navigator thing or for a separate GPS device. If it's not too cliche, I'd say that it really has changed my life for the better as I used to get lost all the time (with a 5-digit Slashdot ID at age 25, I clearly don't get out much).

Re:I'm one of them (1)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636453)

I've also got a Storm, but google maps usually shows my location "within1800 meters", which isn't very good. I'm not sure if it's the phone or the application, but I haven't had much luck with Google Maps on Storm.

Re:I'm one of them (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636525)

It'll do that when it's triangulating off of the cell towers, I think. When I'm inside an old building it'll do that to me, but when I go outside, or here in my apartment, It'll get me within 5-8 meters, which is about as accurate as I'd expect.

Re:I'm one of them (1)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636821)

As another poster said, this means that your phone is triangulating your location based on cell tower signals and is not reading from the GPS.

I'll bet you have Verizon as your carrier. They won't allow you to use the device GPS with Google Maps. They want you to pay for their "VZ Navigator" application. I think you can use the GPS with Blackberry Maps, though.

I have a Blackberry Pearl and have the same problem on the Verizon network.

There is still a small market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636317)

I still think there is a niche for stand alone GPS. For me, I always use one when hiking and boaters (large water) use them extensively aswell.

I want a HUD in my car (1)

rift321 (1358397) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636333)

Anyone else fed up with audio prompts for turn-by-turn? I want HUDs to finally find their way into vehicles - i mean, they've been in fighter jets for ages, which is just a step away from my Subaru Forester.
 

Honestly, how expensive can it be to put the video on the dash instead of throwing it on some 3rd-party mount, or in the already-cramped control console? I say that the companies need to make better use of the windshields in cars, and allow me to listen to loud music while I don't know where I'm going.

Re:I want a HUD in my car (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636805)

I want HUDs to finally find their way into vehicles...

HUDs have been implemented in numerous cars over the years, but have never really caught on for the mainstream. GM introduced a HUD on a few models in the late 80's. BMW, Citroen, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan/Infiniti and Toyota/Lexus all offer HUDs currently, although some only do so overseas. The big ones are GM and BMW although the latest Lexus comes with a very nice LED HUD as an option and it even includes the GPS turn by turn as I understand. You can also get a lot of third party add on HUDs. Heck, I've seen HUD setups for motorcycle helmets.

Tax Funded GPS...why the hell should we pay? (2, Insightful)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636349)

Never, and I repeat, NEVER agree to pay for GPS "service." You already have in your federal taxes. These ***hole cellphone companies that charge you for GPS are full of themselves. I will never use a phone-based GPS if it costs me a penny extra. Vote with your wallet.

Re:Tax Funded GPS...why the hell should we pay? (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636499)

I had considered this point of view as well until I considered the cost of the standalone unit vs the GPS "service". So you pay a monthly service fee but it's a whole lot cheaper than the standalone unit plus your maps are always up to date. For Garmin anyway, on top of the initial unit cost, map updates are not free... Of course I have other reasons for not wanting cell phone GPS...

Re:Tax Funded GPS...why the hell should we pay? (3, Insightful)

sheepofblue (1106227) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636507)

You pay for the significant effort expended to create the maps. You pay for the receiving hardware. You pay for the support and R&D in the prior mentioned items. If they also had to provide the sats then it would be beyond the means of many of the people that use the system today. So vote on, I did I have a standalone unit that I use on my motorcycle all the time.

Re:Tax Funded GPS...why the hell should we pay? (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636597)

GPS only provides your position, not map data.

The navigation services offered by providers give you the map data and the routing algorithms to do more with that GPS than feed you a string of numbers.

Use of the GPS receiver in AT&T devices is 100% free unless you want to use Telenav, which provides map data, POI searches, and routing functionality. If you don't like the idea of paying for service, you can pay Garmin for standalone software that does the same thing. (Or, if you live outside the US, TomTom - TomTom Navigator is no longer sold to US customers starting with Navigator 7.)

Re:Tax Funded GPS...why the hell should we pay? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636689)

Never, and I repeat, NEVER agree to pay for GPS "service." You already have in your federal taxes. These ***hole cellphone companies that charge you for GPS are full of themselves. I will never use a phone-based GPS if it costs me a penny extra. Vote with your wallet.

You're buying the maps and engine when you pay for an application. I agree that a monthly cost for GPS use is absurd. You can put Tom Tom, Garmin, or iGuidance on most GPS-equipped phones and not have to worry about that. I use iGuidance and have actually replaced my sirf III based GPS unit with my diamond.

I Use Both (2, Interesting)

therpham (953844) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636357)

I have an iPhone and a dedicated GPS unit because I don't want my phone triple-tasking as a phone, music player, and GPS unit while I'm driving. I don't trust it to do that many things at once without them tripping over each other at some point.

falling sales mean little or nothing (4, Insightful)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636359)

29 and 13% fewer sales may be meaningful, but may not. How much have sales of other items fallen in this economy? What % of people who would use a GPS had bought one in previous years so didn't need one this year. I've been looking at getting one of these for a few years, and late 2007 was the first time the price & features were what I was looking for. So I could see 2008 being a big selling year for anyone who wanted one and thus 2009 would be a drop off from 2008. (I finally bought my first one 2 weeks ago so there's at least one example counter to my argument but I still think it's possible)

I've got one. (3, Insightful)

bloobloo (957543) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636363)

Why would I need to buy another one? My mobile phone gets wear and tear in my pocket, but my GPS stays in the car, until I need to update the maps. So there's really no need to upgrade on a continuous cycle.

Re:I've got one. (1)

quintessentialk (926161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636731)

I was thinking about that the other day. I've had my standalone GPS for 2-3 years now, and I consider it one of my best electronics purchases ever: It still works as well as it did the day I bought it, and still does everything I want it to do -- not true of my similarly aged DVD player, audio receiver, laptop computer, phone, etc. Of course, that's not good for Garmin, because I don't have any pressure to upgrade.

How do PDAs do? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636369)

And how about digital cameras? And how are mobiles game consoles going to sell a few years from now?

Those are other functions cellphones are replacing. We get more and more functionality crammed into fewer and fewer devices. I guess in a few years we'll have cellphone sized computers with jacks to attach keyboards, monitors and other various periphery so we can use them with sensible input and output devices while we're stationary and still retain some or most of the functions while we're mobile.

What I'd invest in was sensible input/output devices for mobile use. So far, I see very little in that area.

No iPhone TomTom, stop pretending there is (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636439)

Yes, TomTom announced they will be making a GPS app.

I also announced that I would be making a turn by turn directions app the day the iPhone SDK comes out.

Now I know I'm not going to finish my project so thats out, but I'm quiet sick of hearing 'announcements' saying 'we've got XXX!!!@$!@%!@#%' and not seeing it for months.

If you go to the TomTom page for the iPhone version you see 'Turn by turn car navigation for iPhone is here'.

I call bullshit. Its not here, if it was here I'd have bought it or at least see it on the App Store.

This kind of bullshit advertising needs to stop, and sites like slashdot need to stop promoting this bullshit until it actually exists.

Press releases and news stories about shit that doesn't actually exist yet need to stop.

Receiver only - no video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636457)

When I read this article, I freaked out! See, I use a tiny $35 GPS receiver with my Nokia N800. The receiver has 1 button (pwr), a usb charger and a rechargeable battery. That's it. No screen. It connects to other devices via Bluetooth.

These aren't going away, I hope.

I like that as newer GPS tech becomes available, I don't have to swap a complete unit to get it. Recall the excitement over the SiRFstarIII chip a few years ago?

People like my Dad... (4, Informative)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636473)

My dad's in his late 60's and I got him a TomTom for christmas. That's what he wanted. It's simple enough for him to use and he doesn't have any problems with figuring it out. The screen is large and easy for him to read. I also know a number of hunters and hikers who go to places were the GPS in cell phones won't work, but a GPS receiver still will.

I just add a Cell phone for him to my plan for fathers day. (He had a crappy pre-paid one in the car for emergancies, but he never used it because it didn't work on the farms.). It has turn by turn naviation, if you want to pay for the feature, but he's never going to use it. First off the screen is too small and he barely uses it now to make phone calls. I think I've called him more than anything.

Now take me. I have an iPhone. I use the turn by turn directions on a regular basis. I have no need to get a Tom Tom. I use my iPhone. There are different markets here that are served by different products. Now, they may not sell as many GPS systems, but they still have their uses.

Re:People like my Dad... (1)

rho (6063) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636679)

I also know a number of hunters and hikers who go to places were the GPS in cell phones won't work, but a GPS receiver still will.

This.

Even some of the older handheld units are squirrelly when you're really off in the weeds. Handheld units really come into their own when you start talking about marine usage, where durability, water resistance and flotation come into play.

Like texting? (1)

grangerg (309284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636477)

The first thing I think of when someone uses their phone for directions is them squinting at the screen while holding it in their hand; that's been my experience watching others (iPhone & G1). It feels like it's right between taking a phone call w/o a hands-free set and texting (but closer to texting since it diverts your eyes).

There's only so much that "voice guidance" can do, and it never seems to be enough to remove the need to see, or mess with, the map.

suprising! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636505)

I for one will always be a techie... but I will also always be a proponent of the "one device per task" mentality. Do one thing, do it well, and you will always have my patronage. Sure, the iPhone and similar smart phones offer nice GPS features, but it's still not a GPS. Inherent limitations such as battery life and incoming calls will always be a problem because of the nature of the device. The fact of the matter is the iPhone is trying to serve both as a phone and a GPS (among a multitude of other things). There's nothing wrong with this, but it does mean that certain sacrifices must be made to ensure compatible functionality.

I program software for a living - I am very well aware of the trade-offs you make when you change your feature set... and that yes, believe it or not, feature sets can conflict in non-obvious ways. The idea of one device that does everything just as well as a device specifically suited to a particular task is just a pipe dream - and one not supported at all by the history of the consumer market.

I think the drop-off we're seeing in GPS sales could be attributed at least equally as much to a flood of inexpensive GPS devices on the market with no annual fees as it could be the GPS features on the smartphones.

Personally, I own a Garmin and a cell phone and an iPod Touch. Let's see... my cellphone reliably makes calls without being interrupted or unstable (due to 3rd party apps). My iPod actually has a faster cpu than the old iPhone (granted, I hear they've given the new one more juice) and my Garmin has a great big screen that is easy to read and hasn't failed me yet (and it's never run out of battery life since it's powered by my car... and it's never been interrupted by an incoming phone call... go figure!).

Don't get me wrong, I love new technology and the ability to combine multiple functionality under the same device... I just wish we'd all acknowledge that such a device will never be quite as good as having separate devices for each specific functionality. This is just economics 101 folks...

Oh, really? (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636523)

As TFS itself points out, much of the navigate-by-smartphone market is people who wouldn't have bought a GPS anyway. Either they didn't like the idea, or for some it would never even have occured to them... but put it in their hands as an add-on to something they do want, and voila!

The GPS market, meanwhile, has a lot of people who either need and/or are conditioned to believe they need a specialized device rather than an add-on feature to a generic electronic gadget.

So why would stand-alone GPS sales be down? Hmm, I just can't seem to think of any other factor that might be in play [google.com]

Don't smartphones need subscriptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28636527)

Do they have maps on the phone or is it like Google maps only? And besides subscription (running you around $2,000 over two years), what about those dead areas?

I'll think I'll stick with a dedicated device there, thanks.

OTOH, has any of the GPS manufactures made a GPS app with map for the iPhone yet? If not, why not? So they don't get the profit off of a hardware sale, charge $50 for the app, beyond 30% commission to apple, profit. Besides, the almost-guaranteed data stream of an iPhone could work wonders for the first comer, besides signalling traffic jams for the user, the data collected about the roads people take in their known area could become invaluable and cheap way to collect data, because they're routes locals would choose vs the dumb approach taken now where all roads of a certain type being treated equally by algorithms that ignore many realities that make roads better or worse for certain streches. It could become a real edge to the first GPS manufacturer who could claim and really have smart routing which would have their GPS direct you through town like a real local would navigate it.

GPS is all software anyway (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636529)

Only reason Garmin and TomTom sold hardware was because there was no other way. with the iphone and other cell phones becoming more powerful there is no reason to sell hardware anymore since all the value is in the software. TomTom is going to sell a whole kit for the iphone that includes the software, and a way to mount it on your windshield and plug it in so the battery doesn't wear out

Re:GPS is all software anyway (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636735)

I wish Tom Tom would have just opened up their source code/hardware. You can't beat the Tom Tom for beauty. Everyone who uses an iPhone in the car complains. Personally, I think the google-netbook/tablet would be more likely to end up on future dashboards. Just like the computer in the cop car perhaps... Boy are car-ads comming in a big way!

Less likely to be stolen, too. (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636549)

Another key advantage of the smartphone-type GPS? Less theft.

Since most folks carry their phones around with them, the default behavior for these is to remove them from the car everytime you step away. Also, since GPS service is frequently tied to a data plan, as soon as you cancel, that part of the functionality disappears for the thief (plus some types of phones can be blacklisted by the provider, making it even more difficult for the thief to benefit).

Upside to Standalone (1)

creationer (985324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636555)

I don't know how it works for iPhone apps using GPS but I have Verizon Wireless and I'm not paying an extra $10 a month for VZNavigator when I have a $100 TomTom that does the job perfectly already. If I didn't have a TomTom I would get one since, with some basic math, it "pays for itself" in 10 months. I also have a handheld garmin gps that I use for geocaching. That said, if I could use a smartphone with Verizon without having to pay $30 a month for a data plan and that had a standalone gps receiver not locked out by Verizon, that I could use with 3rd party software from Garmin or TomTom, I would probably do that instead of the handheld but still use the TomTom in the car.

but gps-on-phone guis SUCK (4, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636575)

I've owned a Garmin for well over a decade, and I've not seen one app on any phone that could match it for functionality. All the apps-on-phones will show you a map (usually network scraped from Google Maps or the like), but very few will have a single-key "Mark This Spot" (aka Man Overboard), or an easy Waypoint database, or easy Routing between waypoints, or measure useful things like Velocity Made Good (velocity towards target, not velocity in your current heading). I've seen little support for logging tracks to a simple file format you can retrieve for analysis (like geotagging photos from non-phone cameras), because phones and phone apps don't like to support file systems. When GPS apps actually perform better than GPS units at common GPS tasks, then I'll be interested.

Never even used one, went straight to generalized (2, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636589)

I've never even used a dedicated GPS navigation device at all; I went straight to a general-purpose device in the form of a good Pocket PC (iPAQ hx4700) and a separate Bluetooth GPS receiver (Globalsat BT-338). The iPAQ does a multitude of other useful things when it's not being used as a navigator (PDA, PIM, MP3 player, Wi-Fi VOIP phone, universal remote control, etc.), has a 4-inch screen to rival most of the dedicated devices, and the batteries in the GPS receiver last 20 hours. I also have topographic nav software for it as well, so I can pop the extended battery onto the iPAQ and take the pair on the trail for a weekend backpacking trip. I've also been able to pick and choose from a variety of navigation software to use, which would NOT be an option with a dedicated device. The combined price tag was larger than an equivalent dedicated device, but the combined capabilities are far greater.

Garmin, Magellan, TomTom, Navigon... eat your hearts out.

Standalones rock (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636637)

Eh? Most smartphone GPSes do not work everywhere, compared to a standalone GPS. Secondly, good luck trying to drive in a city like Boston without a GPS - and good luck going on a long trip with the risk of your battery running out (compared to a car GPS with comes with a car charger). I pretty much have to stop using the phone and use only the GPS feature, which defeats the purpose of a phone.

And some of us travel so often that it is a lot easier to have a GPS with us in our laptop bags. You never know when you'll need it...

I do not know, if you've been living in your same little bubble suburb for all your life and go to the same job, then it is possible that a GPS could be irrelevant. Otherwise? The ones on the phones don't even come close.

as few things as possible? (5, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636653)

....says Andrew DiMarcangelo. "I want to get into my car and do as few things as possible."

I don't want to do anything extra, such as:

- using my mirrors
- using my turn signals
- paying attention to traffic
- planning lane changes ahead of time
- thinking

That sounds like most of the drivers around where I live.... :-)

80% of iPhone users? (3, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636655)

If 80% of the iPhone users use it for turn by turn directions RIGHT NOW, just what application are they using? If they are referring to the google maps application, it isn't something that you'd use while driving, like a true GPS device does. It's the same as using your web browser to get directions to a location and printing it out, but conveniently the article doesn't mention the percentage of users who use the web browser to print directions. It just simply took a simple scenario, distorted the facts and presented it as evidence.

It also didn't mention other big reasons that people don't buy standalone GPS devices - it's already integrated in the car. A second factor is that buying standalone devices increases the chances of someone breaking into the car to stealing it, often causing more damage than the device is worth.

Call me when phone GPS is any good (3, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636663)

Anyone telling us that dedicated GPS is going the way of the dinosaur is talking marketing drivel and trying to sell you a phone with a GPS.

The chips sets in the phones I've tried including the one on my Nokia 6220 classic are complete crap compared to my TomTom one XL or my Garmin Etrex Legend Hcx. The dedicated GPS units lock on quickly and continue to work if you take them indoors. (Sometimes they even lock on indoors, which amazes me because I live in a 2 story house). In contrast my phone GPS takes ages, loses the signal easily and to top it off if I want maps or assisted GPS I have to pay for it.

Not to mention the fact that they're more useful in a car rather than attached to a mobile phone (which is illegal to operate while driving a vehicle where I live). I'd expect rather to see them built into cars more and more as standard.

Unfortunately the GPS companies are also trying to make you pay again and again with map updates. Still, phones also require map updates. I'd love to see a GPS come on the market that used open maps (Open maps do exist!) and attached into some standard sized dashboard module. Let the hardware manufacturers make their money honestly on the hardware.

A good thing! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636677)

And here slashdot was just saying [slashdot.org] that satnav was going to destroy local knowlege!

I have GPS on my phone, but I don't use it, as I suspect it will cost me. Maps are cheap and disposable.

Legalities (1, Interesting)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636713)

In some places (like Ontario, Canada where I live) they are outlawing the use of hand-held devices by drivers. I don't think the standalone GPS is going away here, because if it can be mounted on the dash then it's ok.

OTOH, standalone GPSs are CHEAP... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636733)

You can get a good standalone nav system for $150 for your car, which doesn't end up costing ungodly-per-month.

For those who have a smartphone, yeah, the standalone nav system is dead. But for those unwilling to pay the $40/month more that something like an iPhone costs, the standalone nav systems have an excellent role still to play.

Still might be a niche market (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636749)

If the GPS system continues to be maintained, there may still be a niche market for stand-alone GPS devices. I enjoy wilderness treks, often via canoe, and that's one area where a stand-alone GPS makes some sense. In such areas, there's usually no phone reception, and little need to worry about calendars, address books, or other such features. In the backcountry, my primary concern would be battery life, and any device with extraneous features would simply chew through more power faster.

My primary use for GPS is not navigation, however--it's for tracking my route once I return home. Somemay use GPS for wilderness navigation, but unless you are carrying a portable solar charger and/or extra batteries, they have limited uses on long trips. Ideally, I'd love to see self-contained GPS recorders (no screen or UI beyond a "recording" LED, and perhaps a control to allow the frequency of writes to flash) with attached solar cells, so I can simply carry the device and set it out in the sun to charge. That, however, is another topic, about an idea I'll never be able to afford to make happen.

Standalone GPS providers got caught. (1)

Annorax (242484) | more than 4 years ago | (#28636765)

My take on the issue of the sales drop is that the GPS market was approaching the point of market saturation already before the economic downturn, but the price points for the units had not started their normal trending down due to saturation market pressures.

When the economic downturn hit, the prices of the units were still high, but the market evaporated almost instantly. Had the prices already started coming down prior to the downturn, I think the unit sales would have been slightly better in the long run.

As it stands now, the consumer perception of the devices is that they're overpriced and not a necessity.

I know that I have sat on the sidelines waiting for the prices of the units to drop, and will most likely buy one now that the prices have corrected appropriately.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...