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Will Google and Android Kill Standalone GPS?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the wall-street-is-not-main-street dept.

Cellphones 439

xchg passes along a WiseAndroid piece on the drop in value of Garmin and TomTom shares following Google's announcement yesterday of Google Maps Navigation. "Shares of GPS device makers Garmin and TomTom plummeted... through a combination of their quarterly results and the launch of Google Maps Navigation. Following both low guidance for Garmin's next quarter as well as poor results from TomTom, shares for the two fell 16.4 percent and 20.8 percent respectively and remained low through the entire trading day after news of Google's free, turn-by-turn mapping service became public." Today Lauren Weinstein posted a number of reasons why standalone GPS won't go away any time soon.

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No (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924315)

Some of us don't want or need cellphones.

They still make standalone mp3 players and pdas and cameras.

They still even make standalone cell phones.

For Android to kill GPS, they would have to offer it cheaper than a standalone and provide a working GPS function that did not require a cell phone service contract for it to work.

Re:No (1, Interesting)

dintlu (1171159) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924439)

Before someone got the bright idea to add road maps and turn-by-turn directions to GPS units, they were used recreationally by hikers and other outdoorsy types, and commercially everywhere.

The few curmudgeons who refuse to use functional smartphones are a negligible market. Unintegrated commuter GPS units are going to fall by the wayside in a couple years, but the *original* applications for GPS in handheld devices aren't going anywhere.

Granted, hikers, industry, and the military are much smaller markets than Joe Sixpack, but they're still large enough to sustain the continued manufacture and production of GPS technology.

Re:No (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924541)

Granted...the military are much smaller markets

That's kinda sad considering that the military market is all that's left of America's economy.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924723)

hey, you can aways make a living on the other bigger market, the homeless.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924853)

Sure, if they allow payment in installments. It'll take at least 7 shopping carts of bottles and cans to pay for one 'o' those things. For all that hassle it better at least overlay the public restrooms, dumpsters, and soup kitchens.

Or I could just find a job by walking into the nearest military recruiting office...heeeeeeey, waitaminute!

Re:No (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924695)

Many phones play music - but the iPod market is still very strong.

Re:No (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924909)

Many computers play DVDs and have TV tuners, but the DVD and television markets are still pretty strong too.

Of course, things are converging slowly.

But IMO devices like GPSes need larger screens than you typically want for your phone, so until we get roll-up or HUD type displays then it's still better to have separate devices for everyday use.

UH? (1, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924331)

I thought garmin was about to make an android device [] , thus ensuring that they have nothing to worry (essentially a cellphone/gps hybrid or something, same as is released).

Re:UH? (1, Informative)

TheGreenNuke (1612943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924403)

You're referring to this [] . It's a reality and available now.

Re:UH? (1)

Drathos (1092) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924787)

No, the Nuvifone is not running Android.

Re:UH? (1)

markkezner (1209776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924805)

The Garmin Nuviphone G60 is a Linux device, but it does not run Android.

Relevant Engadget article. [] A quick google search will give you more sources.

Re:UH? (3, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924491)

If lots of people start using Google's free stuff, there'd be fewer people visiting:

And giving Garmin lots of $$$.

Garmin making an android device just shows that the Garmin bosses aren't in denial of what's going to happen to Garmin. It doesn't mean they have nothing to worry about.

Re:UH? (1, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924595)

Garmin's market cap is ~6B and TomTom's is less than 2B. Apple could buy either with cash on hand. Considering that GPS is a major feature and a major Apple competitor now controls that feature, I think Apple should seriously consider doing so.

Re:UH? (3, Insightful)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924711)

uh huh.. like Apple has any interest in nautical or aviation GPS hardware, or any of the other dozens of things Garmin does besides tell you how to get to the nearest McDonalds.

Guess TomTom and Garmin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924335)

will actually have to put some effort in, to add value to their standalone service.

My guess is they'll sue Google because their "free lunch" was taken away.

Well, maybe one day... (4, Insightful)

npcole (251514) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924361)

...when there is good, reliable, 3g coverage or better everywhere, and when data charges (especially when roaming abroad) are negligible. But frankly, the places I most need GPS are where coverage is poor and roaming charges are high.

Re:Well, maybe one day... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924379)

This new Google routing will actually cache locally your route. So unless you're starting out in BFE, more than likely you'll be covered.

Re:Well, maybe one day... (2, Interesting)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924421)

The military uses GPS for targeting. It's not going away until a higher-resolution replacement is found.

The GPS consumer market is a great way for the manufacturers to ditch the receivers that don't pass military QC.

Also, like you say, the most important places to have GPS are places where there isn't cell coverage. They still sell satellite phones for a reason. Not everyone used GPS to get to the store.

Re:Well, maybe one day... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924557)

It is not the GPS satellite constellation that will be replaced, but the standalone consumer GPS navigation devices. Once every cellphone comes with GPS facilities and navigation software, who needs to buy standalone units from TomTom or Garwin? Smartphones have been taking market from PDA companies like Palm for years now. GPS navigation is just the next application to be done by smartphones instead of custom hardware.

I still see a market for standalone units embedded in cars, much like car radios come integrated, but dedicated portable GPS devices are going the way of the dodo.

Re:Well, maybe one day... (1)

rotide (1015173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924709)

I don't think so. Frankly, I enjoy having a phone that is small-ish and clam shell design.

But even if I liked having an iPhone size screen on my phone, I still want something easily readable. As it stands, the iPhone has what, a 3.5" screen? I prefer my 4.3" Garmin when it's sitting a few feet away and I still need it to be easily readable.

Yes, phones can be bigger, but do you really want huge phones just so they have the ability for dual use dash GPS use?

Standalone GPS will survive for those that want standalone GPS. Phones may come with it and take a bite out of the standalone market, no doubt, but it won't kill it anymore than TV's with DVD players built in killed the standalone DVD player market (or phones with games killed the hand held game market).

Re:Well, maybe one day... (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924879)

In regards to screen size, research is already being done to move user interaction away from screens in general. Think projection [] , direct retinal display [] , etc.

Re:Well, maybe one day... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924979)

Actually, phones with games have not killed the hand held game market for a couple of practical reasons namely the software platform performance, human interface, developers. Once you start having platforms with larger displays and multi-touch interfaces however, the tables start turning rapidly. Mobile phone GPS has none of those issues.

TV's with builtin DVD players have nothing to do with it.

Re:Well, maybe one day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924637)

Hey, there's an app ^W^W a map for that.

Needs internet connection (4, Insightful)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924375)

It sounds like the maps will still only be hosted by Google, rather than stored on the device as with standalone GPSs. As long as that's the case, there will probably still be standalone units.

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924499)

I agree. When we go on vacation in central NY (Cooperstown area), the cell reception is pretty spotty, let alone use AGPS. If my maps go away, I'm lost.

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924581)

> If my maps go away, I'm lost.

That reminds me of this: []

Perhaps in the future Google will launch "Google Life Navigation Beta" ;).

Re:Needs internet connection-troll?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924567)

Which idiot modded the above troll?

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924569)

How can this be modded troll?

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924603)

It's modded troll because the truth is that while all maps are not stored on the unit, maps for the current route are cached locally. As long as you have service when you start driving and you don't go too far out of your way, you'll be fine.

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

woodchip (611770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924755)

As an iPhone user, this is one of the reasons I give the iPhone four out of five stars. You can't run multiple aps at once, and if you accidentally exit out of your GPS application while driving (which include inbound calls) you lose the cache, and you are now lost unless you have enough cell phone service to download the map again.

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924871)

Google isn't dumb.

What if you could "preload" maps of areas you are likely to be in ahead of time into your device? My phone (Blackberry 8330) has a microSD card that could hold all the maps of any place I might head to on vacation. In fact, because it is a microSD card, I could preload many cards with maps and have them available.

While I'm sure the early versions of gMaps and gNavigate will not have this available, I would suspect that Google will no doubt figure out that this gaping whole (no goatse here please). Quite frankly though, having GPS on a phone is almost worthless to me, because if I'm in an area with Cell coverage, I'm not lost. And if I am lost, it is because there is no cell coverage.

Just in case my wife is reading /. "NO we're not lost, we're on an adventure and exploring! Isn't this FUN!!!"

Re:Needs internet connection (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924949)

It'll be an interesting battle of philosophies there. Nobody wants to miss a turn because the Google map didn't download in time, but on the other hand nobody wants to pay $70 to Garmin every time they need to update their maps.

Computer (4, Funny)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924387)

I don't want to talk to a computer unless it has Majel Roddenberry's voice.

Re:Computer (2, Funny)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924461)

(picking up mouse and talking into it) "Computer?"

Oh, a keyboard. How quaint.

He essentially makes no argument (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924391)

Just rambles that since Google maps doesn't work without having constant data uplink then it can not be used? Bollocks.

If standalone units can store all their maps then so can smart phones and other generic devices.
The end of standalone GPS devices is very near if that's the only argument that can be made for them.

Hard to monetize a free service (1, Insightful)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924393)

GPS is a free service. It's no wonder that it would become hard to make money off of it after awhile. At least Tom Tom and Garmin aren't crying for a bailout.

Re:Hard to monetize a free service (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924483)

You clearly haven't been paying attention to the bottled water market...

Re:Hard to monetize a free service (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924689)

Because it should be free to have large ships truck it up to the Arctic circle, grab chunks of ice, and haul it back.

Re:Hard to monetize a free service (1)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924983)

The GPS signals are free. What costs money is having accurate maps and intelligent routing software and making it all fit on a portable device. Google gets around that by having the maps and brains located on a server and relying on quality cell reception to get the information to the (dumb) client.

wait... (1, Funny)

sandwichbutton (1667763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924419)

does this mean that using the north star for gps is obsolete then?

Re:wait... (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924615)

Yes, but using the Fist of the North Star for ass-kicking is still okay.

Not yet (3, Interesting)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924425)

I didn't read the article, of course, but right away my first thought is trying to use the GPS and be on the phone at the same time would be a problem in an all-in-one style device. Of course you shouldn't be on the phone (technically, perhaps), but we do it anyways. At least I do. I won't speak for the rest of you since I know at least one person will say that of course they never do and I'm evil for doing it. But I know I've used my GPS and phone at the same time in general, let alone finding some difficult place that isn't fully locatable in GPS. Back roads, unlisted roads, mismatched turns, etc.

Re:Not yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924963)

Perhaps you would be interested in this nifty feature called "speakerphone"?

Proposed question is stupid (1, Interesting)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924427)

Will stand alone GPS be killed? Of course not! The military and civil navigation systems use it in stand alone settings and they will continue to do so. GPS can't disappear and the only valid question here is "Would Garmin or TomTom go out of business because of google or android?". The answer is still no because they won't die, and if they do it's not because of google or android alone.

Inevitable (-1, Flamebait)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924429)

A GPS device is in every cell phone in accordance with US law. Of course people will use that instead if they're permitted. Why carry a separate and often bulky device?

The only solution I see to this is to ban access to the built in device to all but emergency responders... If we don't write some protection laws quickly we'll surely see the end of companies like Garmin.

Re:Inevitable (1)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924627)

A GPS device is in every cell phone in accordance with US law.

Not technically true.

Seriously, WTF? (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924671)

The only solution I see to this is to ban access to the built in device to all but emergency responders... If we don't write some protection laws quickly we'll surely see the end of companies like Garmin.

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Fucking. Kidding. I'm being forced to pay for a GPS device built into my phone, but now you want to deny me the use of it... because it would interfere with Garmin's profit margin? Here's a news flash, partner - Garmin is not entitled to legal protection of their profits. If I bought the damn GPS, I should get to use it.

No. (5, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924441)

1) It doesn't work EVERYWHERE. I'm not talking about everywhere with a wireless signal. I'm talking about EVERYWHERE.
2) I'm not going to pay a monthly fee to use something. I paid Microsoft $X for Streets & Trips. It's one of the rare programs that I will spend the time to virtualize. It's gotten me east coast to west coast with only 1 problem, and that was user error (Grand Canyon Park is NOT the same as "Grand Canyon", the geographic center. Though it was an interesting drive into nothing).
3) AT&T is choking hard with a ton of people browsing the web. Imagine if everyone on the road suddenly was streaming a few K/s. It would bring the network to its knees. I somehow doubt that AT&T is going to pull through and upgrade.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924617)

3) AT&T is choking hard with a ton of people browsing the web. Imagine if everyone on the road suddenly was streaming a few K/s. It would bring the network to its knees. I somehow doubt that AT&T is going to pull through and upgrade.

Dear Android,

Thank you for causing every person and car to stream a few Kb/s constantly and requiring massive infrastructure upgrades.

Your friend,

Cisco Shareholders

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924679)

Yes, but the google app caches some tiles, and there are other options which work with completely offline maps:

AndNav [] for Android

Atlas [] for iPhone, or if you want turn by turn navigation something like the TomTom [] app, which also has offline road maps.

Standalone GPS systems are becoming less and less important, and eventually will probably just merge into multifunction devices. The days of Garmin gouging users on every map upgrade and charging lots of standalone units are gone.

Other GPS apps (1)

alexo (9335) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924779)

Continuing on that tangent, what navigation apps for smartphones are considered "the best" regardless of the platform (Android, Symbian, Win-Mobile, etc.)?

Re:No. (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924741)

Good thing Droid, the first phone to introduce this turn-by-turn Google Maps, is coming out on Verizon.

Re:No. (2, Informative)

nmos (25822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924935)

1) It doesn't work EVERYWHERE. I'm not talking about everywhere with a wireless signal. I'm talking about EVERYWHERE.

I don't think that'll be a limitation for long. Some smart phones already have real GPS chips rather that just AGPS and there is no reason they couldn't store maps locally. I think the Droid already pre-caches maps along any route you select so it shouldn't be hard to extend that functionality a bit.


Missing Factor... (2, Insightful)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924445)

Will Google and Android Kill Standalone GPS?

Will Google and Android and Verizon Kill Standalone GPS?

Will replace my Garmin when ... (4, Insightful)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924455)

I'll personally replace my outdoors-oriented Garmin when I can get a bicycle-mountable, rucksack-clippable, fully waterproof (i.e. submerge for a significant length of time, not just splashproof), robust and accurate GPS device. That doesn't cost more than I paid for the Garmin in the first place. And can run on AA batteries for long periods of time, so I can swap batteries when they run down.

In fact, I probably still won't replace my Garmin even if they match those features. If I'm trekking around outdoors with the thing, it's nice to know that losing or smashing it won't result in the loss of my phone, address book, PDA, MP3 and video player, camera ... I like the idea of having everything available in one device but for some applications it's nicer not to have all my eggs in one valuable (in monetary, information and functionality terms) device.

For stuff like car satnav devices I can see GPS-enabled phones making more of a dent, since the top of a car dashboard is a much friendlier environment for a phone. Moreover it's somewhere you'd probably want a phone anyhow, so you can use it handsfree, listen to music, etc. The really slick car satnav designs are integrated into the dash, though. Given we've already seen ipod docks built into cars, maybe in the future we're looking at a much more full-featured dock that'll connect the phone to audio, dash display, GPS antenna, etc. On the other hand, given computers are cheap and get cheaper, maybe that'll be unnecessary as the car will have bucketloads of integrated computers already.

Re:Will replace my Garmin when ... (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924925)


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). There's a way to edit some of this in Google's "My Maps" Editor on the Android, and it's cool that it shows up in your PC without syncing, but it is cumbersome as hell. 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.

Interesting note about the demography: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924459)

Google's set of software does not facilitate navigation on seas in any way at all, which is a business area that f.e. Garmin is one of the top actors in, and most likely will stay there unless Google would happen to introduce nautical charts (AND keep them up-to-date).

And, yes, there are people who fare on the seas.

Re:Interesting note about the demography: (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924549)

ahem... ge ography

Re:Interesting note about the demography: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924827)

no, "dem ography"; as in, the demography (the statistics, nature, distribution etc.) of the possible uses of these products.

Re:Interesting note about the demography: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924635)

And, yes, there are people who fare on the seas.

There's a term for that. Boat Drivers, I think.

Not with current battery life and robustness (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924477)

Phones are relatively fragile, and their batteries are relatively feeble; by comparison my hiking GPS takes two easy-swapped AA's and gives 12-16 hours of use from them, and it takes all the abuse I can think to give it.

I wouldn't want to risk my phone-GPS running down my phone-phone: that's a safety fail just waiting to happen.

These arguments don't apply to driving GPS, where there's power available, or mooching-round-town GPS, where trips are short and safety non-critical. So smartphone GPS won't kill the dedicated device, but it'll reduce it back to a niche item for outdoorsy types.

Android GPS - works for US only (5, Insightful)

ramunas (771197) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924503)

Here's my problem with the android GPS, and for that matter with cell phone google maps - it all works perfectly when you live in a huge country, and where the possibility that you might need to use the navigation features offered by GPS without ever leaving the country is fairly large - hence you are not really worried about the data charges, since you are using the same operator.

BUT. If like me, you live in a small European country, where within the country there is practically no need for the GPS because you know most of the country by heart. Thus the only reason for using a car GPS navigation is when you leave the country. But that's exactly the moment the huge roaming data charges begin to apply. Therefore the only practically viable option unless you don't care how much you spend on your phone costs is by using an offline solution like a Tom-tom or Garmin device.

Re:Android GPS - works for US only (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924697)

If like me, you live in a small European country, where within the country there is practically no need for the GPS because you know most of the country by heart. Thus the only reason for using a car GPS navigation is when you leave the country.

What about cities you've never been to before, or even just areas or shops close by that you've never been to before? Or what if you're in a place you know perfectly well how to drive to, but don't know where the nearest doctor/petrol station/whatever is - ie. a POI which will be marked on your GPS?

I live in the UK and yep, I found my standalone TomTom very useful when driving in France. But I also find it useful when I go about four miles away into the nearest town if I'm looking for a shop on a street I've never been to before. Or fifty miles to some city I can drive to the centre of but have no idea where the particular concert hall or whatever is. I also live close to London and work in there - the only people with a complete knowledge of how to drive round London are the London black cab drivers who've done The Knowledge test - mere mortals such as myself don't stand a chance of ever learning it all.

There's a lot more use for a GPS than just switching countries or driving huge distances.


Re:Android GPS - works for US only (2, Funny)

middlemen (765373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924915)

the London black cab drivers

Hey! It's African American dude!

Re:Android GPS - works for US only (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924771)

Why does it work for the US only? Google Maps are most certainly available in other countries, and just because you have no need for a GPS doesn't discount it. TomTom is based out of Europe, for one.

Re:Android GPS - works for US only (1)

ramunas (771197) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924885)

Well it works best for US, and other large countries where data plans don't become the main issue when going somewhere interesting in the sense that you might need to use your gps device.

The reasons why it fails to be of any use to me and most people who live in similarly sized countries are given in the original post :)

Re:Android GPS - works for US only (2)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924849)

If like me, you live in a small European country, where within the country there is practically no need for the GPS because you know most of the country by heart.

How small? Monaco?

There are two situations where I feel GPS is useful for driving:

  1. For the last few miles of your journey to an unfamiliar town. I can easily find my way from London to Manchester without GPS. Sat Nav is a big help finding my way to a specific street address once I'm there.

  2. For finding back-roads, when the route you know is blocked. There's really only one 'A' road leading from my parent's home in West Wales, to the Midlands. When a motorbike accident caused the police to close it for several hours, satnav was able to guide me over the hills on single-track unpaved roads, around the blockage.

I really can't think of a European country small enough that you could know it well enough to avoid these benefits.

Re:Android GPS - works for US only (1)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924965)

Unless you live in Liechtenstein or Vatican City I have a hard time believing you've memorized every single road in your country.

Not until it stores the maps local on the device (1)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924515)

All well and good it's free, and even if I could pre-plan a route and store that info on the deivce, it still creates big headaches when i can't access a cellular network data service and I want to search for something.

Also, my understanding is this is at best a basic GPS, turn by turn with limited lane identification, but no real-time route updates, automatic traffic reporting, etc.

For the casual user on their once or twice a year road trip to a popular destination, it's fine. For people who spend their lives on the road, it's not good enough. We'll see version 2...

Also, I'm SURE Garmin, TomTom, and the others all have some hard core patents in place ensuring noone's going to offer a competing system at better pricing.

Re:Not until it stores the maps local on the devic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924803)

Watch the video! It does traffic!

Re:Not until it stores the maps local on the devic (1)

Dudibob (1556875) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924881)

Did you RTFA from Google? [] I'm sure there will be some bugs but it looks like it ticks most of your boxes. Also better pricing? the software itself is FREE, the only down side is carrier charges to access it.

May replace the base OS but not the devices. (3, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924531)

Maybe Garmin/TomTom will replace their current OS with Android. However, I don't see any outdoorsman/athlete tossing their Garmin device for a GPS enabled cell phone. Why? Garmin devices are purpose built, they can be strapped to my wrist, my arm, they are waterproof, I can easily mount it to the handlebars of my mountain/road bike, they have heart rate monitors built in, I can attach a secondary transponder to my dogs when they are out herding so I know where they are.

I also love the fact that they can download maps from the National Geographic Topographic Map Series [] . Now there's nothing that would stop someone from writing a android app to interface with these maps. But currently google maps doesn't help me out on the trail.

Garmin is a brand and people buy their products for the features, nobody buys Garmin b/c of the underlying OS.

Geocaching? Hiking? (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924559)

There are plenty of reasons that a route-based GPS is not all-encompassing (pun intended); a lot of places are not available by road, or the road ended long ago and now the GPS is saying you're essentially in a brown or green void.

I can see that this is not necessarily ...mainstream..., but I've found that for hiking, geocaching, etc., I can use the TomTom to get me to the closest road or parking lot, and then I switch to (of all things) the iPhone 3gs for everything else, because of the compass and some excellent tracking software that's come out for it.

Don't Garmin and TomTom also provide the in-dash GPS for cars? I would think that would be a pretty good amount of $$$ too.

Re:Geocaching? Hiking? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924891)

Right, now imagine having both on one device.

Google's Satnav app for getting you to the nearest parking lot, then switching over to a Geocaching app like BlackStar for the Blackberry or Geocaching's iPhone app for the "final sprint" to the cache.

Personally, I have a Blackberry and since I started using BlackStar I pretty much abandoned my dedicated GPS. The ability to just say "show me the 20 caches nearest to me right now" and go find one on the spur of the moment, then log it immediately - that's too compelling to ignore, and is FAR better than a dedicated unit.

I rarely need turn-by-turn directions and can't justify the cost of having a dedicated GPS unit in my car. When I need turn-by-turn, I use Google Maps for Blackberry (which is clumsy) or something like Nav4All. Both require signal to get maps, but both cache the route and basic roads upon calculation of the route. So even if I lose signal enroute I can get where I need to go. And for the very casual use I employ, that works.

If I did a lot of car navigation, I'd probably buy a dedicated navigation unit that doesn't require a continuous connection. But a lot of people like me only need it occasionally, and we always have our Crackberries with us.

I suspect companies like TeleNav probably see a lot more threat to this than companies like Garmin. There will always be a decent market for devices that need to be rugged, have long battery life, and keep the maps onboard. There will NOT always be a decent market for navigation software that runs on existing smartphones, if Google decides to expand this to other platforms.

Not a chance (4, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924563)

I go hiking/camping nearly every-other weekend during the summer and even some in winter. Cell signals are poor to non-existent (when they do exist, it's never 3g) and I might have not have access to a power source for a couple days up to a week.

Good luck with finding a cell-phone that can fit that bill.

Re:Not a chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924649)

I don't think that's really the intention here. This is an urban device (which consists of 99% of their potential user base).

Not anytime soon. (1)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924607)

As someone who travels by car to go backpacking/skiing/kayaking on the weekends, my trusty Garmin Streetpilot 2610 will not be replaced by any kind of device requiring a data link for a long time to come. Why? Because when you're driving to a remote location that you've never been to before, your iPhone/Android device's signal is likely to crap out just when you need it most -- which is, the last couple of miles to your destination after getting off the interstate. Google Maps can't help you when you're 20 miles from the nearest cell tower. Maybe this would be feasible in European countries where cell coverage is approaching 100%, but here in the US I often can't get decent cell coverage in my office, let alone the Adirondacks.

Why do they keep doing this? (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924639)

I love how ignorant tech writers love calling something the "killer". Kind of like how PDAs are dead and Palm back in its day started coming up with new acronyms to compensate for this death. PDAs never died, they changed into smartphones. Kind of like how GPS units won't die, they'll roll into converged units. Smartphones with standalone GPS units that use AGPS as an assist will start popping up more and more. Hopefully the obnoxious paid services like VZnav will disappear with time.

Walmart, I mean Google Strikes Again! (2, Insightful)

sumbry (644145) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924673)

In the same way that Walmart comes into a town and destroys local businesses, Google can enter into an industry/sector and destroy most of the competition overnight by giving an application away for free. Who is going to pay $100 for a Maps Application now (or more for a hardware device) when they can just download one for free.

Isn't this the same type of stuff we accused Microsoft of doing years ago? Yup, Walmart, I mean Google strikes again. Pray whatever industry you're in Google doesn't decide to suddenly release a free product.

Off-road usage (1)

puddles (147314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924703)

We tend to go to places where cellphone reception is next to impossible (Death Valley, Moab, out kayaking on on open waters, etc.) You really need standalone GPS with proper maps for this sort of activities.

Other applications (1)

MaerD (954222) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924747)

People tend to forget that gps has other applications outside of a car. Dedicated uses, such as air navigation, ship navigation, etc are unlikely to be replaced soon. And in those applications, Garmin pretty much is the standard (not to say there aren't others, but honestly, Garmin doesn't have much to worry about at this point).

Not the end, but the writing is on the wall (2, Insightful)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924757)

No one is saying GPS units are obsolete. What this does say is that there will be a lot less margin in devices that are now one-trick ponies.

Another reason I doubt this will happen (2, Informative)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924773)

Others have commented on issues like lack of ruggedization and local caching of maps (at least for some device/software combinations), and display size and mountability to stuff like mountain bikes. Another reason why dedicated GPS devices probably aren't going away any time soon: quality of the GPS receiver itself. The GPS receiver built into the iPhone, at least, is sort of weak sauce. While it works well enough in a car, if you get any kind of overhead obstruction at all (even a few tree branches, for example), the signal quickly drops to essentially nothing. This is why TomTom felt the need to offer an external GPS receiver as part of their iPhone car kit.

Don't get me wrong, I really like the GPS built into my iPhone, and frequently find it useful... but it's far from a complete replacement for a standalone device.

Wrong question (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924791)

Will smartphones kill all the devices that are converging to them? Why stop at GPS when from clocks and calculators to netbooks (including cameras, ebook readers and music players, of course) all are possibly being replaced by smartphones?

No. You're stupid for thinking this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924801)

No. You're stupid for thinking this. Here, check this out.

Will portable gaming systems kill home gaming systems?
Will cell phones kill landline phones?
Will firefox kill internet explorer?


The 2nd will always have a market, if not smaller, because some people just don't have a need for the first one or like the second one enough to keep it around.

Garmin not just for those eTrex units (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924813)

Garmin makes all sorts of products besides standalone GPS. They make specialized GPS units for use in various sports. They make aviation GPS and marine GPS. And they make modules to be incorporated into other products. Most of those they've been making longer than they've been in the handheld business. They're not going to die if the handheld and auto GPS markets are severely cut into by cellphones.

Probably (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924817)

One issue with phone based GPS units is that they go stupid when there's no cell coverage. Thats easily fixed: Just load the map database onto the unit ahead of time. My standalone Garmin has a map update that comes on DVD that fits on a 2GB memory card with space to spare. With a smartphone with 8GB+ you could easily put the whole US/Canada database on it, or just the part of the country you need.

Garmin had this available for PDAs a while back, before flash memory was cheap. They could release a loadable database you put on the SD card in your Android phone and an app to use it loaded in the phone. They'd probably have better margins on that product than the standalone one.

Another issue with handhelds as car units is satellite visibility. That's where a well done car cradle can help. Charging is done as you go, or you can go wild and have a setup that integrates an external antenna.

Pure online map solutions aren't a good replacement for a standalone, but with cheap memory these days there's no reason a phone can't contain a map database, suplemented by additional information ( like StreetView or aerial photos ) when wireless coverage is available. Loading the entire map database into the unit would not likely be free though.

DVDs (1)

wren337 (182018) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924825)

Remember when they added DVD drives to computers, and everyone stopped buying DVD players? Good times.
I mean, why would anyone need both?

No (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924831)

Rephrase the question: Will a GPS solution that requires a 3G connection to work replace a stand-alone solution? No, at least in those areas which don't have good 3G connectivity -- like almost anywhere I'd want to go hiking, for instance. Hell, I've driven in suburbs where Google Maps on the Android didn't work, and I was forced to navigate the old fashioned way. Yeah, the article says the same thing.

As a side note, the Google Maps data is not always correct. What Google Maps shows as the street my house is on is not a street at all, but rather the driveway of one of my neighbors. Vendors keep telling me "Oh no, I don't need directions, I've got GPS!" then wind up at my neighbor's house, and THEN they call for directions.

On-Board GPS (1)

Pikkebaas (1665451) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924833)

On-board devices will snuff out standalone GPS far quicker than Android with google maps ever will.

Boats, anyone? (1)

jackjumper (307961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924835)

I doubt it will do any good while I'm out on my boat. I have a Garmin chartplotter GPS that shows marine chart information. Of course I guess there's no reason they couldn't add it, for coastal and inland waters anyways.

At least you don't get reamed for updated maps (1)

Mike Van Pelt (32582) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924857)

Maybe this will apply some pressure on Garmin and/or TomTom to not gouge quite so heavily for updated maps. (It's in the neighborhood of $70 to upgrade your maps the last time I looked, which makes one question whether to update the maps or just buy a newer, perhaps more feature-laden, device. Which is likely the reason for the gouge.)

I've heard various descriptions of what the location technology in these phones is -- Recently, a fairly knowledgeable person said that "assisted GPS" meant it used cell phones to get the ephemeris data to greatly speed up GPS start-up time, and was real GPS from there. If it's receiving the GPS signals, though, there's no reason in principle why it couldn't get the ephemeris data the old-fashioned way, from the satellites, if you were out of cell phone range.

That wouldn't help with the maps when you're out of cell phone range, though, unless they provide some way to pre-download them, at least for an area you're intending to visit.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29924939)

No thanks, I prefer my TomTom ONE 3rd edition, complete with

- Decently sized screen.
- No expensive cell phone data plan required.
- No recurring service charges unless I want a map update.

Some day (1)

Etherized (1038092) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924951)

There's really no reason to have all of these different devices, when the functionality can be properly collapsed into one.

We're not there yet, and there will always be some standalone GPS devices for very specific purposes. But as the general purpose devices get smaller and better, the single-function units will gradually be relegated to the margins.

Another reason (1)

Yurka (468420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924953)

Google street maps are not by Google (so far; this may change, of course). TomTom owns Tele Atlas (which owns GDT), and is therefore one of only 2 companies with established road network data business (the other one being Nokia, nee NAVTEQ - and Tele Atlas has always had a better coverage outside North America). The exponential explosion in geocoding devices cannot be anything but good for the licensing revenue of these 2 companies. Garmin, though, has no prayer in this segment and would do good to concentrate on hiking market.

Standalone not going away but will shrink (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924957)

I don't think standalone GPS is going to go away but it is probably going to drop significantly in marketshare. Between cars with built in GPS and phones with GPS options, the handheld units are going to go the way of the standalone PDA to some degree. They're useful and right now because they outperform the phone based GPS systems but much like MP3 players they are going to get increasingly integrated. There might me a small remaining market for standalone units but only so long as they can offer features not available on phones AND not in the car. I have a Garmin Nuvi but I only use it now when I'm traveling because my primary car has a built in GPS and my phone can't do the job adequately. If my phone could do the job I'd have little use for the Garmin and I've seen GPS systems for the iPhone that are approaching that level of performance. I think it might take another 5-10 years for the standalone units to lose most of their marketshare but I don't see them offering anything that would justify a separate device in the long term. Certainly not anywhere near the number of devices around right now anyway. I can see a few inexpensive low end standalone units but nothing more without some significant technological innovations.

Sharing? (3, Insightful)

edmicman (830206) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924971)

My wife can take our Garmin in her car if she needs it or I could let a friend borrow it; I'm not going to lend my phone to someone to use as a GPS. Sure, I'll find it useful to have a working GPS on my phone, for like most things (camera, gps) I'm gonna go with the dedicated device for when I really need quality.

the future (1)

fulldecent (598482) | more than 4 years ago | (#29924973)

Imagine what will happen when the iphone will actually support bluetooth internet. garmins and other not-monthly-subscription devices can be left in the car an still have access to updates when you walk in the car.

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