A European Bloomberg reporter wrote an article about the business side of personal navigation devices. An industry analyst said that sales of standalone personal navigation devices are in a terminal decline. TomTom and Garmin execs disagree and think the market will grow for at least a couple more years.
Analysts in the Bloomberg report point out that car navigation devices are becoming more popular and smart phones are becoming the PND of choice.
I think the days of standalone portable GPS devices are numbered. There will always be room for specialty devices, such as those tailored for outdoorsmen, but I don’t think consumers will rush out to buy dedicated units once they get used to using their phones’ GPS capabilities.
Auto manufacturers charge a steep premium for in-car navigation units, but I think that will also change. I finally got a car with a built-in navigation system and the experience is miles ahead of any standalone GPS unit I’ve ever used. It has a nice big display and I like that its in the dashboard, rather than hanging onto it for dear life. It recognizes my voice commands and is fully integrated with the rest of the car’s electronics. This means it knows to stop barking commands while I’m on a phone call.
The Bloomberg article didn’t mention the fact that more computers are shipping with GPS modules and 3G cards add GPS capabilities to portable computers.
I’ve long since ditched my Garmin GPS and primarily use my car’s built-in navigation system. When I’m on foot or out of town I use my Viliv S5 and iPhone 3GS.
Do you agree with the analyst’s ‘terminal decline’ prediction? Or do you think you’ll be buying one sometime soon?