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Thursday, June 6, 2013

GPS Makers Are Integrating Smartphone Functionality In Their Devices

Magellan SmartGPS®
GPS devices are losing ground in the current market thanks to smartphones. I personally can't remember the last time I used my Garmin Nuvi 3790T. All my navigation these days is done with my iPhone 5 and AppRadio 2. GPS makers, however, won't go out so easily. Many of them are now integrating smartphone functionality in their devices thereby using your cell phone's data connection to enhance your driving experience.

Take the Magellan SmartGPS for example. This device looks like any other GPS device except that it connects to your smartphone running the SmartGPS app (iPhone or Android phone) via Bluetooth to open up many more features than just navigating. When connected to a wireless network, for example, it updates useful information like gas prices, points of interest, traffic delays etc. to help make your ride easier. The GPS uses social tools like Yelp and Foursquare to retrieve "valuable information and reviews from real people" based on your location. Yes, this isn't a car stereo but it does few of the things an AppRadio would do for you at a lower price. The Magellan SmartGPS retails for $249.99.

Garmin nuvi® 3597LMTHD
Then there is the Garmin nüvi® 3597LMTHD that uses their app 'Smartphone Link' running on your smartphone (iPhone or Android phone) to give access to Garmin Live Services (a free or subscription service), real-time information on weather and traffic conditions. The device has a 5" hi-res display with dual-orientation capability. The Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD is priced at $349.99.

The pricing of GPS devices has fallen considerably over the last few years. Even though they integrate a few smartphone features, devices like the Magellan SmartGPS and Garmin nüvi 3597LMTHD are a tough sell. People use their smartphones directly for navigation these days. GPS devices, however, have the advantage of working much better around cities with tall buildings or working at all in places where cell phone signal isn't available.

I think it's only a matter of time before GPS makers integrate native smartphone apps in their devices and expand smartphone connectivity to make the two devices work seamlessly with each other. There's no doubt that there is an attempt to make the driving experience smarter, hopefully without being too distracting.

Picture Sources: Magellan® and Garmin®

1 comment :

  1. What I'd love to see is this:

    1. use your smartphone to figure out where you're going, via Google Maps or Apple's equivalent.
    2. Integrate with standalone GPS (probably via bluetooth) to pass the chosen destination from the phone to the GPS unit.
    3. Use the standalone GPS while you're driving to navigate to your destination.

    This would save battery life of the phone (my phone DRAINS the battery while on the charger if I'm using it to navigate), and it would also help avoid cellphone tickets.


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