supergerardo Posted December 21, 2008 Share Posted December 21, 2008 I'm not an expert and I'm not even an experienced GPS user, so take this with a grain of salt. These are just some (possibly naive) observations by someone new to the GPS market. While shopping for a handheld GPS I noticed there are no ideal ALL AROUND handheld gps units, no matter how much money one has to spend. While there may have been great improvements compared to past models, handheld gps technology looks a little sorry compared to other consumer sectors such as car gps units, digital cameras, cell phones, pda's etc. I'd venture to say all of the handheld devices on the market right now seem to have major shortcomings in one or more of the following areas: Poor battery life Poor screen visibility in certain lighting conditions Low screen resolution Larger than necessary casing (even compact models such as the etrex have lots of empty space) Criminally bad interface software Again, I'm talking all around units. Many people who swear by an Etrex/60gsx use a nuvi in the car till they get near the cache. A Vista Csx Might be great when backpacking, but navigating in an area with a dense grid of city streets is less than ideal due to the low resolution screen. An oregon might be ideal for for most situations, but try taking it on a two week backpacking trip (how many batteries would that take?) So where am I going with this? Companies that have the resources to develop new, sophisticated gps units (garmin) seem to have taken their eye off the ball. Emphasis on features and eye candy have resulted in bulky, power hungry devices. They look sexy in the store, but are less than ideal for their intended purpose. Here's a couple of ideas for someone who wishes to dominate the handheld GPS market: 1. Use an ELECTROPHORETIC SCREEN (aka "epaper") like the screen in the amazon kindle and the sony e-reader. These screens have outstanding visibility without a backlight and have extremely low power consumption (4mw - 16mw for a 5 inch screen, the kindle runs for a week on a charge). They are also high resolution, flexible (no cracking) and inexpensive (so cheap esquire used one built into a magazine cover in october). Yes, the ones available now are not color, but I believe the high resolution, high visibility and low power consumption would more make up for this deficiency. FYI, if you have never seen an epaper screen in person, they look great. The first time I saw one I thought the screen was covered by a piece of paper for display purposes. 2. Use a lithium polymer USER REPLACEABLE battery. Preferably in a NON PROPRIETARY package such as rechargeable 3.7v cr-v3. If the Oregon or the PN-40 used a rechargeable cr-v3 battery the weight would drop by 1/2 oz and the battery life would be 70% better. 3. Carefully design the unit so it is as compact as possible. Nobody wants to carry a giant brick gps in their pocket. Palm TREO size = good, Brick phone = bad. There's a reason you don't see people carrying phones like this around anymore: http://www.thecopperwire.com/gecko.gif If your cell phone looked like a PN-40, I bet you'd be pretty embarrassed when you made a phone call. There are many, many, many other ways you could screw up a gps design (I'm sure I ways I cannot imagine) but this is a start. Oh, and please correct me if I'm wrong/an idiot/whatever. Quote Link to comment
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