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The future of the GPSr


mikemtn
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Just my personal opinion but I disagree with the article. On most all of the items they listed. In regards to the GPS I'll always need a stand alone unit because I'll never own a smart phone. I refuse to pay the costs montly to have said smart phone as there is no value in it for myself. The article kind of reminded me of the class story you would write in High School about where you would be in 20 years. Fun to write, fun to read. But not even close to the truth.

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If you read the article intro...

Sure, you may still be able to find these products for sale in certain niche stores, but they will no longer be produced for a mass-market audience.
and specifically what it says about stand-alone GPS devices...
If there is a demand for these GPS systems, it will likely come from a very specific segment of consumers.

I'm not sure how anyone could vehemently disgree with such a soft and generalized prediction. Geocachers as a group are indeed a "very specific segment" as are outdoor adventurers and hikers. But that's not the mass market that's going away. Joe Naviguesser who needs a GPS to find Walmart is the mass market -- and he's got that feature in his cellphone.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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Sure, you may still be able to find these products for sale in certain niche stores, but they will no longer be produced for a mass-market audience.

 

that's quite a bold statement, literally, he doesn't say "may no longer be available" he is actually making a statement with certainty...to me that is ignorance

more so since he doesn't even mention geocaching, there's millions of us out there :anibad:

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Although I do agree that GPS enabled smart phones are more popular than ever, there's still the durability issue in regards to battery life and rough use. My GPSr is pretty much waterproof as is virtually every other handheld "stand alone" device. Dropping an iphone into a creek or onto a rock will probably mark the end of it's use.

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I think I both agree and disagree. I think standalone GPSr will still be around albeit a smaller market segment. Wrist watches are still here, and they were on the list around a decade ago and now are worn more as jewelry.

 

Aside from phones, I think you will see GPSr's integrated more into other devices, laptops, cameras, tablets, vehicles, etc. Also, there are new devices on the horizon that as they become more popular the price point will become more practical. Things like HUDs in sunglasses, prescription, etc are already available in skiing goggles and HuDs on vehicles. With enough imagination, you can imagine jewelry such as rings and pendants or BT headsets having GPSr's built in.

 

Hey, Gene Roddenberry foresaw the cell phone way back in 1964 and less than 10 years later (1973) the cell phone emerged and today they basically have a lesser version of a tricoder built in. Now if someone could just get that holodeck to market, the world will be complete. B)

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Whoever those "analysts" are, I think they're full of it. Their prediction seems to be that everything will move towards all-in-one devices. That's been predicted decades ago, it hasn't happen and it won't happen. Dedicated specialized devices will always be superior.

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Whoever those "analysts" are, I think they're full of it. Their prediction seems to be that everything will move towards all-in-one devices. That's been predicted decades ago, it hasn't happen and it won't happen. Dedicated specialized devices will always be superior.

I agree. Another thing about smart phones is that a lot of geocachers log their find right then and there at GZ. Often, this leads to brevity in the body of their logs and I see a lot of "TFTC's" and very short reports. (of course, not all "short" logs may be from smart phone logging)

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Whoever those "analysts" are, I think they're full of it. Their prediction seems to be that everything will move towards all-in-one devices. That's been predicted decades ago, it hasn't happen and it won't happen. Dedicated specialized devices will always be superior.

I agree. Another thing about smart phones is that a lot of geocachers log their find right then and there at GZ. Often, this leads to brevity in the body of their logs and I see a lot of "TFTC's" and very short reports. (of course, not all "short" logs may be from smart phone logging)

Not to mention a god send to the stalkers. :ph34r:

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I refuse to pay the costs montly to have said smart phone as there is no value in it for myself.

 

Just an FYI. Not sure where you're at, but Walmart has Adnroid based phones on the Straight Talk plan (Walmart's prepaid network....) and for $45 a month, you get unlimited talk text and web usage. My phone isn't even a true "smart" phone, but it does have web access, and I have used it to check cache pages in the field. Oh, and btw, their phones run on the Verizon network, so I have coverage just about anywhere. (Except, ironically, inside my local Walmart.....)

 

Like I said, just an fyi.

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I refuse to pay the costs montly to have said smart phone as there is no value in it for myself.

 

Just an FYI. Not sure where you're at, but Walmart has Adnroid based phones on the Straight Talk plan (Walmart's prepaid network....) and for $45 a month, you get unlimited talk text and web usage. My phone isn't even a true "smart" phone, but it does have web access, and I have used it to check cache pages in the field. Oh, and btw, their phones run on the Verizon network, so I have coverage just about anywhere. (Except, ironically, inside my local Walmart.....)

 

Like I said, just an fyi.

Fwiw, value isn't about the cost of the device or the plan.

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I refuse to pay the costs montly to have said smart phone as there is no value in it for myself.

 

Just an FYI. Not sure where you're at, but Walmart has Adnroid based phones on the Straight Talk plan (Walmart's prepaid network....) and for $45 a month, you get unlimited talk text and web usage. My phone isn't even a true "smart" phone, but it does have web access, and I have used it to check cache pages in the field. Oh, and btw, their phones run on the Verizon network, so I have coverage just about anywhere. (Except, ironically, inside my local Walmart.....)

 

Like I said, just an fyi.

Ouch! We don't have great smart phone plans like that here in Canada (Toronto) that I'm aware of. In fact I think we pay more for cell phone air time than anywhere else on earth with the USA being a close second. I've been watching the World Series on Fox and looking at all those great Verizon ads. If only...

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The standalone GPS is on Yahoo's list of 7 gadgets that won't be around in 2020.

Is Yahoo still around? They are on my list of websites that won't be around in 2020.

 

I just got a couple new gpsr's, I worry about them not getting enough support. One of the ones I just got was the astro 320 so I can track my doggies. I don't think a cell phone gps is going to like to be hauled through briars and in dirt.

I'm sure you will get better and longer support for your new Garmin than you will from any cellphone you buy today. Aren't cellphones are designed to be disposable (or at least made to last and be replaced after 2 years or less).
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I think that everybody is missing a very important point. We're talking about 8-9 years from now. So are we going to have the same old smartphones and other high tech stuff? I doubt there will even be cellphones as we know them now at that point in the future. Smartphones are evolving rapidly. The next Motorola smartphone (Razr) will have a Gorilla glass screen with a Kevlar back and be water resistant (nobody seems to want to say how water resistant, I read in one review maybe a quick dip).

 

I'm thinking along the lines of a robot type thing with built in location finders and cameras and pencils and stuff that we can sent to find or hide a cache and there will be on need for any of the used to be high tech as we know them today toys. Well, maybe not this drastic, but who knows?

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I think if GPS receiver manufacturers continue to make more rugged and dependable battery sippers, then they will have a client base who spends time in wilderness.

 

A smartphone may be evolving into the electronic version of the Swiss Army knife, but when you need a good hatchet for camp, you need a hatchet.

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Sure, you may still be able to find these products for sale in certain niche stores, but they will no longer be produced for a mass-market audience.
that's quite a bold statement, literally, he doesn't say "may no longer be available" he is actually making a statement with certainty..

Not so bold and certain as just sloppy, imprecise writing.

 

...to me that is ignorance more so since he doesn't even mention geocaching, there's millions of us out there :anibad:

Now that's just you not understanding the scale of some markets.

 

Millions? A few hundred thousand active cachers worldwide, tops, for an activity that's been around for over ten years. And of those, very very few who have a GPS only for geocaching.

 

By contrast, there are many millions of GPS chipsets produced annually for myriad products that AREN'T stand-alone, handheld, geocaching or hiking units. Car-nav units of the nuvi, navigon, tom-tom class outnumber handheld/hiking GPSR unit sales, many times over. And even among handheld GPSRs, those sold specifically for geocaching (as compared to hiking, search and rescue work, surveying, etc) are a tiny fraction of the market.

 

And to me, that's what the article was really stating. Not that you won't be able to buy a stand-alone GPS in 2020, just that you won't be as likely to find them at mass marketers like Target, Walmart, or Bestbuy. You'll still be able to find them at REI, Cabelas, etc - specialty items from specialty vendors.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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smart phones screen quality and application diversity is a big advantage of mobile phone gps over standalone gps. only a couple of years back Garmin introduced custom maps while mobile phone applications uses such maps many years back. I think satellite imagery only can be used in the latest Garmin models. Downloading maps, poi, and geocaches is another advantage that standalone units don't have(or at least the poplar models ).

It is as if the user having a new device when using a new application or updating the existing ones.

 

On the other hand battery short life makes the mobile phones non practical for non automotive usage. which can be partially resolved by additional batteries or by coupling via Bluetooth gps logger

 

If Garmin and the other companies do not changes their strategy and tactics, they will be struggling to make profit in few years I think much earlier than 2020.

Edited by TheArabianHunter
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If Garmin and the other companies do not changes their strategy and tactics, they will be struggling to make profit in few years I think much earlier than 2020

And here's the flip side to something I said in my last post: You're underestimating Garmin and/or overestimating the importance of handheld, personal GPS units.

 

Garmin IS already diversified and active in several market segments. Software. Aviation GPS. Fleet trackers. Even dog collars. They even offer Android and iPhone software now. They're not going away, they're just going someplace you aren't looking.

Edited by Portland Cyclist
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And here's the flip side to something I said in my last post: You're underestimating Garmin and/or overestimating the importance of handheld, personal GPS units.

 

Garmin IS already diversified and active in several market segments. Software. Aviation GPS. Fleet trackers. Even dog collars. They even offer Android and iPhone software now. They're not going away, they're just going someplace you aren't looking.

 

ٍSorry I read half the way through, I did not read your previous post.

 

Obviously what I meant by Garmin is the hand held segment of their business.

 

I am not aware that they have software business obviously such business will not be affected by the mobile phone gps.

 

But what I meant by tactics and strategy if I were them, I will work on a unit which is 90% gps and 10% mobile phone. basically a montana with ability to make phone calls and download geocaches (not a full blown smart phone operating system and hi resolution screen and fast cpu that drains the battery). What they have done in their previous Garmin phone is more smart phone and less gps that is why it did not succeed because they where competing with smart phone companies rather than with gps companies.

 

Maybe I should apply for Garmin CEO job if they have slots available. :rolleyes:

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We are out here in Kauai and have both smart phones and handhelds. The handhelds still work when the signal is lost from the smart phone and that is often. Could sure ruin a caching vacation. I will never be convinced a smart phone is better.

 

Depending on the phone and the apps used, there are ways to have cache details and maps available when you don't have a cell phone signal. Battery life IMHO will always be better with a dedicated hiking style GPS unit though.

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I agree. There will probably be a melding of smartphones with the capabilities hand held units. Casio already makes a waterproof, rugged smartphone with GPS capabilities. If the battery life can be improved (and I have no reason to believe that it can't be) I don't see much of a future for dedicated hand held GPS units.

Edited by briansnat
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I agree. There will probably be a melding of smartphones with the capabilities hand held units. Casio already makes a waterproof, rugged smartphone with GPS capabilities. If the battery life can be improved (and I have no reason to believe that it can't be) I don't see much of a future for dedicated hand held GPS units.

 

The battery life of a multi-use device won't be as good as the battery life of a dedicated GPS though. A smartphone is constantly using power to keep in contact with the cellular network (unless you turn the phone radio off) and when using some GPS programs may be actively using a data connection to download maps and other info, while at the same time having to power the GPS. So the same battery in a smartphone and in a dedicated GPS would get a longer runtime in the GPS. (Smartphones also don't usually use batteries that you can buy at any gas station or convenience store.)

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Garmin has already tried a mobile phone under their own brand. I don't think they'll be trying that again any too soon.

 

The nuviphone, I think it was called. Garmin added "phone guts" to a car nav type unit. Personally, I would have liked to have seen them marry a rugged handheld and a phone. But, I guess that would not happen now. It would be even more expensive and still would not appeal to most customers.

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