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Will stand alone GPS become obsolete?


A.T.Hiker
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I've been mulling over the purchase of the new Oregon 650, but am struck with the question: why? It certainly looks neat, but with the very high price point, and Garmin's less than stellar willingness to fix / enhance it's already existing line with software updates, I'm backing away quickly. Besides, I've come to realize in the past few weeks I can do just about everything on my droid phone. We now have Geocaching apps, hiking apps, satellight maps, topo maps, trip logging/tracking apps, many of which are ".gpx" compatable, all for a relatively minor expense, or even free, through the app store. Even road navigation seems to work well. I used Google navigator on the phone yesterday, instead of the nuvi. Searches seemed MUCH quicker and responsive, and Android currently offers it as a free app, already installed on the phone. The advantages to stand alone seem to be dwindling quick.

 

I realize phones still can't do elevation profiling that well, not to mention they are probably not quite as durable. Oh, and battery life too. But that's a relatively short, dwindling list, and if I'm a day hiker, casual geocacher, not spending weeks in the outback away from civilization, is Garmin's $500 + price tag really worth it on these new units.

 

I was curious what everyone's thoughts were.

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I'd say if you're a day hiker, casual geocacher, not spending weeks in the outback away from civilization kinda person, it's possible to be fine with just your phone.

 

- I'm not and I'l be needin' that stand-alone thanks.

Probably a good fifth of my range I can't get cell reception at all.

Another fifth is sporadic at best.

Then there's battery life and durabilty...

It may take a while, but if my GPSr ever goes, I'll probably stick with old reliable (60csx) and maybe that one will last just as long.

By then we'll all have things implanted anyway. :laughing:

 

- And I'll use my phone for :o calls.

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You do not need to spring for a 650 to get a very good handheld GPS. There are numerous cheaper and/or older units that will work fine. If you are using the phone in the manner you describe, then maybe OK. Just remember, no outlets in the woods, even a little bit of moisture will kill you phone, and don't drop it (phone)if that's the only way you know to get back to the trailhead. Peoria Bill :>)

Edited by Peoria Bill
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Good topic. We've been discussing this exact question. We've used a Garmin Dakota for about three years, but also used a Blackberry (not a great experience) and Android (good experience). We're cache as a family with fairly young children (ages 4-10 currently), so we don't do too much in the extreme wilderness, but we do live in rual southern MN so cell coverage is sometimes sketchy. If we leave town and are out in the extreme rural areas it's tough unless you've prepared your PQ or downloaded from GSAK using Geo-Droid (GDAK). But since my go to geo-app does live caching so well, I don't bother. I do, however, always have the ol' Dakota loaded and with us just in case.

 

So since you're soliciting thoughts, my thought is that it depends on your geographic setting just as much as your general caching level. If you mainly cache in places with good cell reception you might be good, but if you're in rural areas on a regular basis you probably want the ol' GPSr handy.

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Smartphones require cell towers for accurate triangulation,

While this was true years ago, it's not true today. Modern smartphones have actual GPS circuitry and antennas and can pinpoint your location just fine even when you have zero cell signal.

 

To answer the original question, due to durability and battery life, I'll stick with my Garmin 62s.

 

Also, every geocaching app that I've tried on my android phone seems to be geared towards the occasional geocacher. None (that I've seen) have a good interface for high-volume caching.

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Well maybe not completely obsolete, but for a large portion of the population a smartphone will do just fine for navigation pursuits. The standalone GPS maker companies really do have reason to worry and must probably restructure their handheld gps product lines in the near future. Available cell signal or data plan has never been necessary for a smartphone, that's just a big misunderstanding.

 

Thinkable scenario is that the standalone GPS makers will go into ruggedized GPS+phone hybrids which can be powered off a couple of AAs if necessary. The power options are very important in a true standalone field GPS. My dream configuration would be an in-unit chargeable lithium iron phosphate battery, which can be removed and replaced with AAs when on a long outing.

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Smartphones require cell towers for accurate triangulation,

While this was true years ago, it's not true today. Modern smartphones have actual GPS circuitry and antennas.

Yes, a Samsung SIII will tell you how many satellites it has a "lock" on, typically about 12.

 

What can someone tell me about the "guidance" aspects of phone use? In other words, about phone apps that not only give you the gps location, but also point you in the right direction, tell you the distance to GZ, etc.

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- And I'll use my phone for :o calls.

 

Use your phone for calls? What kind of daft idea is that? :P

 

Seriously, I'm happy with my Montana but when it packs up I'll be seriously tempted to just run with a new smartphone and if I'm planning on being somewhere unusual I'll take a bunch of AA batteries and a cable to connect them to the charging port on the phone, or one of these extended power packs you can buy fairly cheaply these days (certainly cheaper than a GPS). Then all you need is offline maps and the facility to read a GPX file so at a stroke you've got 100% live caching where cellphone coverage permits and cached (!) maps and geocaches where it doesn't (hmm... I didn't take the chance to refer to cached caches there or make some oddball comment like "I cached from the cache looking for cached caches")

 

Waterproofing can be done with anything from a ziplock bag upwards, and durability can be addressed with a tougher case. If I need to do anything really unexpected with it, you know, like making a phone call or something then I can use a bluetooth headset to save getting it out of the protective casings (a few years back on long hikes I just left my phone in my backpack the entire time and wore a bluetooth headset, it works surprisingly well)

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Often the argument is moisture, well a great part of the world population IS using the phone in pouring rain and another misconception you DON"T need a celltower for the Gps to work.

Battery is solved with an extra batterypack. If you do a long track you need to take batteries for the normal gps also.

Besides that, almost all App are better and better looking than the by now often old fashioned looking screens of the gps'es.

 

Compare different apps on my Galaxy S3 with my 2 years old Montana, it almost always works better and smoother than the Montana and when online I have all the data I need or can think about.

 

Put your phone in a case and it is like an Gps or better.

 

Would I leave without my Montana on a trip no, would I buy a new Gps, I'm not sure, I don't think so.

Edited by splashy
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Perhaps someday the smart phone may make the GPSr obsolescent -- notice, obsolescent but not obsolete....

But it will only happen when those cell phone companies finally get their act together and decide that everywhere should receive a signal. It simply cannot happen before that.

It's funny, 'cuz this question comes up occasionally, always from somebody that resides in areas of full or mostly full coverage.

As it stands, there are a lot of folk that have absolutely no need or use of a smart phone.

 

Don't even think of believing those coverage maps the cell phone companies give you to see what their coverage "areas" include!

 

Now that the blinders have been removed... next question, please.

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and another misconception you DON"T need a celltower for the Gps to work.

 

None of my iPhones (3, 3Gs, 4, and 4s) have any GPS function outside of cell tower coverage. I have tested them all in many travel destinations outside of big cities and never have they been able to show my location without cell tower links. Newer phones may be different.

Edited by BMW JEDI
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and another misconception you DON"T need a celltower for the Gps to work.

 

None of my iPhones (3, 3Gs, 4, and 4s) have any GPS function outside of cell tower coverage. I have tested them all in many travel destinations outside of big cities and never have they been able to show my location without cell tower links. Newer phones may be different.

 

I have used my iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 without cell signal. It just takes longer to acquire as it can't use the WiFi/cell triangulation cheat to lock faster.

You could also cheat the process with a Bad Elf GPS for an iPod.

 

To the OP, sure one day standalone GPS will be rendered obsolete the same way point and shoot cameras are almost moot. That day isn't going to come fast enough to defer a GPS purchase today due to battery and fragility. My iPhone 5 in it's lifeproof case is pretty trail/backcountry hardy but it's a lot harder to provide battery power for extended trips. Harder, not impossible. I use an eTrex 30 for multi-day backcountry travel as it's just a better user experience. Two AA batteries and I have a couple days of navigation with the screen on and a moving map.

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A week ago I was out caching with a buddy and had made 29 finds over the day.

 

Not even halfway through our trip, I had to charge my phone in the car while we moved from one location to another.

I only use my phone (Samsung Galaxy S) for running a caching app to log finds as field notes or to look up information about a cache.

 

Meanwhile, my eTrex 20 used less than half of it's available power from the pair of rechargeable batteries (Duracell PreCharged) over the 5 hours the unit was running.

It was cold (between -16C and -10C), so the batteries depleted faster than if it was warmer.

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Mobile phones will not replace a standalone GPSr unless your requirements are limited to periodic use.

 

If you are going backcountry, navigating a route through an unfamiliar urban/suburban setting or Geocaching then your best bet is to have a standalone device.

 

One solid reason is battery life - I can go over 24 hours on a set of AAs in my Garmin Oregon and if they drain another set can easily be inserted. Readily available off the shelf batteries are a thing of the distant past for mobile phones. Besides, your phone is for communication, if you run it down navigating then you have no power to call for help when you really are lost.

 

Durability is another. Most GPSr units are weather sealed and rugged. I can't say the same about any of the recent mobile phones I've had. They break to easily.

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I too will stick to my Etrex 20, for the reasons outlined by others above. I've tried using my smart phone but it simply isn't as easy to use.

 

I also have a GPS installed in my car but never use it, preferring instead my Garmin nuvi.

 

Smart phones have their uses, but for me a dedicated device beats them in all sorts of ways :)

 

Going back to one of the OPs points though, would I pay for a Montana, heck no ... far too expensive in my opinion.

 

+1

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and another misconception you DON"T need a celltower for the Gps to work.

 

None of my iPhones (3, 3Gs, 4, and 4s) have any GPS function outside of cell tower coverage. I have tested them all in many travel destinations outside of big cities and never have they been able to show my location without cell tower links. Newer phones may be different.

 

Yeh, sorry I always forget some people use Iphone's. :anitongue:

Try Android a real other world will open, without any Apple restrictions and tricks, how does that sound? .

Edited by splashy
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None of my iPhones (3, 3Gs, 4, and 4s) have any GPS function outside of cell tower coverage. I have tested them all in many travel destinations outside of big cities and never have they been able to show my location without cell tower links. Newer phones may be different.

You are doing something wrong or are just not using an app that works with the GPS. I have used my iPhone many times with the Geocaching app to navigate without cell coverage.

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I, for one, will never give-up on hand-held GPSr'.. Mainly, because I can't afford the cost of, or the subscription rate of a smart phone. Mainly, because if you're out of the range of service for a smart-phone provider, You won't have the maps for the GPS.. With a hand-held GPS, you have the maps on the device (unless the device is like the classic Garmin eTrex., which had a blank screen except for the central point & breadcrumb trail.. :laughing: )

 

Granted, phone coverage is improving, but there are still drop-out zones. (trust me, I live in the middle of one! 2 different phone service providers are absolute zero signal!)

 

Besides, they have gotten to the point of integrating smart-phone technology into the newer cars, but once you end-up in the middle of a dead zone, You are out of luck.. but, the ones which do have navigation systems in them, have the maps pre-loaded.

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I, for one, will never give-up on hand-held GPSr'.. Mainly, because I can't afford the cost of, or the subscription rate of a smart phone. Mainly, because if you're out of the range of service for a smart-phone provider, You won't have the maps for the GPS.. With a hand-held GPS, you have the maps on the device (unless the device is like the classic Garmin eTrex., which had a blank screen except for the central point & breadcrumb trail.. :laughing: )

 

If you buy a second hand smartphone and get yourself a cheap pay-as-you-go deal from a cellphone provider you get the smartphone without the cost of the data package.

 

To use it outside cell coverage areas you store maps on the unit.

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I have been using devices where I have GPSr combined with other functions (Calendar, email, phone,...) for many years. Early on I learned that when that multifunction device slips out of your hands into an abyss, creek, etc) it is toast and the replacement cost is more than even a top-of-the-line GPSr (take a look at what that "free" phone costs to replace if you break it). I then also had to cope with the cost of getting my work-life back on track adjusting to a new device. I have dropped my eTrex Legend, 60CSx, PN-40 many times and they never died because of it (plenty of scratches to prove it).

 

A few years ago I upgraded my phone to a Droid X and have several goecaching app (even off-line maps) and those work reasonably well when they work. Many times when I don't have good cell coverage I cannot get it lock in on satellite signals. When I am abroad it is nearly useless. When I do have a good gpsr signal on my phone, it is never as accurate as my hand-held gpsr. I also do know that if I drop my Droid then it's replacement will cost much more than a new GPSr. So despite having a fully functioning cell phone optimized for geocaching, I bought a dedicated GPSr to keep my geocaching experience enjoyable and to keep my phone for my professional life.

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Smartphones require cell towers for accurate triangulation,

While this was true years ago, it's not true today. Modern smartphones have actual GPS circuitry and antennas.

Yes, a Samsung SIII will tell you how many satellites it has a "lock" on, typically about 12.

 

What can someone tell me about the "guidance" aspects of phone use? In other words, about phone apps that not only give you the gps location, but also point you in the right direction, tell you the distance to GZ, etc.

 

I use my iPhone 4 and Groundspeak Inc's "Geocaching" App (from the App store. The Intro version is free but only lists the 3 caches nearest your location. The other version is about $10.). Both versions give the cache description, and have a compass that points toward the cache combined with your distance from GZ. You can also choose street, satellite, or topographic map styles that show your position and GZ. I do most of my caching in town and usually get readings accurate enough to find the cache. But on cloudy days or areas covered by tree canopy, the phone has trouble capturing satellite(s), making the compass and distance readings jump around (your distance can change from 15 feet to 50 without you taking a step, or the compass may suddenly swing directly opposite its previous heading). I've gone out with more experienced cachers, who say standing still for a few minutes sometimes resolves the problem. On one trip with cloudy skies and tree cover, cachers with high end GPSrs (Garmin Oregon or Colorado?) also experienced some jumpy signals--but we still got within 15-20 feet of the caches and found every cache we attempted. The $10 version also let's you log your finds, search by GC code, and use Premium Member features.

Hope that's the info you're looking for. Happy Hunting! :)

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I don't need a smart phone, I use my phone for making phone calls. I don't text, I don't want to go on the internet with a screen that size, and for what a data plan would cost me I could buy a new GPS every year. My GPS is waterproof, will float if dropped in a creek or lake, and will run 18 hours on two rechargeable AA batteries.

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I don't need a smart phone, I use my phone for making phone calls. I don't text, I don't want to go on the internet with a screen that size, and for what a data plan would cost me I could buy a new GPS every year. My GPS is waterproof, will float if dropped in a creek or lake, and will run 18 hours on two rechargeable AA batteries.

 

Well said.

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I don't need a smart phone, I use my phone for making phone calls. I don't text, I don't want to go on the internet with a screen that size, and for what a data plan would cost me I could buy a new GPS every year. My GPS is waterproof, will float if dropped in a creek or lake, and will run 18 hours on two rechargeable AA batteries.

I have to agree with this as well.

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I don't need a smart phone, I use my phone for making phone calls. I don't text, I don't want to go on the internet with a screen that size, and for what a data plan would cost me I could buy a new GPS every year. My GPS is waterproof, will float if dropped in a creek or lake, and will run 18 hours on two rechargeable AA batteries.

 

Curious. My phone package gives me something like 300 minutes, 5000 texts and 750MB of data per month for £8 (about $13). Annual cost - £96 all in.

 

Admittedly my phone won't float but then neither will my GPS.

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The topic is "will smartphones eventually replace GPSr". Yes today an eTrex smokes most Smartphones in the field. Thing is if GPS sales plunge 97% over 10 years because Smartphones eat their lunch on the most common uses (ie nav and urban poi lookups) there may not BE a GPS to buy in 2023. Think of how many 8 Track or Betamax players you can buy today. Or heck VCRs.

 

Now I am not saying Garmin will be gone, but that is one possibility on the long range. Ask Kodak.

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You can still pick up a Kodak Duoflex camera today, but not at Walmart. Kodak is also not developing new cameras anymore but you can certainly pick one up on eBay.

 

Consider that 10 years ago a laptop with 6-8 hours battery was unheard of. Today the tech blogs are talking about an e-ink display Android smartphone that lasts one week on battery charge. If they get smartphones up to one week battery charge it will be difficult to justify the standalone unit. Garmin released a version of Basecamp for mobile phones that syncs data with the Fenix watch so they also see that writing on the wall. Remember they tried to launch a smartphone too.

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I challenge any person who thinks Smartphones will replace dedicated GPS units to join me in the middle of:

 

A: the Grand Canyon National park

B: Yellowstone National park

C: Arches National park

D: Green River, Utah

E: etc., etc....

 

YOU bring only your smartphone, I'LL bring only my dedicated GPS. (No Paper Maps and Compass, this is between smartphones and dedicated GPS)

 

We'll see who can find their way out, and who needs emergency evac.

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BMW_Jedi, if a smartphone has a GPS unit already in it, what's the difference? Don't worry my friend, I don't own or use a smartphone. I would want the GPSr unit. I guess battery life and being able to carry extra batteries gives a handheld GPSr the edge for certain things.

 

The one thing that is interesting, is that GPSr accuracy hasn't increased in quite a while compared to the advances in cell phone technology. The Etrex H is just as accurate as the highest priced Dakota.

 

Eventually I do think GPSr sales will drop as more and more smartphone's with built in GPS units become better and better.

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I challenge any person who thinks Smartphones will replace dedicated GPS units to join me in the middle of:

 

A: the Grand Canyon National park

B: Yellowstone National park

C: Arches National park

D: Green River, Utah

E: etc., etc....

 

YOU bring only your smartphone, I'LL bring only my dedicated GPS. (No Paper Maps and Compass, this is between smartphones and dedicated GPS)

 

We'll see who can find their way out, and who needs emergency evac.

 

You are confusing the topic with "now" and "future". But even then, I have gone on backcountry trips in Algonquin Park with my iPhone 4 lasting the entire time and providing GPS signal when I wanted it.

I am curious how you'll arrange your emergency evac without a communication device, unless you are planning to use smoke signals.

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He won't need to, cos he'll be able to navigate out. Those with smart phones will run out of power to navigate and (even if there was a phone signal) wouldn't then be able to call for help :laughing: :laughing:

 

Really? He did not say we can't bring extra battery power - I can charge my iPhone with a solar pack in about 6 hours but I tend to carry a couple USB battery packs. Having said that an iPhone with the cellular radio can quite easily go 7 days or more on one charge. I know that because I did that on my Western Uplands Backpacking Trail trip. I had 60% battery left after 6 days.

 

Now I know what you are gonna say next, that the phone will die quickly with the screen on and a moving map. Except how much do you REALLY look at the screen when navigating? You take a bearing find a landmark hike over to it and take your next bearing. The moving map display is a convenience sure.

 

In the future I fully expect a non backlit daylight readable screen option for moving map without running the battery down. It is amazing the developments in mobile over the last few years. Apple has a patent for a solar charged iPhone BTW. It may or may not come to market but they have certainly explored the concept.

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Seems to me, we are defining a very specific set of parameters designed to make the smartphone option fail. Smartphone can be used in backcountry effectively with planning. Just as I assume the hiker takes water or a filter and container for water on a Grand Canyon hike. I bring an extra battery ... hiking to the river with just a GPS in the Grand Canyon would get 90% of hikers killed

 

Again the discussion is about future smartphones obsoleting GPS not a 2013 smartphone.

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Well to be fair then he can only bring his GPS. No batteries. My iPhone battery is part of the unit so it can come along.

 

Seems to me, we are defining a very specific set of parameters designed to make the smartphone option fail.

 

Never argue with idiots.

 

They always bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

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Wow, there are a lot of missinformed people commenting here. Realisticaly, there is only one advantages to a handheld that are not easyly mitagated, that is sensitivity (performes poorly under heavy tree cover). Battery life.. ruggedness, both easy fixes. Or, just get a Samsung Rugbe, and both are fixed.

 

Here is a list of pros and cons for each type of divice:

Smart phone pros:

Live geocache search (great for spontanious caching)

PQs

Cached geocache data(for when in areas with no phone reception)

Live maps (don't have to load ahead of time)

Cached maps (for when in areas with no phone reception)

wide variety of maps available

High accuracy (most newish phones; do rigorous test before purchasing)

multiple apps available

Fast GPS lock

Built in compass (all newish phones)

Cheap if you have one already (no extra cost if you already have a phone/plan)

Built in camera

 

Smart phone cons (and mitigations):

Short battery life (bring spare, or battery powered charger, operate in airplane mode etc.)

Non standard batteries (buy off e-bay for <$10)

Not rugged (use otterbox, screen protector etc, or buy Samsung Rugby)

Low sensitivity (every smartphone I have tried has this issue, only work around I know of is a good bluetooth GPSr)

Some users may not know when the smartphone has accurate GPS lock vs. unaccurate cell tower or wifi triangulation (learn to use your phone)

High cost if you don't have a plan anyway ($50 per month?)

 

Hand Held GPSr Pros:

Rugged

Maps

PQs

High accuracy (newish ones with WAAS or EGNOS)

High sensitivity (when equipped)

Longer battery life

Standard AA batteries

Built in compass (only new models, usualy costs $100 extra)

Built in camera (only new models, usualy costs $100 extra)

 

Hand Held GPSr cons (and mitigations):

Maps get old (update from internet)

Updating maps a pain in the butt (don't know of a mitigation)

No maps if you leave installed map area (new GPSrs have tons of memory, so unlikely)

No live Geocache information (new GPSrs have tons of memory, so all caches near you can be loaded on)

Updating geocache information a pain in the butt (regularly load on PQs, still a pain)

Not good for spontanious cacheing (updated PQs will help, but only if you are within the area you have caches downloaded for)

All data transfers are via cables, usually USB (maybe one day someone will make a wi-fi enabled GPSr)

No built in compass (buy more expensive GPSr with a built in compass)

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Yep, we've strayed off topic :blink:

 

And basically I agree with you anyway. Having said that, for many of the reasons given above, I'll continue to use my GPS and keep my smart phone in my pack for 'phoning'. It would take quite a leap to get me to just cary the one device, but maybe sometime well into the future (if I'm alive that long) :)

 

Absolutely. My "main" GPS is a Garmin eTrex 30. I use my smartphone today for quick urban hunts and as a camera in the backcountry. 10 years from now I will likely have a different option. I have been geocaching for 10 years now and back then I was getting FTF notifies by text message and my GPS lost signal if I got too close to a dandelion. I am quite interested to see what they come up with in 10 years - flexible displays, wearable computing, new battery tech, nanocoated waterproof consumer electronics. Even later this year - pair a Pebble watch with a geocaching app on a smartphone and navigate to the cache with a quick glance at your wrist. Bikers should love that.

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....

Again the discussion is about future smartphones obsoleting GPS not a 2013 smartphone.

By that particular parameter, I anticipate the GPS system itself to become obsolete. Someday.

 

Very true, already happening with the Chinese and Russian efforts. I read an article talking about China mass producing very VERY inexpensive GPS chipsets for their system becoming more economically attractive to device makers (isn't everything made in China anyway) vs GPS.

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Well to be fair then he can only bring his GPS. No batteries. My iPhone battery is part of the unit so it can come along.

 

Seems to me, we are defining a very specific set of parameters designed to make the smartphone option fail.

 

Never argue with idiots.

 

They always bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

 

I will have to remember that in the future. <EOF>

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Okay, let's see if I can split hairs here and get an answer most everyone can agree with:

 

"Smartphones" - shorthand here for "multi-purpose, pocket sized computers that include location aware technology and can sometimes even be used as phones" - have already replaced dedicated handheld and automotive GPS devices for a lot of users. This trend will no doubt continue.

 

This is true even in the miniscule market segment that is geocaching. If your caching environment is urban or only moderately rural, smartphones work pretty well. As battery life and ruggedness on smartphones improves, this trend will also continue, making them usable and attractive to even more cachers in more demanding environments.

 

But will the dedicated GPSR ever become *completely* obsolete? Probably not. Consider the eTrex Legend (not Legend H-anything, just the plain old blue Legend) -- even though discontinued by Garmin -- is still sold for MSRP or higher by some suppliers. Why? Because for some users there are still reasons* to have one, and when an old one breaks that's what they need to replace it with. But most of us in this forum would call it obsolete, or at least not suitable to our own needs.

 

The same thing will happen in the "great outdoors" niche. As smartphones get more robust, fewer and fewer folks will buy dedicated GPS units. They won't go away completely, but they will eventually be used by such a small number of applications, that most folks will use the word "obsolete."

 

And the dedicated, hard core users will still argue over that word.

 

---

* legacy hardware and compatibility, RS-232 connections, etc.

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You're kidding right? Smart phones will NEVER replace a stand alone GPS receiver. Write that down. Save it. I'll remind you of it in 10 or 15 years. In case you are interested, I own and use both. My stand alone is light years ahead of the smart phone. Yes, I have one of the very latest smart phones.

Edited by kwcahart
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I don't need a smart phone, I use my phone for making phone calls. I don't text, I don't want to go on the internet with a screen that size, and for what a data plan would cost me I could buy a new GPS every year. My GPS is waterproof, will float if dropped in a creek or lake, and will run 18 hours on two rechargeable AA batteries.

 

Curious. My phone package gives me something like 300 minutes, 5000 texts and 750MB of data per month for £8 (about $13). Annual cost - £96 all in.

 

Admittedly my phone won't float but then neither will my GPS.

I don't think you'll get by that cheap in the U.S., my phone alone is $40.00 plus taxes and other surcharges a month for 450 minutes. If I want a data plan it's another $25.00 a month plus I am sure some more surcharges. If I get a smartphone I am forced to take a data plan

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You're kidding right? Smart phones will NEVER replace a stand alone GPS receiver. Write that down. Save it. I'll remind you of it in 10 or 15 years. In case you are interested, I own and use both. My stand alone is light years ahead of the smart phone. Yes, I have one of the very latest smart phones.

In 1943, Thomas Watson, head of IBM, said "I think there is a world market for about five computers." (There are different versions of the quote, but others at the time were saying the same thing with slightly different numbers.) Should we have written that down too? :P

 

"Smart phones will NEVER replace a stand alone GPS receiver," huh?? IMO you seriously underestimate the possibilities of technology! We understand the technical issues that exist now, but these are low-to-medium-tech issues, and if brilliant minds can't solve simple stuff like that, then we may as well go back to navigating with $2 magnetic compasses! :D

Edited by wmpastor
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Garmin software SUCKS big time, others most probably too ! On the PC where it's close to being pitiful and even on the GPS ! The GPS chipset is now a commodity sourced outside of GPS handheld manufacturer and is included in high end smart so called phone. Currently the only thing in favor of the handheld is ruggedness and battery. Too bad smart phone mfgd keep making their devices fragile. Why ? Just to keep selling new ones.

 

The comparison with stand alone camera is not valid, a camera needs quality optics of a certain size.

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