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Delorme, Lowrance, McNally and other GPsr makers


gpsblake

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Just curious if any of those companies are going to put out another GPSr again? DeLorme appears only to be a fraction of itself, Lowrance seems to have almost disappeared, and for the McNally Foris, I haven't heard a single person on these forums using that unit and the one review I was able to find said the unit was horrible.

 

I'm just curious, do you think the GPSr market for them (and even Magellan) is dead now? Or are they developing products still?

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Just curious if any of those companies are going to put out another GPSr again? DeLorme appears only to be a fraction of itself, Lowrance seems to have almost disappeared, and for the McNally Foris, I haven't heard a single person on these forums using that unit and the one review I was able to find said the unit was horrible.

 

I'm just curious, do you think the GPSr market for them (and even Magellan) is dead now? Or are they developing products still?

 

You forgot Cobra. Doesn't Cobra get any love? :lol: Actually, I just looked, and they appear to only offer vehicle GPS units, and gear them towards truckers. They did in fact try their luck in the handheld market several years ago.

 

I think DeLorme and McNally have thrown in the towel (just my opinion). Lowrance, I would say still caters to the boating crowd. Magellan, I think is happy with their 10% or so market share (just a wild guess), not unlike Advanced Micro Devices vs. Intel.

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I had recently spoke with some folks @ Delorme.

According to what they say, they had been 100% working on a very large gov't order. Apparently now that is fulfilled and they have swung their efforts back to the consumer units.

 

I guess you goes where the money is, what?

 

I know that most other manufacturers hate losing a gov't contract.

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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I've never seen a Cobra GPSr in action but I remember reading about them when I first started geocaching. The reviews were dismal that I can remember. :lol:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/reviews/gps_cobra

 

Cobra 100

http://reviews.cnet.com/gps/cobra-gps-100/4505-3490_7-30473963.html

 

Glad to see someone has input on the Delorme's. Government contracts can be great or horrible depending on the circumstances. DeLorme is based in Maine and I know the big reduction on the paper map market and specialized mapping software like Street Atlas really has to hurt them.

 

Still waiting for the first person to admit owning a McNally Foris 850 unit.

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DeLorme is at least still supporting the PN-60 as they've recently put out updated firmware for their forum users to test and are talking about making a few changes before officially releasing it. Their focus has seemed to swing toward the inReach satellite communicators over the past couple of years. I don't know what I'll do if my PN-60 ever dies. I've been using the official Android app more and more for casual caching, but I still prefer my PN-60 for serious caching.

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DeLorme is at least still supporting the PN-60 as they've recently put out updated firmware for their forum users to test and are talking about making a few changes before officially releasing it.

Wow, thanks for mentioning it. Their forums have been so dead for so long, I don't bother to visit them anymore.

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Onyx was another one that came on with a big noise and then died.

 

While we can drag out Princess Bride quotes ("Your friend is only MOSTLY dead...") the punchline is that all of these guys added together haven't provided development competition to Garmin - and the industry sure could use that. I'm hopeful for Magellan, but the others have been so dormant for so long that they've lost any traction they had going. Just look at the traffic in this forum to get some estimates of relative market share of the devices - there are more posts in one thread about a $700 Garmin that seems to not work very well (why does every Garmin product seem like their first?) than there have been about the others by far. Delorme had some momentum 3-4 years ago, but they're rarely spoken of here any more and I never see them on the trail.

 

I have the McNally product in the GPSBabelab. While I've never left the house with it, it had some interesting geocaching features.

 

This effect isn't just among geocachers, either. Look at the GPSTracklog report of monthly best sellers at Amazon and REI and you'll see that the entire top ten lists are dominated by a single company.

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This effect isn't just among geocachers, either. Look at the GPSTracklog report of monthly best sellers at Amazon and REI and you'll see that the entire top ten lists are dominated by a single company.

 

Yup. But G****n does keep improving their products and offers a very wide range of GPS units. In fact, it's like G****n is in compeition with themselves with the 62 line, Etrex line, Dakota, two different Oregon lines, 78 line for boaters, Montana etc. Magellan offers one line and in the case of the GC/110/310/350, they are all identical units hardware wise they try to pass off as different receivers just slightly different software and different colors.

 

Magellan was at their peak when the Meridians were introduced. Four owners later and the awful Triton line which they never really recovered from.

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[ In case it's not clear, the views expressed herein are my own and not those of my employer or my volunteer moderator-hood - and this is why I didn't want a "moderator" badge next to my name. ]

 

Garmin (let's not pretend we don't recognize the elephant in the room...) is repeatedly cannibalizing their own product lines to prevent others from doing it. A 2007 Nuvi and a 2013 Nuvi aren't that different in hardware. How do they sell more units? By not fixing or enhancing the units you've already bought, making map updates cost more than the GPSes, etc. They're going to eventually run out of non-negative, nonzero integers for Nuvi model numbers. "Is that the unit with lane assist, without bluetooth, without traffic, but with maps of Alaska and Hawaii (because they're still "new" states, you know...)" or the model that's $6 up? But it's amazing, given the number of products that they spit out that we know should be the same - looking at the bug list, you'd swear they're starting from scratch every time. Monterra crashes parsing (legal) GPX. Garmin's GPX reader should be about 7 y/o at this time. Fixes delivered to Colorado (rock and ROLL!) haven't made it to the 62. The 8 y/o Streetepilot on my dash does things they've STILL not brought to NUVI. They're so busy respinning the same product that they can't seem to stabilize them before they discontinue them. They know they can afford to build a "new" product before a competitor can get a similar product to market and on the shelves. Then they can add some obscure feature and out-market the competition with it. That's pretty much the tech playbook when you're #1 and everyone knows it. In Mario Kart parlance, it's not always about driving awesome; it's about splatting bananas on the track.

 

Magellan is still the dark horse I'm hoping will make a good showing. They've indeed been bought and sold a LOT. They have no institutional memory of what we agree was their most successful product family. But MIO does know how to make mass market hardware - something that's not necessarily a given for a paper map company. I'm bummed they didn't get traction with the x10 line but it was a respectable showing. But in tech, you can only coast for so long and they've not been really gaining ground.

 

There is also a reality of market saturation. Most everyone that will ever own a portable music player (iPod, River, etc.) probably already owns a couple at this point. For MOST people, their cell fone is a GPS that's "good enough" to find that yard sale, the nearest tire repair, etc.. For those of us for whom it's not, we already have a couple of dedicated outdoor GPS units at this point. The only place for the market to go is "down" and Garmin, in particular (kind of like Apple) has no interest in driving the price down - why would they? Nobody wants to be the company that breaks the industry by pointing out that a Monterra-like substance should be a $150 device in the minds of most consumers.

Edited by robertlipe
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Very valid comments Robert.

 

There should be common, shared, extremely stable code shared among the devices, not starting at zero each time.

For the Monterra, I can potentially see starting at the beginning since the underlying platform is different from the other dedicated units, but in the 25+ years I've worked in IT, code can be ported fairly easily by competent developers.

 

With all the issues present in the new Garmin units (that should never have been released that way), when I upgraded from my eTrex 20 I opted to go with an older unit (62s) even though the 62 series appears to be headed for EOL.

 

I have had my eTrex 20 for almost 2 years and there are still issues with it that should have been resolved long ago; the annoying bit is that not all units have the problem.

 

Within the local caching community, the majority use garmin devices, a couple use Magellan eXplorists, and I am only aware of one person that uses a DeLorme (PN-60).

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Very valid comments Robert.

 

There should be common, shared, extremely stable code shared among the devices, not starting at zero each time.

For the Monterra, I can potentially see starting at the beginning since the underlying platform is different from the other dedicated units, but in the 25+ years I've worked in IT, code can be ported fairly easily by competent developers.

 

With all the issues present in the new Garmin units (that should never have been released that way), when I upgraded from my eTrex 20 I opted to go with an older unit (62s) even though the 62 series appears to be headed for EOL.

 

I have had my eTrex 20 for almost 2 years and there are still issues with it that should have been resolved long ago; the annoying bit is that not all units have the problem.

 

Within the local caching community, the majority use garmin devices, a couple use Magellan eXplorists, and I am only aware of one person that uses a DeLorme (PN-60).

It seems to me that shared code between units is probably not possible given that the units do not share hardware components. As an example the processing hardware in the 62 is not the same as the processing hardware in the eTrex units. This is evident by the eTrex being able to use the GLONASS satellites in addition to the US GPS system and the 62 being totally oblivious of the GLONOSS system. This will continue into the future as other GPS constellations are launched and the US transitioning to the block IIIA satellites. This will require different hardware to take advantage of the satellite improvements and this new hardware will require a new code base.

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DeLorme is at least still supporting the PN-60 as they've recently put out updated firmware ...

Yuuup, and they just issued another one on their forum this afternoon modifying the (route) directions page such that the turn arrows are in phase.

http://forum.delorme.com/viewtopic.php?f=181&t=101168

 

I might add that they have recently updated their software app, Topo NA 10.0 (which is included with all PN-60 GPSrs), to work with the Groundspeak API. Once again,users may automatically logon through the app to download their PQ results and upload their Field Notes.

Edited by Team CowboyPapa
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It seems to me that shared code between units is probably not possible given that the units do not share hardware components.

I've worked on very large projects with "just" different hardware layers. You don't throw out the UI code or the GPX parser or the routing engine "just" because you decided to use a newer Mediatek chip or a different battery technology. There are layers and MOST of the code should be shared. Look at the huge list of problems they have with EVERY device launch in code that should date back for several product generations. Look at http://www8.garmin.c...ils.jsp?id=5559 and remember that the 62 is basically an Oregon 450 with a touch screen replaced by a Dpad. (Which was an Oregon 400 with a better screen, which was a Colorado with a touch screen instead of a dpad. "Fixed bug that could cause some geocaches to no import". ""Fixed shutdown when reviewing certain geocache descriptions" Lots of problems in code that shouldn't have a new code smell.

Whether they actually are starting from scratch or they just have some development process that means they introduce problems and can't find them before release is hard to tell from the outside.

 

This will require different hardware to take advantage of the satellite improvements and this new hardware will require a new code base.

That's all done by the chipset vendors. Garmin doesn't make GPS chips any more, and haven't for years; they buy them. Every once in a while, they'll need to solder down new ones and tweak the system a bit, such as when they moved from SirfStar3 to MTK a few years ago, but that's no more starting from scratch than putting a slightly different battery in a small tractor; you may have to dink with the terminals or drill some new mounting holes. (OK, it's a little harder than that...)

 

I'm with Black Rose. There are way more problems in their "new" devices than makes sense.

 

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Just saw this on a****n, the Rand McNally Foris price has dropped by over half, now only $174.97. Originally was $399. Comes with full mapping, SPOKEN turn directions, 7000 geocache limit, detailed maps, .... Like I said though, the one review I read trashed this unit but at this price, might be worth a gamble for me.

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Whooow Chief Babel-Head

 

When I wrote this about 3 years ago I almost got expelled from this forum and called all kind of names because I was 'bashing' Garmin.

Basically just telling my feeling as you do now.

 

Anyway, hope this helps and Garmin FINALLY listens, because they are willingly trying to break their neck on the moment.

 

BTW the total amount of different Garmin models last year was about 445, hardware wise almost all models are very nice, but the bottle neck is in the software, understandable they cannot figure out what the problems are until they crank down the total amount of models and don't try to reinvent the wheel with every new model.

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Think it really depends though ... I've had 5 Garmins, three auto GPS and 2 handhelds, and not really had any issues with any of them.

 

Nor have I had any issues updating software or Garmin maps. Only issue I did have was (my own fault) installing a 3rd party map onto my nuvi, which promptly froze when booting. Map turned out to be corrupt. Ever since any 3rd party maps go onto a sd card :)

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Think it really depends though ... I've had 5 Garmins, three auto GPS and 2 handhelds, and not really had any issues with any of them.

 

Nor have I had any issues updating software or Garmin maps. Only issue I did have was (my own fault) installing a 3rd party map onto my nuvi, which promptly froze when booting. Map turned out to be corrupt. Ever since any 3rd party maps go onto a sd card :)

Basically my same experience also but with some hiccups. :)

 

With so many Garmin models out there and now with paperless geocaching. Perhaps they might look towards including a paperless help menu system.. :rolleyes:

Edited by PigSti
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DeLorme started out like gangbusters and really made an effort to make inroads into the geocaching market. They were pretty successful for a while. I started seeing quite a few cachers with DeLormes and they probably outnumbered Magellans at least around here. I loved their Cache Register for loading PQ, because it made things so easy. Too bad they decided to abandon that nifty feature. It seems they lost desire to become a big player in the handheld dept.

 

I loved some of the early Lowrance units, but their Endura line was just plain full of isssues and they were slow to address them. The issue where the unit stops navigating to user entered waypoints when you get 50 feet away was still there years after release (has it ever been fixed?). That was a pretty huge bug for geocaching.

 

I think the handheld GPS mfrs are a bit confused as to whether or not there is even a future for their products and (with the exception of Garmin) aren't willing to sink a lot into development of something new.

Edited by briansnat
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DeLorme started out like gangbusters and really made an effort to make inroads into the geocaching market. They were pretty successful for a while. I started seeing quite a few cachers with DeLormes and they probably outnumbered Magellans at least around here. I loved their Cache Register for loading PQ, because it made things so easy. Too bad they decided to abandon that nifty feature. It seems they lost desire to become a big player in the handheld dept. . . .

 

It is my understanding that the original Delorme Cache Register application for the PN-40 device was made obsolescent by the switch to open management of Cache (waypoint) files in gpx format with the release of Delorme Topo9 mapping software. That process worked well until Groundspeak modified the security protocol and broke 2-way Delorme customer communication in Topo9. Delorme did not "decide" unilaterally to abandon "that" original nifty Cache Register feature of transferring single or multiple caches in delbin format from whatever 3rd party app was available. However, device management of PQs as complete gpx files is better supported and more reliable .

 

Delorme Topo10 once again contains automated support for file communication with Groundspeak PQs using existent security protocols for those who prefer not to unzip their own PQ files.

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