With the ubiquity of GPS technology, getting lost is a thing of the past. What was once exotic military technology, can now be purchased for the price equivalent to a week’s worth of Starbucks coffee. Google now includes free GPS navigation for its smartphones and Apple’s iPhone app store is filled with hundreds of navigation applications. Even with the competition from cell phones, personal navigation devices (PND) from companies like TomTom and Garmin are here to stay.
It is great that phones now have navigation, but they will not kill-off personal navigation devices. While smartphones are increasing in popularity among the tech-savvy crowd, don’t expect PNDs to become as irrelevant as an 8-track player. PNDs have a number of advantages that no iPhone app can overcome.
One of the biggest advantages smartphones have over PNDs is cost. Using a smartphone as a GPS costs a tremendous amount of money. Google may give the GPS software away gratis, but using it is far from free. Both the Motorola Droid and iPhone 3GS are $199.99 with a two-year contract which is double the price of an entry level PND.