Here's a thought for discussion.
Tom Tom and now Navigon (remember them?) have both announced navigation software for the iPhone. Garmin is supposed to release the much anticipated Nuviphone (or whatever they are going to call it) sometime this year after delay upon delay.
It seems like navigation is starting to become more portable and being included in more devices. Are we going to find ourselves in a position where you have a device that does all things - GPS, camera, smartphone, etc. - sort of like a "Jack of all trades but master of none" scenario? Or is the convergence of technology going to lead to a backlash when people realize that a standalone GPS unit is still far superior to a software solution on a phone?
I would be interested in hearing what our forum members think.
... GPS, camera, smartphone, etc...
That's my Blackjack II. I have Garmin Moble XT installed on it.
I have a friend with an Iphone who was hoping to use it as, among other things, the "one tool" for geocaching. But after trying it a few times she discovered that, for her at least, while the GPS in the Iphone may be adequate to find a restaurant, it isn't precise enough to locate a container in the woods. So now she owns an Iphone and a Garmin Colorado.
Many people are going to want the "Swiss Army Knife" convenience of technological convergence, but let's face it, sometimes the scissors in a Swiss Army Knife aren't going to cut what you need to cut, and you'll have to get a pair of "real" scissors to do the job. Same with buying "home theater" packages versus component equipment. If the market is big enough (and I think that's certainly the case for the smart phone/GPS/camera market), there will be room, and buyers, for both approaches.
The standalone GPS isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but think of all the devices the multi-function cellphone has eliminated : home phone (for many), PDA, MP3 player, low resolution (soon to be mid to high) digital camera, etc.
There's a reason for "best of breed" in many tools, appliances, electronics, etc. The "all-in-one" is definitely a bonus when your needs are light, but they're aggravating when your needs exceed their capabilities. For example, I have an HP color inkjet that also scans, faxes, copies. It's cost and especially speed would be unbearable for plain black text printing, so I have a low cost laser printer for those situations. Would love to have one printer, but I'll suffer with two.
Not that I've got a great phone camera, but I do have a decent point-and-shoot camera, 10Mp. I'm willing to bring that along when I want to record something for keeps. When someone puts an entire Nikon D90 or so in a cell phone, then I'll be convinced.
I've tried the nav on my Instinct phone (iPhone wannbe), and it's clear, accurate, and useable, but I'll still bring along my Garmin 200W if I really want to know how to get somewhere--big screen, easy to use (input in particular), and equally accurate.
What it comes down to for me is the man-machine interface. If we're so smart (as humans), we should be able to develop machines that work the way we want to work; not the other way around.
Some jurisdictions ban hand held GPS devices, so this may be a problem, unless it's mounted in the car. It's bad enough using a ce3ll, let alone holding a handheld GPS and trying to navigate.
I also have a Garmin Mobile XT on my phone..very cool. But it is what it is. It really is GPS lite but in a pinch and in many cases it is fine but it is weak in many ways. But you have to admit these all in one devices are getting better all the time.
I am using Garmin XT on a Palm 700w. It works good and is very adequate. At one time I also considered a standalone GPS, but what I have works for me. In the future the phone will become an all in one type tool. It will probably take a while before the phone GPS is accurate enough to geocache, use in the air, or on the open seas. Technology has advanced rapidly and continues to make leaping changes to our daily lives.
Many of these multi-function devices (phone/camera/GPS, printer/copier/fax, etc.) do a serviceable job and cost less than the individual devices separately. But I do not see multi-functional cell phone replacing a GPS unit. I have enough trouble seeing my 4.3" nuvi sitting on my dash, I'd have a heck of a time with a 2" cell phone screen!
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