Future Direction Of GPS: Single Function or Multiple Function


If you had influence over the future direction of GPS, automobile or others, would you prefer single function, meaning actual navigating and routing only, or do you prefer multiple function, MP3 player, XM/Sirius satellite, camera, TV, telephone, wifi internet browser, etc?

I sort of have mixed feelings on this. My Garmin StreetPilot 2730 is very feature rich and, unfortunately, some of those features are no longer available on the Nuvi line. So from that perspective I wish they would add back in additional pure routing functions. And while I do sort of like the "Swiss Army Knife" approach in some respects, it can be inconvenient, too. For example, routing with a GPS Phone and a telephone call comes in, you have to ignore the call or stop routing to talk on the telephone. On the other hand I like the MP3 functionality of my 2730 as a back up to my main source of entertainment in my work vehicle.

Plenty of room for both...

Different markets, different products -- look at my lab bench. I've got a cheepie LCD multimeter that does lots of things and has a 3 1/2 digit display.

When I have special requirements (precision, millivolt readings, etc.) I turn to the HP 3458A -- a lab instrument costing many times more than the cheepie.

Same with GPS -- don't think surveyors need MP3 players in their GPS equipment! Hikers probably don't need bluetooth, MP3, and audiobooks.

The feature overlap over families of products is also getting annoying. Just because you can build bluetooth into something does that mean you should? I was loading stuff into the car over the weekend, going back and forth between the car and the garage. Got a call on the cell phone. Since the car was open, its bluetooth system was alive, so the car grabbed the call, even though I was about 15 feet away! Fumbled with the phone and ended up disconnecting the caller. Went and sat in the car and waited for them to call back.

Nuvi 2460, 680, DATUM Tymserve 2100, Trimble Thunderbolt, Ham radio, Macintosh, Linux, Windows

Au contraire. :)

k6rtm wrote:

Hikers probably don't need ... MP3, and audiobooks.

Au contraire. smile

We are inevitably moving towards a single appliance for all but specialized users. Hikers will carry their one unit phone, gps, media player - while mountain climbers might opt for a more specialized device with barometric pressure, gps.....and a media player for down time in camp.



Future Direction Of GPS: Single Function or Multiple Function

For the vehicle, something like the Garmin Nuvi 1820 would be slick. Add Slacker Radio's ability to cache data and a mobile DTV receiver (ATSC-M/H) and I would be all set.

For the person, a Nuvifone with Slacker Radio would be handy. It looks like the Nuvifone will work with pre-paid phone SIM cards, so it would be nice not being tethered to a long term contract. Again, the ATSC-M/H could be handy, but I bet it would drain the bettery fairly quickly. Maybe giving the end user the ability to change batteries, like the Garmin Nuvi 500, would be handy. Having it rugged, and water-resistant like this would be nice, but I am sure that wouldn't be affordable.


I'd prefer

I'd like it if my gps could sync with my radio as well as my phone. Instead of just the phone. Then I could have a hands free setup, use the stereo system (the expensive stereo system) and get red light camera prompts.

For now I'll settle with a tape deck adaptor and my Nuvi 360.

Eventually I'll be buying http://www.my-io.com/Products/iOPLAY.aspx

Jesus died for your sins. If you don't sin, Jesus died for nothing.


I prefer a single piece of equipment to do one thing well. The Ipod does the music, the cell phone don't work in the mountains, and the GPS shows me where I am.

That's all I ask.

If you ain't got pictures, I wasn't there.

My experience with multiple functions on in-dash

After getting my Street Pilot stolen I bought and installed a Kenwood DNX8120 DDIN in-dash GPS w/stereo. While using the GPS to give me directions I got a phone call which took away the turn by turn instruction. This was in North Jersey which I'm still not familiar with and I immediately started getting lost. Then I thought to push the button on the bottom to switch to the Nav display giving me visual routing information without the turn by turn and this got me home. This is a high end unit that comes close to doing everything - CD/DVD, iPod, bluetooth, HDRadio, rear monitor and XM weather/traffic/stocks. The DTV will not come out until 2010 and it doesn't do MSN Direct (DNX9140 does) nor USB touchscreen needed to support Magden video gauges.

I have to agree

alpine1 wrote:

I prefer a single piece of equipment to do one thing well. The Ipod does the music, the cell phone don't work in the mountains, and the GPS shows me where I am.

That's all I ask.

Looking back, I've been been bit by those allin-oneder hits. The concept is appealing, but somewhere in the middle you may have to give up something to have it all. The good news is that (hopefully) we will continue to have the choice between a Swiss Army Knife or pocket knife and a screw driver and everyone will have what they think is best for them.

"There's no substitute for local knowledge" nüvi 750, nüvi 3597

One issue with hikers is battery power

Not only do more functions require more power but to get more power a bigger battery is required. One solution is a solar panel which also would add weight and to do any good would have to be aimed at the Sun in daylight. Of course a battery would still be required. On the other hand this combo would work pretty good for a cross country bicyclist who could have a GPS with an XM Nav receiver to get weather data as well as music and news wherever he is, mounting a solar panel on his bicycle to keep it powered.

Multi & Single

Some things I have I like to have multi-functionality, within limits, but for my GPS, I want fewer... Part of the reason I got a Nuvi 260 was because I had no need for some features on other more expensive units, or I already had devices that did these other things. None of my current devices "does everything" and I have no interest in any product or device, gps, phone, whatever, that does.

Drivesmart 66, Nuvi 2595LMT (Died), Nuvi 1490T (Died), Nuvi 260 (Died), GPSMAP 195

The problem with the smart phone that does everything

To have a device like the Palm Pre, iPhone (does somethings quite well), or the Blackberry Storm (a great phone, it just doesn't work) is not yet the panacea that was promised. I purchased the Storm on the basis that Verizon finally offered a phone for which the GPS was not disabled. It also was supposed to serve as a decent camera, video camera, mp3 player, reposity of photos, email, texting, internet access ($45/month and $15 more to tether to my laptop). I now had a phone that could find my location using GPS and give me directions, warn me of police traps and red light/speed cameras, display local weather maps, local movie times, and even the nearest restroom. the problem is it doesn't do any of these very well because it has trouble juggling all of these functions in software. But, as a software engineer I know these problems can be resolved although I wonder what's taking so long. I suppose I will wait and see if the Storm II is going to be that much bette.

I love my iPhone but I still want a dedicated GPSr

I love my iPhone for all things it does for me recreationally and professionally. I use its GPS capability quite often finding gas prices, local attractions, and even as an extra traffic monitor with Google Maps. But I still keep my dedicated GPSr.

With a dedicated GPSr I can mount it where it is best for navigation, which isn't the best place for phone/iPod music player. The screen is optimized for navigation and the ability to add custom POI has yet to be achieved with the iPhone. Also, with my aging eyes, I intend to get the 5" screen the next time I get a GPSr. The iPhone screen is fine for me when it is close but in driving conditions I can't mount it close enough to be easily readable.

Brent - DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S

Objections to Multi-Purpose Device

It sounds like many objections to a multi-purpose device are not with the added features themselves - but with their ability to function flawlessly.

Time will solve these, it wasn't too long ago that many saw no need whatsoever for a cell phone - or for storing phone numbers electronically in them. The "phone book" was not too long ago an option only purchased by salesmen and the like.

Someone should put an alarm in their email calendar to dig this thread up in a decade. It will be interesting to see what we then accept as standard and indivisible.



I have a combo PDA and GPS. WHEN it works right, I love it.
I am now on my 7th-8th one. All but one was replaced under warranty.
I wonder why Garmin discontinued the device???
Mostly I like multi-function devices, but they MUST work in all their functions or they are too frustrating to me.