Are GPS Only Devices Still Viable?

Google Maps is the standard that all others are measured against.

Google Maps is the standard that all others are measured against.

Garmin and TomTom feel the pressure from smartphones

Map software, a hot ticket app since the introduction of iPhone, leads many these days to ask, “Are GPS only devices still viable?” Like most such questions, the answer depends on who you ask. Older folks, not part of the Smartphone using public, are more likely to use physical maps in combination with a dedicated GPS device. That seems to be a crucial demographic for Garmin, TomTom and other manufacturers of dedicated navigation devices.

Ask the same question of a teenage driver and you will get an entirely different answer. Google Maps, Apple Maps, Wave and numerous other navigation apps are the “go to” tools when it comes to teenaged drivers. Read a map? Are you kidding? Not this Generation. Ask a Yuppie buying a new car and he or she is likely to tell you they bought the car with an in dash navigation system. Gross off a dedicated GPS for that demographic as well.

Google Maps has been the de facto standard in Internet based mapping for quite some time. MapQuest, once a pretty good web based alternative, is an afterthought these days. I would challenge the ready to come up with a mapping alternative better than Google Maps. Heck, Street View alone is one of its coolest features. No other map app come close.

Apple Maps has come a long way since its fumbled launch a number of years ago. The Flyover feature in big cities where it is available is pretty cool. However, cool doesn’t get you from point A to point B any quicker or more efficiently than Google Maps. The good news is that over the past three years, Apple has expanded its mapping initiative and invested quite a large amount of resources acquiring specialized mapping businesses.

And don’t forget about the ride sharing apps. Uber in particular has a great navigation feature in its driver app. Of course, it’s only useful for Uber’s Driver Partners when they are actually on a shared ride. It’s also much quicker than manually entering destination addresses into a dedicated GPS device.

It has been my experience that dedicated GPS devices make great gifts, especially for new drivers with older first cars. They sure are not going to install an expensive aftermarket in dash system that might cost $700. Junior is the ideal candidate for a brand new $82 to $95 dollar Garmin Nuvi.

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2 comments for “Are GPS Only Devices Still Viable?

  1. Rose
    May 18, 2015 at 9:41 PM

    I am of the “older generation” and don’t have a smart phone. But I do have a Garmin and physical maps. I can’t get my arthritic fingers to work that fast on smart phone.

    • JB
      May 21, 2015 at 8:05 PM

      One of the features that might be very useful for you is Speech to Test. It is very useful and easy to learn. You should check it out!

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