May 9, 2007

TomTom and Garmin Pricing This Spring/Summer

Pricing is about to take a big change as new models hit the market and the driving season is upon us. I have been seeing a few dynamics going on over the last year that has spurred me to take a look at the prices going forward, and I thought that I would share my speculations with you.

1) Value Models are starting to compete and bring new users into the market, while setting a price point for comparison sake. Not only are people discovering the GPS market through brands like Mio but they are influencing how people decide what to buy; “Unkown Brand at $169, Mio C220 at $199, or a TomTom ONE at $279?” This $200 price point will be the gauge to which all others are measured directly or indirectly. In other words, for now, the market will be driven by the $200 level and TomTom will price premium versus this level; Garmin in turn will price premium to TomTom.

2) TomTom has decided to gain market share through very competitive pricing. The TomTom ONE has dropped precipitously in price over the past six months, making it quite possibly the best value on the market; high quality interface at a reasonable price. See this pricing study about market prices and follow the link to the write-up to see a pricing study by brands. You'll see how TomTom went from premium pricing to lower overall pricing in the last six months. Partially driven by older models, but certainly by a pricing only move.

3) Conversely Garmin has decided to make money with price premiums to TomTom, while using their size to segment the market as only the market leader can do. If you have a huge share of the market, retailers are tolerant of your “few dozen models” approach, whereas if you have a small share of the market, retailers won’t tolerate proliferation of models such that each model moves one unit a month…. It just doesn’t pay out for them to stock you. Garmin knows this and is starting to leverage their scale with the smart segmentation of the market, and the launch of the Nuvi 200 series, and the additional Nuvi 650 unit to the Nuvi 600 series.

In the scenario below, I give you some important features, then current or list prices (in the cases where the units aren’t shipping yet), and finally the expected prices for the coming months. I may be wrong about this, but maybe this is where the prices SHOULD be.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 4, 2007

Living Greener with a GPS

In a nice happy spin on things, one UK based insurance company is asking people to sign up for a policy that includes the installation of a GPS black box on your car. The unit will report back to the insurance company and they will send you regular updates to help you drive more efficiently, letting you know how many short trip you have taken, if you are speeding, and if you can save money by driving differently..... Somewhere in the fine print there has to be some kind of risk assessment as a result of knowing your exact driving habits. Will that translate into higher insurance premiums? That's where the whole thing falls apart for me. Anyway, they estimate for this little waiver of your driving habit secrecy they can save you £120 per year in gas costs.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 2, 2007

Global Locate vs SiRF- Complaint Investigation Opened

Global Locate, announced that the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in Washington, D.C. instituted a patent infringement investigation against SiRF Technology, Inc. and four of its customers: E-TEN Corporation (``E-TEN''), Pharos Science & Applications, Inc. (``Pharos''), MiTAC International Corporation (``MiTAC''), and Mio Technology Limited, USA (``Mio''). The investigation was instituted on the basis of a Complaint filed with the ITC by Global Locate, Inc. against SiRF and the four customers. The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States of certain GPS devices and products that infringe patents owned by Global Locate. The complainant requests that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders. Administrative Law Judge Robert L. Barton, Jr. will preside over the investigation.

The ITC will investigate allegations that certain SiRF GPS devices, and certain products of E-TEN, Pharos, MiTAC, Mio and other SiRF customers containing SiRF's GPS devices, infringe six (6) Global Locate patents concerning GPS devices and methods and systems for using such devices. Global Locate patents 6,651,000 and 7,158,080 relate to Global Locate's Long Term Orbit (LTO) technology. Global Locate patents 6,417,801, 6,937,187 and 6,704,651 relate to algorithms for achieving fast fixes using only coarse time assistance and for enhancing receiver sensitivity. Global Locate patent 6,606,346 relates to an architecture for efficient parallel correlation in a GPS receiver.

More on Global Locate vs. SiRF

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Jensen NVXM1000 Gets FCC OK


Jensen just received the OK from the FCC to launch their top of the line NVXM-1000 GPS system with an 8GB drive, 4 inch color screen and when you pop in an XM mini-receiver it gets XM Real-Time Traffic. The Unit was previewed at CES 2007. The price tag isn't small on this one, and is going to be somewhere at the upper end of the current price range for GPS units, expect $800+.

I recently reviewed its little sibling the Jensen NVX227.


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April 27, 2007

OnStar and Mapquest in Partnership


Mapquest and OnStar are in a new partnership that allows Mapquest users to send their directions to their OnStar service. Map out your destination and hit "Send to OnStar" to get your turn by turn directions with voice prompts. You will be able to store up to 5 destinations which can be retreived at any time. This is a pretty good service, but at a GPS user, I would love to be able to see where I am going instead of just "hearing" where I am going.

Press Release follows...

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 26, 2007

GPS On a SIM Card

Wow, nothing says GPS Capability in a Mobile Phone like having a GPS chip right on the SIM card. SIM cards are in the backs of many mobile phones around the world these days, and BlueSky Positioning has what seems like an incredible application for GPS technology. The product is Assisted GPS capable, or A-GPS, which has the ability to talk to servers to help the chip predict where satellites are, and "look" in the right places for them. This speeds satellite acquisition and reduces your wait time.

According to the story in The Register, handsets using JSR177 Java programming that talks with the SIM chip could support full mapping, location and route-planning capabilities like you see on stand alone GPS devices. BlueSky apparently has working prototypes and is looking for a partner to produce the SIMs.

Via The Register

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TeleAtlas LBS Finalists Announced

Tele Atlas announced the finalists of the Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series event held in conjunction with the Wireless Innovations Conference produced by Dow Jones VentureWire. I always think these types of things are interesting to check out, as they give you a quick look at what is possible and what may be coming to a GPS/Phone/Computer near you.

Based on the business potential of their LBS applications and attractiveness to venture capitalists, eight finalists were selected by Dow Jones to present their new location-based solutions to venture capitalists and industry experts at the 2007 conference, being held this week at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay in Redwood City , CA . This exclusive opportunity is a key component of the ongoing Tele Atlas LBS Innovators Series, a program designed to help enable wireless application developers to expand their visibility, credibility and success with key participants in the industry, including investors, carriers and technology providers.

The finalists are:

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April 25, 2007

Another Day Another Suit in the GPS World

So, if you wanted to target a growth industry, it might be in patent law litigation for the GPS industry..... Apparently Acacia Research is suing Garmin, Cobra, Magellan, and TomTom. This company Mobile Traffic Solutions, a subsidiary of Acacia Research claims to have the exclusive license for patent numbers 7,069,143 and 6,728, 628. Both patents pertain to the technology for displaying traffic information and downloading it over broadcast technology; hummm sounds like TMC Traffic, eh? They are naming the Nuvi 680 so they must believe that the MSN network capability is covered by the same patent.

ReadMore at GPS Business News

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April 24, 2007

LG GPS Line Released: LN740, LN735, LN730


LG announced the launch today of their trio GPS units for the US. They previewed the line at CES this past January. We'll try to get the new LG GPS units in for review in the coming weeks/months. The top of the line LG LN740 comes with traffic feeds and a 4-inch screen. We'll see, at a list price of $449, not a bad price.

"The portable navigation market is moving rapidly, with a growth in unit sales of over 250 percent industrywide in the U.S. last year. LG is strategically positioned to manufacture and deliver this innovative technology to U.S. consumers," said Allan Jason, vice president of Consumer Electronics Marketing, LG Electronics USA, Inc. "LG's 25 plus years of experience serving consumer needs in both the OEM and aftermarket automotive electronics industry provide a solid foundation for our U.S. portable navigation launch."

More from their Press Release...

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

April 21, 2007

Ghost Ship Adrift

File this under creepy; recently a sailboat was found adrift with no crew, the GPS cranking out the coordinates and a table set for a meal. The "Ghost Ship" was found drifting off the east coast of Australia with no signs of its crew. Maybe its GPS will give a clue as to when and where things went wrong.

More at Sky News

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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