January 23, 2007

GPS Adoption to Grow, Just Say "NO" to Ads!

According to a recent study prepared for Marketing Daily, 30% of American households either have a GPS or plan on getting one in the next year. No wonder why the world of consumer electronics manufacturers are clamoring to get into the market. The study is also reporting that the more income you have, the higher the likelihood that you already have your GPS; saying that 1 in 5 households with income over $75,000 have a GPS, while only 3% of those who earn less than $25,000 have one.

Apparently safety is a big selling point for people who are buying GPS systems, and in my mind, can be one of those planks of advertising to convince potential users to buy them. People are certainly feeling calmer and more in control as a result of the units, with almost 40% of GPS users saying that they are less frustrated as a result of using their GPS.

No to Advertising on my GPS!
A whopping 75% of respondents said that they would hat it if they received unsolicited advertisements on their GPS. Seems like a thin line there between advocacy for a place to eat or entertainment, and advertising it. We are already seeing the ground being laid for branded icons on national outlets. So you might see the golden arches of McDonald’s instead of just a generic restaurant icon. With the recent introduction of gasoline price information on the Garmin Nuvi 680 and the StreetPilot 580, one has to wonder if streamed information about other outlets isn’t close behind. It will be interesting to see how manufacturers approach this thin line between information and advertising as the lure of location based ad revenue grows bigger and bigger.

Read More stats and facts at Marketing Daily

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January 22, 2007

GPS Illegal in Switzerland?

The Swiss authorities are apparently enforcing a law that makes it illegal to use any device that warns about safety/speeding cameras, either fixed or mobile. Apparently authorities are on the lookout for people using devices that have the ability to store the locations of GPS units that can alert drivers to the location of such cameras (which are most GPS units in Europe), and they are confiscating them. Unfortunately they are destroying them and fining the drivers. This sounds a lot like the stories of police here in the US confiscating radar detectors in states where they are illegal and stomping on them in front of the drivers who own them. OUCH!

The situation in Switzerland is being clarified, but it appears that devices that can be used to identify the locations of speed cameras in Switzerland are illegal to use or to be sold. This could really cause an issue for people traveling through there on vacation. Where exactly is the line drawn? Cable of warning speed cameras, but not actually loaded with Swiss cameras, is that OK? Try explaining that to the officer in another language.

More information on this at YourNav

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January 19, 2007

Stolen GPS Devices Call Police - Three Arrested

Whoops - three were arrested in NY when the GPS units that they allegedly stole notified police of their whereabouts. Apparently the GPS units were part of the DPW plan to track and monitor Snow Plows and other municipal vehicles in the area, and looked like mobile phones. When the town reached out to their GPS units, they found them and when the police arrived, they said that 46-year-old Kurt Husfeldt was holding the device. His 13 year old son and another man were also arrested.


Update: This also landed on the Morning Edition at NPR - go there to listen.

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WalMart stopping GPS Sales?


So a lot of shoppers noticed that WalMart was one of the lowest priced outlets for GPS systems this past holiday season, but did you know that 40% of them will be returned? According to Digitimes, WalMart is considering dropping GPS units from its inventory due to the large number of returns on the units. They cite that while 25% of GPS units are returned nationally, a greater proportion (40%) are returned at WalMart therefore making it unprofitable. This number is much higher than other consumer electronics categories.

Apparently other outlets like Best Buy and Circuit City are starting to limit the return period to 14 days after purchase instead of the usual 30 days. It will be interesting to see what happens, as Digitimes often has the scoop on things going on in the GPS world.

ReadMore at Digitimes

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New Sure Shot Golf GPS

The Sure Shot GPS Golf course device is getting an upgrade in the near future. At the upcoming PGA show in Orlando they will introduce an upgraded Sure Shot GPS system that will include several enhancements to make the product a lot better to use. The device can help golfers estimate distances while on golf courses thus making their game better….. their game, probably not mine. Anyway, the newer units have: a next generation GPS chipset, a brighter screen, better battery life (lasts 13 hours or 2 rounds of golf), and will be WAAS compliant. With the $399 list price, you get a year’s subscription to golf courses around the world, so that your unit is ready to go when you are.

More at Sure Shot

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January 17, 2007

Mio C310x Price Break - $198 at Fry’s

Looks like we caught a break in the New Year, Fry’s has dropped the price on the Mio C310x to $198, and has Free Shipping. Not sure how long this will last, as they seem to move the price around on this. First introduced to the masses on Black Friday last year, the Mio C310x has become a fairly well known little GPS. Capable and sure-footed, this little unit has a lot going for it despite its low price. There are a few quirks; it’s not perfect. Main issues are maps and some routing oddities. Mio is working hard to solve both of these issues with a Map update soon, and they are fixing routing issues on the fly. More information:

  • My Review of the Mio C310x
  • News on Map updates
  • New on Washington DC routing issues patch

    Thanks to reader Vu who sent this in.

    Mio C310x at Fry's for $198

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  • GPS Use: Losing our Ability to Read Maps?

    A recent article in the Times Online posed the question; Are GPS units and Sat-Nav's ruining our ability to read maps? This will be interesting to see how it plays out. I mean as young kids grow up around personal navigation systems, will they never learn how to read a map? The Times has a good quote on potential skill loss:

    Rita Gardner, president of the Royal Geographical Society, said: “I firmly believe that sat-navs are depriving us of our ability to read maps. This is a terrible thing because maps are more than pieces of paper that tell us how to get from A to B. They have so much extra that can benefit us.”

    I wonder if people said that during the transition from the horse drawn wagon to the automobile, "People are losing their ability to take care of a horse and drive a wagon. The critical skills of cleaning a stall, harnessing a horse and properly using a whip are being lost in this horseless carriage era."

    Personally, I don't think my map reading skills have fallen off in the few years I have been using a GPS, but my sense of direction and space has.

    Sense of Direction
    As I have blindly followed GPS systems to my destination and back, I cede almost all control of my navigation over to the unit. If the thing ever dies while I was at a destination, I might never be able to get back because I haven't noted how to get there; relying solely on the GPS to get me back. This mental holiday is fine most of the time, because it wouldn't be hard to find a known highway and get home.

    Redundant Systems in the Woods
    This is NOT the case when I am out navigating in the woods, on either a short day hike or longer treks. By using a GPS I am actually MORE aware of where I am going, where I have been and what the landmarks are around me because I am looking at a 2-D rendering of my trek at least every few minutes. When I am outdoors and navigating I am very aware of the consequences of a broken GPS or dead batteries, so I am pretty cautious in these cases and have redundant systems. I would recommend that you are too.

    ReadMore at the Times Online

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    Another GPS Tracking Device, Another Bomb Scare

    Seems like this is going to become more common as GPS tracking devices become more popular; apparently yesterday yet another GPS tracking device was mistaken for a bomb and the bomb squad came out to defuse the situation, only to confirm that the unit was a GPS tracking device. The Private Investigator had already come forward and said that he was tracking the person who owned the truck it was attached to. We’ve seen this tracking device bomb scare thing before, when a man was tracking his wife, as well as a Geocache being mistaken for a bomb too.


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    January 16, 2007

    NAVTEQ MapReporter - Map Change Requests

    NAVTEQ has officially announced their re-designed MapReporter program that we talked about back on January 2nd, thanks to the tip from a GPSLodge reader who turned us onto the news. The program seeks to make you the citizen map makers and have you report on mapping errors and changes to help them update their data sets. The program follows the start of a similar program, called Map Insight, last year from rival map maker TeleAtlas. When I talked with TeleAtlas in December, they said that they have millions of changes each month to their data sets, but only a small fraction are coming from their MapInsight program. I still have faith in these systems because the most nagging issues might just be that hard to find problem with a major intersection that was just re-designed and the mapping companies aren't aware of it. I think it's a great move for both of them.

    Press Release Follows...

    ArrowContinue reading: "NAVTEQ MapReporter - Map Change Requests"

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    January 15, 2007

    CSR Buys GPS Capability - GPS Chips less than a $1

    A company called CSR out of the UK has made a major move into the market for GPS (global positioning system) technology with the acquisition of two firms - Cambridge Positioning Systems and NordNav Technologies. CSR spent over $75million on the two firms to bring together Bluetooth and GPS technology onto one chip.

    Now the particulars aren’t terribly interesting, but the fact of the matter is that CSR is going to be developing more sensitive GPS chips than we’ve seen so far and integrating them with Bluetooth to make for some small, cheap chips that will find their way into a lot of electronics (read mobile phones, laptops, and anything else with data storage, or a network connection and a screen).

    "CSR’s acquired patented GPS solution is a software-based architecture that allows an incremental price that falls to less than $1 of the overall bill-of-materials when used with CSR’s Bluetooth technology," said CSR.

    ArrowContinue reading: "CSR Buys GPS Capability - GPS Chips less than a $1"

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

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