Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS in the competitive marketplace

Strategy Analytics has released a report entitled "Portable Navigation:  Vendors Face Consolidation and Automotive Fightback." Electronic News has an article on this report about the GPS marketplace that says:

"The firm concludes that investment and competitive pressures are also expected to drive consolidation among portable navigation vendors in the next 12 months."

All Points Blog’s read on the report is that cell phones are going to eat into market share for portable/personal navigation device (PND) manufacturers.

I’ve got a couple of comments on this. First of all, I read an article this weekend (which I wish I could find and link to) that said that U.S. consumers, unlike others around the world, are dissatisfied with overly complicated cell phones. Do they really want their phone to be their PND? And how long will it take the providers to come up with an intuitive interface that isn’t a pain in the butt?  I’m not buying the fact that cell phones are going to hurt Garmin, TomTom and Magellan. Not anytime soon. The Electronic News article goes on to say:

"There are now indications that portable navigation device (PND) growth is slowing, and the demand from the smaller but highly significant segment of consumers who require route guidance on a regular basis has practically been met by low-cost PNDs," said Joanne Blight, director of the firm’s automotive practice, in a statement. "

I’d love to see their data showing "indications that portable navigation device (PND) growth is slowing." I’ve seen no signs of it. And automotive manufacturers? I think they’ve got a ways to go before factory-installed GPS receivers compete in terms of price, ease of use, software updates and support. Not to mention that it’s a lot easier to upgrade to a new PND.

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About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.

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