Sunday, March 18, 2012

2011 GPS predictions

Crystal ballAfter a fairly successful round of predictions in 2009, I took a real drubbing this year. But glutton for punishment that I am, here comes another batch, though I am trying to be a bit more cautious. On a side note I’m going to have to start doing this post in early December, as multiple companies have already shared their CES news under embargo. So tight-lipped Garmin dominates this year’s predictions!

Auto GPS predictions

  • Garmin will introduce at least one more WiFi nuvi
  • The nuvi 465T will be updated with a 5” or 7” screen
  • Garmin will introduce nuvi 2460LT and 2460LMT models with 5” screens
  • 3.5” screens will be relegated to the bargain basement, and 5” screens will start to dominate the best seller list, which should mean more reasonable prices on 4.3” models

Handheld GPS predictions

  • The Garmin Oregon series will get a refresh, adding an improved camera
  • We’ll see an updated eTrex line from Garmin
  • Garmin handhelds with preloaded 1:24K topo and highway maps will be introduced
  • BirdsEye Select will bring USGS raster topos to Garmin handhelds
  • DeLorme will introduce a new series with a larger screen
  • File under more likely in 2012 — Garmin will introduce a SPOT-like service, possibly through an expanded partnership with Iridium
  • File under wishful thinking – A handheld manufacturer will utilize a built-in camera and geographic POI database to give us a unit with a Peak.AR type feature

GPS business predictions

  • Garmin will slowly wade further into the GPS tracking business
  • Expect to see HD turn up in several product names

Do you have any predictions or wishes to share? Hit the comments section and let us know.

About Rich Owings

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


  1. I am thinking that you are right on most of these. It will be interesting to see where garmin heads in business this year

  2. Rick Howard says:

    Interesting. No Magellan predictions?

  3. Thanks Andy.

    Rick, I’m under a non-disclosure agreement with them — they’ve already spilled their CES beans. That’s why I need to start doing this post earlier in the month.

  4. The GPS folk keep adding more interactivity features such as map editing, communicating with other devices, map updates and traffic. Notably they do not add new features to a GPS you have already bought – for example Garmin’s traffic history and route learning could be added to their existing devices but they choose not to. The economic problem is that once they have your money for a unit they do not want to incur any more expenses for it (reduces profit).

    The smart phone side of the house already has all those features including functionality updates and they are no additional charge if you have already paid for your phone and data plan. (The ability to provide ads when you search ultimately pays for things which is why they have an incentive to keep adding more features and make it so you use the service more.)

    Smart phone penetration keeps increasing. We can all see where the trajectory is heading – the only issue is labeling it with dates. The GarminPhone solution was obviously crap – it was both a mediocre GPS and a mediocre phone.

    The underlying question/prediction is if one of the established players is going to figure out how to undercut their own existing business in order to win the business of the future, or if they will let someone else come in and do that ultimately destroying their future. (See Innovator’s Dilemma for more.)

    My prediction is that the existing players will not do anything different this year, and in five years time when business analysts describe their fall they will be pointing to inactivity during this time period.

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