Sunday, March 18, 2012

GPS predictions for 2012

2012 GPS predictionsAs I’ve been doing in recent years, I’ll play the fool once again, by trying to predict what we’ll see in the GPS industry over the next twelve months. I’m certainly being a bit more cautious than the first couple of times I did this, but it also seems harder to predict things now; I don’t know if that is due to the advent of mobile or because so many of the obvious improvements have been made or for some other reason. I‘m also posting this earlier than in past years, since I’m expecting CES news releases that are under embargo to start hitting my inbox any day, and I don’t want to feel limited in what I can say here. 

Auto GPS predictions

  • Garmin will expand their line of products offering HD traffic, but probably not until at least spring if not fall
  • The nuLink 2390 (or something similar to it) will be released in the US with live traffic cameras
  • Garmin will introduce a 7” dezl 700 series for trucks and RVs
  • A major manufacturer (probably Garmin or Magellan) will release a PND in the US with a driving recorder
  • File under less likely – Family/shared data plans, that allow you to have multiple devices on one data account, will breathe new life into connected PNDs

Handheld and fitness GPS predictions

  • Garmin will release new Montana series models with preloaded highway and 24K topo maps
  • The current Montana line will see a significant price drop
  • Garmin will introduce several new models around late May/early June
  • Magellan will introduce their first fitness device, the Switch UP

More GPS predictions

  • GPS tracking will continue to show up in new places and at least one major news story will center around it’s use (in addition to the this one…)
  • The US Supreme Court will effectively outlaw the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices
  • LightSquared will implode and file for bankruptcy, although the battle isn’t over as their wireless spectrum will eventually be bought by another company
  • We’ll see more innovative uses of Bluetooth, WiFi and ANT+
  • Domestic surveillance by drones will become more commonplace and controversial
  • GLONASS receivers will become more common as well

Sound off

What have I missed? What are your predictions for the coming year?

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. A move toward brighter screens that are more touch-responsive? My Dakota’s feature set is great, but the dim screen and erratic response to touch aren’t even close to what Apple offers in the iPhone and iPad.

  2. Thanks Rich, I love the speculation!

    What are your thoughts on GLONASS? Will the new models have the TesioII chip or will Garmin wait for a more powerful processor before integration with more processor intensive units (bigger screens). Or will the upcoming advances in the next generation of GNSS be enough?

    • I don’t have any particular insights there, but we certainly know that Garmin has been favoring STM chips for awhile now. Moving to the Teseo II wouldn’t be a big surprise.

  3. offthegrid says:

    Here’s hoping TomTom rolls out a working connected unit with saved Google searches and an Edge connection.

  4. Well this is nothing but wishful thinking, but hey… it’s the season of miracles 😀

    How about if 2012 was the year when Garmin opened up their proprietary .img file format with a “personal edition” of their MPC (Mapsource Product Creator) software? As the situation currently stands, Garmin considers their format proprietary and doesn’t provide any tools for ordinary people who want to make their own maps. Instead, we must use reverse-engineered third party tools that all have their own quirks and don’t support the full feature sets of current Garmin devices.

    Garmin controls MPC very tightly and will only license it to their approved partners, with an entry somewhere around $5,000/year. But even if you can afford it, they won’t license it to anybody who makes maps that cover the same area as their own products. That includes everybody making maps of the US, for example.

    So come on Garmin, why not give us a personal edition of MPC that could be used to make non-commercial maps? I’d be willing to pay something for that.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! 🙂

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