Sunday, March 18, 2012

A look back at my 2009 predictions

Rear-view-mirror I haven’t decided if I’ll do a 2010 predictions post yet, but in the process of thinking about it, I decided to take a look at last year’s effort and see how I did. My comments as to the outcome are in italics following each prediction…

read more

MSN Direct to end January 1, 2012

MSN logo on end MSN Direct has announced that they will cease operations on January 1, 2012. This will effect owners of Garmin nuvi x8x units, although with plenty of lead time, I doubt that it will be a huge issue for them. Garmin however, may have trouble marketing any backlog of these units they have on hand. You can read all the gory details here.


Google and the business of map data collection

A lengthy and detailed interview with Mike Dobosn of TeleMapics has been posted at Search Engine Land, where the map data insider hypothesizes about Google Map’s data sources. What’s really fascinating though, is the peek inside the business of collecting and verifying map data. I may have to print this one out and read it several times. If you have any serious interest in the subject, this one is well worth your time. Here are a few tidbits:

On the collection of “anonymized” cell phone data:

“Yes, I know that it is collected anonymously, but if that track starts out at the same house each day and returns to the same house each night, doesn’t it suggest where you live? For that reason, at least one of the major PND companies, whose users have agreed to tracking, shaves the first two minutes and the last two minutes off of every path. Does everyone follow this standard? I don’t know, but everyone should be interested in how the DNA of their GPS traces are “neutered” by the companies using them. Further, the four minutes of data thrown away probably contains really useful information about local streets, but so it goes.” 

read more

Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ a duopoly no more

This has been an interesting week for those of us following the geospatial data giants that provide the road network data found on most automotive GPS navigators. NAVTEQ and Tele Atlas have long been regarded as a virtual duopoly, and it was only two short years ago that a bidding war erupted, with TomTom acquiring Tele Atlas and Nokia buying NAVTEQ.

But all of a sudden we have two new, huge players in the market. A week ago, it was revealed that Apple had purchased Placebase, resulting in speculation that they would dump Google Maps from the iPhone. Then yesterday Tele Atlas confirmed rumors that Google had dropped them in the U.S., with Google now using their own data. I hesitate to speculate, but the places this could go just boggles the mind.

Mio Moov M300 and M400 – Black Friday specials?


UPDATE: Okay commenters, you’re right, it’s not the iGO interface, but it does appear to be the Navman interface, and not the Spirit. I stand by my Black Friday prediction though!

Mio just can’t seem to make up their mind. When we last heard from them they were touting the Spirit interface on their S-series units. I never got to play with one for more than a few minutes, but it seemed pretty clunky to me.

Well this morning we learned about two new models, the Moov M300 and M400 (pictured above), which appear to use their old iGO interface. But wait; Nav N Go, creator of iGO, suspended their relationship with Mio early last year due to “breach of contract.” Further confusing matters is Mio’s lack of retail presence in the U.S., which is pretty much confined to Radio Shack at this point.

read more

Garmin nuvi 1690 and nuLink! announced


UPDATE: Read my hands on Garmin nuvi 1690 review.

We first learned of the Garmin nüvi 1690 from the FCC a month ago, and today it’s official. As expected, the unit will sport a built-in wireless connection to a new service, dubbed nuLink!, which will provide access to Google™ local search, traffic, weather, fuel prices, movie listings, flight status, local events, white page telephone listings, and the Ciao!™ location-based social networking system. A nuLink! services coverage map is shown at the end of this post.

read more

Navigon USA folds


Following several days of speculation in blogs and on message boards, Navigon CEO Egon Minar has confirmed that they will “withdraw from the PND business in North America.” Though they are saying this is “for the time being,” I seriously doubt that they will ever reverse this decision. Navigon is keeping their Chicago office open, but it is unclear what level (if any) of support services will remain, or if Navigon owners will be able to purchase new services.

read more

TomTom ONE and XL IQ Routes editions heading to U.S.?


UPDATE: Read my reviews of the TomTom ONE 140, ONE 140-S, XL 340 and XL 340-S

Yesterday TomTom announced new editions of the TomTom ONE and XL, featuring IQ Routes and Advanced Lane Guidance, which had previously been available only on newer GO models. While these new models are first being introduced in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand, GpsPasSion is reporting that they will ultimately make their way to the U.S. Others are speculating that we won’t see them on this side of the pond until TomTom reduces its backlog of inventory here in the States.

MiTAC completes purchase of Magellan

MiTAC has announced the completion of their purchase of Magellan’s consumer products division, and revealed some insights into their strategy and future plans:

  • The Mio and Magellan product lines will coexist in the U.S., though they will share technological expertise
  • Mio will add new “GPS-based lifestyle products” to their line, so maybe we’ll soon see their Mobile Internet Device that was on display at CES

UPDATE: TWICE is reporting that this or a similar device (they are calling it a UMPC ) will hit the market this fall at around $299.

read more

GPS predictions for 2009

Crystal ball

Disclaimer: These are predictions and nothing more, so keep your sense of humor and please don’t sue me.

Auto GPS predictions

  • A nuvi 8×5 series will bring lane assist and voice recognition together in one unit
  • Garmin discontinues the nuvi 200 series; all Garmin nuvi models will now have text-to-speech
  • Crowdsourced HD traffic comes to the US with the stateside introduction of the TomTom GO LIVE series
  • TomTom releases a GPS receiver that utilizes alternative positioning information for improved accuracy in urban canyons
  • More manufacturers display multiple route options visually, ala Dash and Insignia
  • Navigon folds, caught between Nextar on the low end and MiTAC’s aggressive promotion of the Magellan line
  • Red light camera alerts will move closer to the mainstream
  • More downward feature creep — expect to see Lane Assist on some mid-range Garmins, more units with lifetime traffic, larger screens, etc.
  • Garmin announces a desktop application (possibly a
    revamped MapSource) that allows planning routes with POIs and
    transferring them to Garmin units with current City Navigator maps; it
    will be set up to allow users to opt into sharing anonymized tracklogs
    ala TomTom HOME
  • Said application will support wireless transfer of data via ANT or Bluetooth

read more