Sat Nav systems needed anymore?


Is there still a market for sat nav, GPS type hardware now that there are an abundance of smartphone apps providing GPS? Industry experts are divided, but possibly biased. The technology has advanced at a speed of knots over the past few years, and people do take it for granted.


Tom Tom and Garmin seem to be the market leaders in the hardware GPS markets, but they too supply smartphone apps. This seems a crazy business model from both but there are subtle reasons for it. Essentially the reason is that hardware systems have alot better GPS receivers, which is extremely important in inner city areas. For example, most London or New York cabs will have hardware sat navs as these systems are only designed to do one thing, finding how to get where you need to go in the shortest possible time. Smartphone apps tend to try and do too many things which can lead to them failing. Needing to re-boot your phone, for example, whilst trying to navigate the M25 can cause you huge headaches.


Apps on smartphones tend to have more user friendly interfaces and screens, and are obviously cheap if not free to download ( ignoring the actual cost of the phone of course). Also, sat nav hardware functions have rarely been upgraded in years and therefore their cost has decreased massively.


At the moment the TomTom Go 5100 seems to be the most popular sat nav system, retailing at around $200.  TomTom Go Mobile (Android) seems to be number 1 in the apps range, which is around $20 per month.


Personally, I’d go with an app but as stated the market leaders in GPS hardware are not deterred and still thriving.