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Automakers are shifting from $2000 nav systems to smartphone-connected methods

Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have posed serious threats to many different industries. For instance, many people don't bother with landlines because of their smartphones; some gamers have stopped paying for expensive consoles/games and opted for game apps, and those who don't want to make a trip to the bookstore can download the entire thing on their device right from home. 

Now, the auto industry's dashboard navigation systems are seeing mobile applications as a threat to their profitable business as well. Many automakers offer pricey embedded navigation systems that run anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Navigation apps found in app stores for the iPhone, Android-powered smartphones, Windows Phones, etc. typically cost a few bucks, or are even free. 

Which do you think consumers are going to opt for?

While auto navigation systems offer beautiful graphics and larger screens, they have their faults. Aside from expensive prices, a lot of these systems run on pre-made DVDs instead of the Internet. This means that they don't run real-time updates, and to have this software updated means a time-consuming trip to the dealership.

Mobile apps, on the other hand, are cheap (or free) and are Web-based -- meaning that any changes to your surroundings while driving will be updated almost immediately. 


Tim Nixon, chief technology officer of General Motors' OnStar service, noticed his son using a suction cup to stick his iPhone to the windshield while he used a free maps app. Ouch. 

This has led GM to consider a new model: a $50 map application for iPhones, which will display directions on the dashboard touchscreen of a Chevrolet Spark.

"We've historically had these on-board, embedded nav systems," Nixon said. "That's just not going to cut it anymore. The game has changed and the bar has been raised by these always-connected devices that bring fresh information into the car."

It looks like other automakers are looking to make their navigation systems compatible with smartphones, too. Ford said that smartphones and navigation systems alone aren't "perfect solutions," but together, they could be.  

An undisclosed Japanese automaker has even paired with Waze, which is a free social GPS app that has turn-by-turn navigation to help drivers avoid traffic, and is also a community-driven application that draws information from drivers ahead of you, and even learns from users' driving times to provide routing and real-time traffic updates. It was acquired by Google last month for $1.3 billion. 

Ventures like the one with Waze could one day lead to technology where car systems will report weather to the app based on usage of windshield wipers and other features. 

Automakers should probably start taking the mobile devices seriously, since J.D. Power reported that 47 percent of drivers used a map app on their mobile phone last year -- which is an increase from 37 percent in 2011. Also, 46 percent of car owners with an embedded navigation system said they wouldn't buy one again if their smartphone app could be synced with their dashboard displays.

Source: Automotive News



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RE: Just link it
By Ammohunt on 7/15/2013 4:26:43 PM , Rating: -1
Never said replace it or go back to using only maps folks(thought that was obvious) just wanted to highlight how trivial it is to navigate without a smartphone or navigation system in your car.

Convenience technology meant to compliment established methods is good, convenience technology mean to replace can more often than not be bad. How many people would starve and or freeze without electricity? hint (more than most would like to admit). Self driving cars fall under this topic as well by the way.


RE: Just link it
By fic2 on 7/15/2013 4:36:48 PM , Rating: 4
What if your street isn't on your paper map? How are you going to update it to get to where you are going?

By the time your horse and buggy get somewhere your paper map is not going to be very accurate.


RE: Just link it
By Ammohunt on 7/15/13, Rating: -1
RE: Just link it
By ChronoReverse on 7/15/2013 5:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
Are you really that obtuse or are you so sheltered that you haven't been around enough to know that things like signs and street numbers aren't always easy to see?


RE: Just link it
By Motoman on 7/15/2013 6:04:17 PM , Rating: 5
Seriously, why in the f%ck does he have his panties in a wad about trying to make people use a map instead of GPS?

Dude. This isn't exactly a Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD thing. It's more like holding a turkey leg up in the air during a thunderstorm hoping for a lightning strike instead of using the oven.


RE: Just link it
By ClownPuncher on 7/15/2013 6:48:38 PM , Rating: 3
Damn, now I'm going to have to cook turkey that way.


RE: Just link it
By brasstax on 7/15/2013 6:49:07 PM , Rating: 1
I do feel for Ammo's sentiment, but I also think its inevitably a losing position.

Before I had a smartphone I went on a trip with some friends and was not driving. I had a crappy map provided by the rental company and the driver had a Tom Tom. I was amazed how they could not make sense of the map I had and the accurate directions I gave using it and instead spent a good deal of time fighting with their device.

They NEEDED the GPS, whereas I was aware of my surroundings. The thing that really got me though was that they didn't seem to care.

Ammohunt's sentiment seems similar, the difference is I expect to be a dying breed. Just like most of us can't build our own house or truly make most of the food we eat, even mental abilities like directions will be exchanged for a product provided by technology.

I now use my smartphones GPS for everything from my daily commute to finding my favorite fishing hole...but I rarely use turn by turn directions, I use it as a mobile map with a you-are-here feature and real-time traffic.

It can be frustrating to watch human beings become capable of only following the arrow placed in front of them like some Fidelity commercial, but like it or not it is the future, both in literally and figuratively. Hopefully the efficiency provided by technology will allow our mental capabilities to focus on more meaningful and lasting tasks.

If not, at least we'll save money on street signs.


RE: Just link it
By ChronoReverse on 7/15/2013 7:07:11 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry. False dilemma.

Perhaps your friends aren't able but I'm perfectly able to use a map (mostly because cheap and convenient GPS units came about long after I've already been driving). But a good GPS unit is much nicer than fighting over a paper map during the trip itself.

I'll usually look up the route and have at least a rough idea before the trip of course but that's a different issue.


RE: Just link it
By DiggsNC on 7/15/2013 7:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
The GPS is an amazing tool, but so is an Atlas. Both have their place.

I was glad to read your reply since I have seen people also completely at a loss to read a map. While with the tech we have today, I can see why many find it old and foreign, there are times when it is better.

The girlfriend and I took a trip through the South West a couple of years ago and she (much younger than me) brought a big Rand McNally Road Atlas along. I wondered why she would bother. We both have smartphones and I had a Garmin as well at the time. I was later very happy she brought it. I was amazed at all the small parks and some larger State parks and smaller roads that were in the Atlas there were NOT on any of our GPS devices.

The ability to get an overall picture of the area and what was in that region allowed us to plot much better routes for sight seeing than if we had relied solely on the GPS.

Again, I am a HUGE fan of my GPS apps on the phone, but we use both whenever we travel. They are both tools, one is old and not as hip as the other, but it still has some usefulness. For metro driving, sure the GPS is going to win. But get out where there is little to no data service while site seeing over a large area. You will be surprised how handy that Atlas can be.


RE: Just link it
By JediJeb on 7/16/2013 6:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree with this, and not just for trips out in the open like that. We still get calls from delivery people who can not find our building in the industrial park using GPS. We have been here almost ten years and still GPS and Google Maps sends people to the other side of town when they put in our address.

It doesn't matter how up to date the app is, if the info they have is not correct. GPS apps are pretty good in major population centers but not so much in rural areas. Drive to my parent's house and the GPS apps will tell you the last five miles you are driving through a field, but the state highway and county road you are on has been there for 50 years. Every paper map I have looked at has them, why can't the GPS and online maps get it right?

My uncle has GPS in his tractor trailer and uses it most of the time, but he still swears the best way to find obscure places in big cities is to simply ask a cab driver.


RE: Just link it
By hpglow on 7/16/2013 12:55:29 AM , Rating: 2
Damnit Siri guided me into a lake while I was typing this response and driving. If only I had a paper map this never would have happened. Ok time to play angry birds one last time before my car fills with water.


RE: Just link it
By StormyKnight on 7/16/2013 11:48:12 PM , Rating: 1
Ok, somebody needs nappy time.


RE: Just link it
By Reclaimer77 on 7/15/2013 9:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
Okay Ammo, look, you know when you watch The Shining and Nicholson slowly slides into insanity? There comes a moment where he goes from clearly unwell, into clearly insane.

Coming home tonight and reading your responses here is just like watching The Shining.

Just stop, please..just stop. What is your deal? Discussions on technology dependence have their place, sure, but GPS? Really??

quote:
How many people would starve and or freeze without electricity? hint (more than most would like to admit).


....

Okay then I'm going to dump you 25 miles offshore in a rowboat without GPS. You have a 1 in 4 chance of guessing the right direction back to land. Good luck there Bear Grylls!!



RE: Just link it
By Ammohunt on 7/15/2013 10:12:37 PM , Rating: 1
REDRUM! REDRUM! Seriously the simple premise I failed miserably to convey is people should learn how to navigate using a map instead of relying completely on a navigation device. That's all
quote:
Okay then I'm going to dump you 25 miles offshore in a rowboat without GPS. You have a 1 in 4 chance of guessing the right direction back to land. Good luck there Bear Grylls!!


Bear Grylls is the man! Of course if I had a map I would be fine..<joke>


RE: Just link it
By Aloonatic on 7/16/2013 2:31:33 AM , Rating: 2
No problem with people learning how to use a map (it's not hard though, you seem to be making out like it's some kind of dying art) and that the should have a printed map in the car just in case.

The thing is, planning a route takes time, and local speed limits aren't on maps, as well as a lot of other information.

I don't get why you can't understand the simple premise of..

Google where you want to go, find post code/zip code, enter into sat nav, go...

As opposed to find where you want to go in the yellow pages or find their address some other way (as you don't want to use any technology I assume) get map from car or wherever. unfold it all over your dinning room table. find where you are, find destination, trace route, check for alternatives, write down simple instructions manually, fold everything back up again, get into car...

To be fair, if you are remotely sensible, road signs get you most of the way, but not always the best route.

The thing here is time and convenience. Almost everything that tech does could be done before, but tech does it faster and more simply, leaving you free to do other things with your time. By the time you are folding your map up again and putting everything away neatly, the person with the sat nav is already 10 minutes down the road ahead of you.


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