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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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By croc on 7/16/2013 9:37:48 AM , Rating: 2
Use it or lose it, my Da always said. By that he meant skills, I think. Our town had a wee blackout last summer (I use the Southern Cross to navigate by) and I needed to get some groceries. I went to the local dairy instead of the grocery, as I knew the old fart running it would be capable of running without some POS machine. Sure enough, I got my milk 'n cookies. My neighbour went to the grocery, then came back and had to borrow some stuff from me. They had one cash box going at the grocery, but the kids staffing the (single) checkout couldn't figure out how to get the prices without the barcode scanners, and then there was the issue of adding it all up and MAKING CHANGE!!!!

I was with a traveling group of friends once, we were in a small town that none of us knew. We needed to find a pub. A pub with food. Pretty good food. John and Jane got into arguments over whether spot A was better then spot B, and which one was more convenient. I went over to an old fart standing around and asked him where a good pub with pretty good food could be found. He told me, gave pretty good directions too. Even offered to show us the way. Was going that way himself, as he owned it...

Want to know something? Ask an old fart. Want to get something fixed? Ask an old fart. As an old fart, I kinda feel sorry for the youth - they think that they know it all, so can't be bothered to actually ask someone that DOES know it all. Oh well, they'll learn.

RE: Technology...
By retrospooty on 7/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: Technology...
By JediJeb on 7/16/2013 6:30:18 PM , Rating: 2
We had an ice storm here a few years back that knocked out the power for over a week. It was so funny to watch kids try to make change when you handed them some cash lol.

On another sad note, I have a kid here at work who had no idea what a "quarter" of something was. Someone told it it was a "quarter after two" and he had no idea that meant it was 2:15pm. He also did not know that a Quarter coin was called that because it was 1/4 of a dollar, or that 1/4 of anything was called a quarter. What do kids learn in school these days?

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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