Say Hello to Apple Maps, Bid Farewell to Portable GPS Devices

June 12, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Most of you use Google Maps in your smartphone for mapping and navigation. So when Apple announced its plans to take it off the iOS and introduce its own in house mapping service, many of you thought that it was a big step. So basically for you, Google and Apple are the only providers of mapping solution.

But what about good old portable GPS devices? Remembered, huh? We are pretty sure it’s not just you; the world seems to have moved ahead of this dedicated device for mapping and navigation.

While you may not think it’s a big deal, Garmin, Magellan, TomTom and other personal navigation device manufacturers sure do. Soon after Apple’s Maps announcement, Garmin’s stock even dropped nearly 10 percent for the day.

Garmin said it has been competing successfully with free navigation on Android phones, and through third party apps also on the iPhone, for some time. We think that there is a market for smartphone navigation apps, PNDs and in-dash navigation systems as each of these solutions has their own advantages and use case limitations and ultimately it’s up to the consumer to decide what they prefer, the company said in a statement.

Sales of PNDs are down 9 percent two years ago according to market research firm NPD and figures expected to decline further in 2012.

Automakers also seem to be in a tough spot. How so? People expect luxury vehicles from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz to come with an integrated high-end infotainment system. But when it comes to more ordinary vehicles, it is kind of pointless to sell built-in navigation systems, which can’t do much more than a mapping app in a smartphone, that too at a price about ten times as less.

Another advantage is that these apps leverage the data connection on the device, something dedicated GPS units aren’t always equipped with.

This is in addition to the host of features that come along with the new Apple map, like 3-D vector-based graphics, integrated turn-by-turn navigation (which Android users love), quick route selection, voice-guided navigation, real-time, crowd-sourced traffic information and Siri integration.

So it’s time for Apple’s mapping solution. And if you thought only Google has to suffer, you simply thought wrong.

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