GPS Thoughts

PND’s not dead yet..

Last Week saw TomTom announce a large drop in quarterly earnings , with sales of their iconic PND becoming more difficult, needing price reductions to keep sales moving.

Many are suggesting this is the natural evolution of the market, with saturation at a particular price point on one hand, while on the other, mobile phones with GPS are taking market share. I’m not sure I buy the mobile phone argument yet, for sure in the medium term converged mobile devices may make personal navigation devices obsolete, but I don’t think the current generation of mobile devices such as the N95 are there yet.

TomTom has a strong brand name and produce well designed products, (The Apple of GPS ?), maybe the issue is the more familar one of techncology adoption, are we seeing the chasm where early adopters have the devices, but mass-market users have not moved.

If your were to read some newspapers in the UK, you would believe that following the instructions of a “sat-nav” would a best lead you into a field, or at worse onto a railway line in front of a speeding express train.

These reports must have an impact on the buying behaviours of many mass-market consumers, but do they explain Tom Toms recent problem, or are there a group of potential consumers who still find the whole business too complicated and expensive for their needs ?

Is the PND yet to cross the chasm ?

Unlike my friend at lost in spatial, I don’t think this is related to an alien plot (Dr. Who viewers only reference).

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

3 replies on “PND’s not dead yet..”

You want to know why people have stopped buying. Perhaps it is simply because we have reached the saturation point for gadget-philes. The rest of the market are able to look unemotionally at the cost / benefit of a sat nav and have decided it is coming up short.

“are there a group of potential consumers who still find the whole business too complicated and expensive for their needs ?”

I am a potential customer but am I disturbed by complexity or expense ? Not on your nelly ! The thing that puts me off is the safety implications. Having a moving display slap bang in the middle of your windscreen is inherently dangerous. It physically reduces your ability to see pedestrians/cyclists/ etc and is mentally distracting.

Hi Ed
I think for in-vehicle PND’s still have a lot of life left in them. ‘Personal navigation’ (ie on-foot) is where mobile satnav has significant potential. But… it has to be v easy to use, for me the UI benchmark has to be the safari / GMM integration on the Iphone, ie click on a google maps link on a webpage, GMM is automatically fired up and the location appears as a pushpin that you can save/navigation to/from. This also brings up another interesting possibility. Could kml become a defacto standard for exchanging PoI’s etc between PND’s? Just as GMM supports a subset of kml.

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