Where to next? Smartphones vs. GPS

I am a full-fledged member of the Google Maps and live GPS navigation systems generation, and as a result, if someone asked me to find an address on a key map today, I’m not sure I’d be able to find the location without a struggle.

from whitegadget.com

In addition to the car-mounted GPS units, many smartphones come equipped with voiced navigation or at least visual turn-by-turn directions.

Maps and navigation are integrated into popular apps like Yelp, LivingSocial, and UrbanSpoon and are reaching a new level of interaction through “check ins.”

Now that smartphones are becoming so “smart,” what does this mean for GPS companies like Garmin, TomTom, and others? My first in-car GPS was a Garmin with a tiny screen that I paid over $200 for; now, Best Buy and other big box retailers have sales for top-of- the-line GPS systems at just above $100. I still have both because I prefer the larger text on GPS units, but my Google Navigation has consistently updated maps at no cost.

Still using your TomTom or have you switched your loyalty to your smartphone and a car dock?


2 thoughts on “Where to next? Smartphones vs. GPS

  1. I’m the same way in the sense that I have an iPhone 4 with CoPilot and, I also have a TomTom GO730. I’ve tried the car mount for my iPhone so I could replace the GO730 but I have found that the the Apps are too difficult and dangerous to use while driving but just as important, when searching for an address or POI, I don’t always get the results I’m looking for whereas the GO730 consistently returns the correct search. There is another problem associated with GPS smartphones in that when they’re running on battery power, the GPS accuracy is severely hindered. Some of the GPS Apps actually state this on there splash screens but the majority do not. There needs to be some type of override so the user can make the determination whether they want to sacrifice battery life for greater accuracy. Why have a GPS with 30 – 50 feet accuracy ? I don’t know if these numbers are correct but the difference in sensitivity is fairly high.

    I feel GPS Apps on a smartphone have their practical uses such as when traveling, for finding a restaurant, ATM or movie theather while out on the town. Heck, I’ve even used mine for Geocaching a few times. Apps are nowhere as mature as a standalone. There has to be improvements to the search capabilities, the UI and the sensitivity issues when running on battery power before I’ll get rid of my GO730.

    • I have had similar experiences with (free) navigational apps on my phone. I, too, struggle with the inaccuracy of certain addresses and really struggle to find intersections of streets. Additionally, there are simply more steps to follow. Like you sad, the UI needs to be improved (and made larger) and route correction could use a boost as well. Several times, I’ve found myself turned around, only to find that the route corrections keep correcting themselves and I ended up more disoriented than I originally was. With my TomTom, it may take just a smidgeon longer to decide on a route, but at least it is more decisive in its corrections and will not turn you around until there is somewhere realistic to do so.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! And have a great time geocaching! What a fun hobby.

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