We've had our suspicions for awhile now, but now it looks like the
research is confirming it. The dedicated navigation
device has seen its
peak, and it's days at the top are numbered. We knew that the
standalone PND could be going the way of the Dodo when navigation
applications began to pop up on some of the world's most popular
smartphones. Sprint's Instinct was one of the first to really showcase
NAV on a phone, and now that TomTom--a market leader--has caved to the
pressure and issued an iPhone app, the end really is in sight.
Of course, just because it's in sight doesn't mean that it's awfully
close. It'll take years, maybe a decade even, before the dedicated
navigation device sees the majority of its market share stolen away by
NAV-equipped cellphones and multi-function PMPs, but there's no doubt
that Garmin, Navigon and TomTom
better re-evaluate their business plan.
The years of NAV units selling like hotcakes as holiday gifts are
probably over, with research from iSuppli suggesting that smartphones
will surpass PNDs (personal navigation devices) in the navigation
market by 2014.
The same research outfit believes that by 2011, right around 100% of
all smartphones will ship with integrated GPS functionality. We believe
it. Even now it's hard to find a medium-to-high-profile smartphone
without some sort of routing ability built in, and as with Apple's
iPod, there's really no need for multiple devices that do the same
thing. Also, smartphones have the ability to instantly update POIs, get
access to updated maps, easily tap into traffic alerts, etc. In fact,
the iPhone alone now has eight navigation apps to choose from, and we
get the feeling that Android
, webOS and BlackBerry phones aren't far
behind. So, are you anxious to trade in your dedicated PND for a phone
app? As for us, we'll stick to carrying both so long as multi-tasking
is an issue on most smartphones.