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Is Dedicated Satnav Reaching The End Of The Road?

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 13 Mar 2011

pocketgpsworld.comWith ever more powerful smartphones being launched each week and almost every new handset featuring a GPS receiver and the much vaunted 'connectivity', is there a future for the dedicated PND (Portable Navigation Device)?

Even budget model GPS equipped smartphones have better hardware specifications than a premium PND and the only area in which the PND can compete is screen real estate. And it could be argued that some of the 7" tablet devices can fill that niche.

So is there a long term market for the PND? Is the "Jack of all trades" smartphone really a a true alternative for everyone or do PND's still have a place in the future GPS marketplace?

Of course we mustn't assume that everyone wants a smartphone. Many are understandably wary of owning a data capable handset, fearful of the costs and issues of managing the amount of data that is consumed.

There are now capable and free navigation solutions available such as Google Navigation and Navfree, that offer most of the features of a paid for application. Google have even begun rolling out traffic information.

And in the premium, paid for, app marketplace, TomTom and Navigon both now offer traffic services using the data connectivity built-in to your handset.

For those that have a smartphone, do you use a satnav application on it? Has it replaced an existing PND or does it supplement it for everyday usage?

Let us know your views, what's good, what's bad, what works and what doesn't?
Posted by PaulB2005 on Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:23 pm Reply with quote

I still use my PND however my usage is severly reduced since moving and changing jobs. I'm going to get the TomTom iPhone app soon as it has everything I want and also means I only have one device to carry and maintain. I believe it'll also use addresses from my address book so I wouldn't have to load a lot of addresses when I get it. It'll work straight away with my existing contacts. The only thing really stopping me is the fact I have six months of map updates and traffic left on my PND.

I'm currently getting by with nDrive when im caught out by trying to get home from a strange location with no PND. However there are many errors and no traffic facility. So as soon as a major trip is on the horizon I'll be buying the TomTom app and travelling with my PND in the boot in case!

Posted by Tobas on Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:24 pm Reply with quote

My recently out of warranty, constantly rebooting pile of crap better known as a 950 Live will be my last dedicated device. I'll be buying TomTom for iPhone and use my remaining Live Services subscription with it. The only downside for me is that my iPhone isn't my work phone and most of the time I need hands-free with my work mobile, which the 950 gives me and the iPhone won't. I guess I'll just have to dig out an old bluetooth headset.

Posted by highmead on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:20 am Reply with quote

I don't use my TomTom so much for navigation these days, I usually know where I am going, But I put it on without a route selected for the spoken camera alerts which I find particularly valuable. And I wouldn't be without Pocket GPS.
I don't know if the voice alerts are available for smartphones?

Posted by MaFt on Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:23 am Reply with quote

Couple of interesting comments on our Facebook page too: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/PocketGPSWorld


Posted by exportman on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:28 pm Reply with quote

I have a tomtom rider which I use extensively when travelling in my car or by bike. I also have the Navigon software and PGPSW speed cameras on my HTC smart phone. I use this as a backup and when travelling Europe after flights.

The smartphone I find less reliable particularly poor with GPS fix often loosing the fix even whilst walking ( recent trip to Brussels I had to get a map from the Tourist information booth) Also it drains the battery so whilst phone are continuing to move forwards I would not be giving up my dedicated PND just yet.

Posted by MaFt on Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:56 pm Reply with quote

For straightforward routing on a daily basis I usually use Navigon on the iPhone. I have various other satnav apps on both iPhone and Android too.

For anything more serious I like my bells and whistles - custom POIs, speed cam's etc so will ALWAYS take dedicated PND when I got away as it allows me to find local shops etc and also the bigger screen is so much more useable on a long journey. A smartphone screen is OK for local trips where,in general, I know the roads and know roughly what is coming up. In an unfamiliar area it is nice to have a large screen view of teh road/junction ahead.


Posted by xtraseller on Mon Mar 14, 2011 7:28 pm Reply with quote

For me I won't use Navigon on my iPhone even though it is a well thought out bit of software, even with a Mio GPS Mount and Speaker Cradle it is no where as quick finding (or holding) a GPS fix. It also takes way longer to set up and if a phone call comes in when you are not too sure of your surroundings, all hell breaks loose

If you use sat nav now and again, a SmartPhone App is great, it is also a worthwhile back-up in case everything goes wrong, or you simply leave your PND somewhere

If you use you sat nav on multi-routes per day, I don't think - for the time being anyway - you will beat a PND

TomTom Go Live 6100, 600
Garmin DriveLux 50, D-Smart 70, NuviCam, 3598, 2699, 2798
Mio Navman 695
Nexus 6p, Apple iPhone 6sPlus and Microsoft Lumia 950xl running TomTom, Garmin, CoPilot, Navigon, Sygic, Here Drive, Google, Waze, MS Maps

Posted by mostdom on Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:51 am Reply with quote

I have My iphone really for all those awquard moments when you need to get a route quickly. Turn it on, place a route, get a fix, on your way. Forget cradles as it'll work quite well thrown on the dash.

But if you wan't the job done properly then taking the time to set up the PND can make all the difference. Quality of fix, screen useablitly, sound quality. But that could easily be the next greatest phone I suppose.

Right now I think my Navigon still has the edge over my Iphone4 but for how long I don't know as I am already using the phone instead of the PND.

IMO connectivity would sway me back again as traffic reporting over FM is PITA and I still find my self checking reports on my iPhone before I leave anywhere.

HERE LIES PND May he rest in pieces. Crying or Very sad


HERE LIES PND May it rest in peace.
Navigon 7310/iPhone Navigon&Copilot

Posted by Darren on Tue Mar 15, 2011 6:18 pm Reply with quote

I'm lucky enough to have both and whilst a smartphone app serves we fine for daily jaunts, when I'm travelling any great distance I prefer to use a PND. A bigger screen which is easier to read and digest info from quickly and a louder speaker.

But I can see that for those who own a GPS capable smartphone, it may be more difficult to justify the cost of a dedicated satnav.

And let's not forget that, popular as smartphones are, they are not for everyone and there will be a huge market for PNDs for many years to come.

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by mistersaxon on Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:37 pm Reply with quote

I have a WinMo HD2 and it gets a faster fix, has a better screen and is more integrated and responsive than my Rider 2 by a HUGE margin. Of course the Rider is the only choice for the motorbike but otherwise I don't use it.

The HD2 talks through the stereo (bluetooth audio), has the data service, is easy to back up and update POIs on - especially loading the GATSO database - but there is one problem: TomTom haven't updated the app for a year and it is still only V7 with old maps. Map updates fail so that you have to buy new maps each time you want to keep up and even that facility lags behind.

Obviously TT had to make an App for the Godphone but it clearly burns them to do so because the price had to come right down. And yes, there are alternatives that ARE supported and current - CoPilot - but changing SatNav solutions is ALWAYS hard and CoPilot didn't support the Gatso database with alerts! So what do you do?

p.s. ignore the sig - it's out of date Smile

Kit: TomTom iPhone WEurope on iPhone6s+ / iPad Pro
w/ Interphone BT headset on a Honda Blackbird (should change this really - the bike, not the headset)

Posted by technik on Tue Mar 15, 2011 9:39 pm Reply with quote

I prefer a proper PND as GPS on a smartphone drains the battery very quick, and if you are going to use external power on your 'smartphone' you may as well just use a dedicated TomTom or other PND.

Sound on Smartphones is also very poor for navigational purposes.
Yes you can plug in speakers or connect to bluetooth audio, but once again it just means you still need all those things powered in the car, so may just as well use a proper PND.

I am limited with phone choice as my employer provides me with a phone, and while it does have satnav built in, the screen is so small that you can't see or hear where you are going.

Even if I bought my own large screen smartfone, I would never use it for dedicated satnav use. If you are a business user you need your phone as a phone, and juggling phone calls with navigation is not for me.

GO 620, Tomtom Android EU,
Garmin 2548LMT-D; 2599LMT-D

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