Garmin, TomTom Settle One Fight, In Order To Concentrate On A Different Fight

from the just-merge-and-get-it-over-with dept

TomTom and Garmin have been involved in a really nasty intellectual property battle over the past few years, involving multiple lawsuits over multiple issues in multiple locations. It really was a case of patent nuclear war, where both sides were throwing whatever they could think of at each other. However, now that the two sides have something more concrete to fight over than market share, it seems they've decided to settle all of their intellectual property battles and simply focus on fighting over who gets to own Tele Atlas. Of course, as some people are beginning to notice, this may be a pointless battle, as both companies are going to face increasing competition from the mobile device arena -- especially from the likes of Nokia who forced Garmin to bid for Tele Atlas after announcing the acquisition of Tele Atlas competitor Navteq. So it really might not matter who wins the battle for Tele Atlas, as the market for standalone navigation devices may start to disappear.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 2:08pm

    Lets Have a Vote

    Who actually thinks that future Mobile Phones are likely to replace Personal Navigation Devices? I have heard many claims of this possiblity, however I have yet to hear any good experiences with Mobile Phone navigation. I've heard screens are too small, processors are too slow and signal reception is not nearly as good.

    If mobile phones follow the path of the IPhone (utilizing the entire face of the phone with a touch screen), usability increases very much. Will the market demand for navigation systems to have large enough displays s.t. mobile phones will either be too bulky for every day use or too small for navigation? What are everyones' opinions?

     

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  2.  
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    TheDock22, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Lets Have a Vote

    Who actually thinks that future Mobile Phones are likely to replace Personal Navigation Devices?

    Not I. In fact I think the Google Directions at gas stations are likely to impact the Personal Navigation devices more than the crappy GPS phone systems they have now.

     

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  3.  
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    Bob, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 2:24pm

    Re: Re: Lets Have a Vote

    I have the HTC Kaiser (a.k.a. AT&T Flip) that has a built in GPS, that runs Tom Tom. Works great. Its a bit bigger than the iPhone, but that's fine by me the iPhone is too hard for me to use with a touch screen. Besides my phone has the 3.5G connections and lots of other stuff on it.

    Nice part is it works anywhere, even without cell coverage.

     

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  4.  
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    Max Powers, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 4:43pm

    I use my phone for a phone

    Am I the last person that uses a phone only as a phone?
    I can barely read the items contained on my phone so if technology wants to keep adding features, it better make the display bigger without making the phone the size of a brick.

    GPS is great, but not if I can't see or use it on a small screen or if it causes a device that can't easily fit in my top shirt pocket.

    How many features can you cram in a mobile phone size?

     

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  5.  
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    Cynic, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 5:47pm

    I have a GPS equipped Sanyo Katana and a Magellan 4040. I decided to go with the Magellan for nav instead of paying the monthly fee for the Katana because I wanted to be able to see the map while driving (what a concept). My phone also has a camera that I seldom use. What I do like is having the ability to browse the Web (and more importantly my own site) from my phone. Interestingly the 4040 talks bluetooth to the Katana so I get large display caller ID and clearer speaker phone use.

    My point: the lines are real blurry right now.

     

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  6.  
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    Richard Ahlquist (profile), Nov 16th, 2007 @ 6:09am

    Bunch crooks if you ask me anyway...

    Bought a Garmin c330 in april/may, new maps are out now, and in order to get them I will have to pay 30% of what I originally paid for the unit in order to partially update my unit. Cant fully update it because they cut the corners on the design so much that it doesnt have enough memory to handle the new maps so you can only load part of the updated map at a time. So lets see $249 for unit and now $70 more for maps, yeah not really worth it....

     

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    Lance (profile), Nov 16th, 2007 @ 7:14am

    Not so narrowly focused

    I can't speak to what areas of the GPS market TomTom services, other than the consumer market, but I know that Garmin does more than just consumer, standalone GPS. In fact, Garmin started out doing more marine and avionics based GPS systems; neither of which, I believe, will be affected by phone-based GPS units.

    Also, Garmin makes other devices where the GPS portion is just one facet of the device. I believe that as more melding and merging of these devices occurs, it will be the software and data that will become the true differentiators. That is why the acquisition of Tele Atlas is so important.

     

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  8.  
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    unknown, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 9:03am

    new maps

    If your looking for new maps for a gps try searching on torrent sites lots of times they have been uploaded and its a free download to get the new maps then load them onto your gps. plus you can always delete the old maps and start fresh with the newest version which should fit onto your Garmin that way. Good Luck.. also check IRC networks for updated maps for gps if you cant find them on torrent networks. but i know they are out there!

     

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  9.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Nov 16th, 2007 @ 11:06am

    Phones With Nav Are A Threat

    Guys, I agree with you that I don't want to do Nav off my phone - even though I have an HTC Tilt phone that does it quite well. The reason is I'm such a strong fan of Nav that I want a dedicated, best of breed device mounted on my dash.

    But thousands of people are not like you and me and will never shell out $200 - $1000 for a dedicated device. They just can't get over the threshold. For these people, phone-based plans at $3 a route, or $10/mo might be palpable.

    If you think that won't happen, then take a look at what has become Verizon's biggest revenue earner among ALL of their GetItNow BREW downloads. It's the monthly subscription to VZNav, only available for about a year. This is responsible for about HALF of their GetItNow revenue. You'd be nuts not to agree that this is promising to phone and carrier, and threatening to TomTom, Magellan, and Garmin.

    Now think that Tom, Mag, and Gar have had their stock prices bid up and up over the past few years as the prices for dash-mount systems finally got into consumer territory. Some investors surely expected that they were winning the market from in-car systems, and would eventually be in every car. In 2007, most people don't use SatNav, but that really just means a big market opportunity for growth for someone. People used to think that Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, and lesser-known brands would be the ones to win that market, now they're not so sure.

    By the way, I've heard lots of users of phone-based Nav talk about how great it is. I take them the same way I took AOL users saying how great the "Internet" is in 1997. The phone carrier serves that app to you the same way AOL sent you a disk in the mail. It's the easy way, but not the best. I'm thinking "Hey dude, take the training wheels off and go for a real GPS." The things I can do with my Garmin Streetpilot 2820 (with Bluetooth hands-free and FM traffic receiver) is so far beyond what that toy phone app does...and it actually *helps* me take calls in the car, not conflicts with voice calls in the car. But hey, that's me, an uber-geek. Most people just want the easy way.

    Last point: why do we not sell phones for their real cost ($200 - 800) in the US, but instead the carriers subsidize them down to $0? It's because people would not buy a $200 device and then a $40/month service. The threshold price is too high. But with a $0 phone, people sign up in the millions to $50/mo plans. They still pay for the phone in the end, but there's a smaller barrier. Sound familiar to the phone/dash-mount GPS issue?

     

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  10.  
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    Celes, Nov 16th, 2007 @ 7:17pm

    Re: Bunch crooks if you ask me anyway...

    Huh. I've got a Garmin StreetPilot III for my car and another Garmin (don't remember the model) in my boat, and I don't remember having to pay for new maps/charts for either of them (I'm lax with my updating, it's been about a year). Maybe they changed it this year...

     

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