Disclaimer: These are predictions and nothing more, so keep your sense of humor and please don’t sue me.
Auto GPS predictions
- A nuvi 8x5 series will bring lane assist and voice recognition together in one unit
- Garmin discontinues the nuvi 200 series; all Garmin nuvi models will now have text-to-speech
- Crowdsourced HD traffic comes to the US with the stateside introduction of the TomTom GO LIVE series
- TomTom releases a GPS receiver that utilizes alternative positioning information for improved accuracy in urban canyons
- More manufacturers display multiple route options visually, ala Dash and Insignia
- Navigon folds, caught between Nextar on the low end and MiTAC’s aggressive promotion of the Magellan line
- Red light camera alerts will move closer to the mainstream
- More downward feature creep -- expect to see Lane Assist on some mid-range Garmins, more units with lifetime traffic, larger screens, etc.
- Garmin announces a desktop application (possibly a revamped MapSource) that allows planning routes with POIs and transferring them to Garmin units with current City Navigator maps; it will be set up to allow users to opt into sharing anonymized tracklogs ala TomTom HOME
- Said application will support wireless transfer of data via ANT or Bluetooth
Connected PNDs and cell phones
- The nuvifone will hit the market early in Q2; it will immediately be clear that it is the best cell phone navigation solution on the market, and while call quality will be surprisingly good, other functionality will be no match for the iPhone
- The nuvifone will be a much greater success than the Dash Express, TeleNav Shotgun and Insignia units, effectively killing the model of a connected PND with a separate service contract
- Someone releases an advertising-supported, no fee, connected PND
- A Garmin Android line won’t appear until 2010
Handheld GPS predictions
I’m predicting we’ll see at least one of the following from Garmin:
- A successor to the 60CSx, with a quad helix antenna and a touch screen
- A revamped MapSource that allows for the purchase and transfer of aerial imagery to the Colorado and Oregon series
- Garmin takes on SPOT with a GPS receiver featuring a personal locator beacon
- A Garmin prosumer line, somewhere between the DeLorme PN-40 and Magellan’s MobileMapper
- An Oregon unit with pre-loaded 1:24,000 scale topo maps and highway maps for the entire U.S.
- A mechanism to sell (or make more easily available) trail data accumulated by MotionBased, soon to be Garmin Connect, possibly as part of a revamped MapSource
I also think MiTAC will resurrect Magellan’s handheld market, though not until the spring of 2010.
Mergers, acquisitions and deals
Valuations are low and several players have a lot of cash.
- Possible buyers – Microsoft, Google, Apple, Garmin
- Possible acquisition targets – DeLome, Dash
Garmin would fall into both camps, but I doubt that anyone will snap them up until 2010, when we’ll know more about how their nuvifone and Android strategy has played out.
DeLorme is attractive because they own their map data, and Tele Atlas and NAVTEQ were both taken off the market in 2008. Valuation may be an issue here, since DeLorme is privately held and hasn’t been beaten down by the market. Most likely buyer? Garmin.
Dash has more experience than anyone else in the U.S. with managing and distributing crowd-sourced traffic data, and they could be an attractive target. Most likely buyer? Microsoft.
What are your predictions for 2009?