Feeds

'Satnavs are definitely not doomed', insists TomTom man

No grim future of joblessness for me!

The essential guide to IT transformation

IFA With satnav companies announcing revamped apps all over IFA Berlin, you'd be forgiven for thinking that moving onto smartphones and tablets was the game plan for a market that has seen sales plummet in the last few years.

TomTom, Garmin and Navigon all saw fit to use the show to announce their updated-in-various-ways apps, which, when taken with falling consumer sales and dire consumer predictions, seem to point to a move away from hardware.

But Richard Piekaar, investor relations director at TomTom, says it isn't so.

"I always use the example of cameras on phones," he told The Reg. "Just because you have a camera on your phone doesn't stop you from buying a digital camera."

Piekaar argues that there is a large compromise in quality between the navigation available on your smartphone and the personal navigation device (PND). The first problem is the GPS antenna, which needs to be something of a whopper to pick up the extremely weak signal the satellites are beaming out. Because there's no real room in the ever-decreasing size and ever-lightening burden of smartphones, the antennas are never good enough.

"When you're going fast in a car, the information doesn't get downloaded on time and directions get skipped," Piekaar says.

Small screens are also a problem when you're attempting to drive using satnav, although the advent of fondleslabs does somewhat take care of this, as TomTom surely agrees since its IFA offering was an upgrade of its app to include optimisation for iPad. But although Piekaar sees some market on tablets, he's not totally convinced.

"The only question is if the screen's not too big and if people want to work with their tablets this way," he says. "I don't think the tablet will be the form factor for in-car navigation."

For Piekaar, smartphones and tablets are for pedestrian navigation, but once you're behind the wheel, you're still going to need a PND. However, he does acknowledge that TomTom knows what everyone else knows: the market for PNDs in Europe and the US is not looking so hot.

"At some level, that decline will level off, but it's unclear at what level and when," he says.

But Piekaar lays the blame for that decline squarely at the door of our old friend the global economic downturn, adding he has no illusions "that we can turn this around in the next few quarters". In fact, TomTom is predicting that the global PND market will decline by about 20 per cent in 2011.

Piekaar is still optimistic about satnavs, however, and his rivals seem to be too. As well as announcing its revised apps at IFA, Garmin last month launched a long list of new hardware devices, including the nüvi 30/40/50 series, 2405 and 2505 series and the premium 3400 series. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?