Why have Personal Navigation Devices become popular? Personal navigation devices have become so popular because some people get tired of getting lost while driving, are not proficient at reading road maps, don’t always have a navigating passenger in their car that can tell them when they have to turn, and don’t have access to a plethora of needed maps in their car. Personal navigation devices are an answer to these problems. What technologies are required to facilitate the success of PNDs? The Global Positioning System, which consists of 24 satellites orbiting the Earth, is what personal navigation devices work off of.

All these satellites have atomic clocks incorporated within them to ensure accurate time keeping. Each satellite constantly sends the time and their location. The personal navigation device has a receiver that decodes the signals, a processor that uses a trilateration algorithm to calculate the location, internally stored maps that the location is compared to and a display screen for the user to see. Who are some of the leaders in PNDs? What are the likely factors that will contribute to winning in this marketplace? Some of the most popular leaders in PND are Garmin, Magellan, TomTom, and Motorola.

The biggest factor that will contribute to winning the marketplace is the extra features and accessories it can offer. Some of these are music player, real-time weather and traffic data, real time lowest gas price locator, and driving feedback based on acceleration, braking and speeds. The biggest competitor to the above companies is the smartphone. Some of the above companies have tried to create them with limited success. The advantage to smartphones is that the more things something does, the desirable it is. What will be a likely future for PNDs?

In order for PNDs to compete with smartphones, they’re going to need to incorporate the features that users like from smartphones. The biggest advantages PNDs have over smartphones is that when you commit the smartphone to navigation, you’re taking away your entertainment and communication abilities. You can’t navigate with a smartphone and talk to someone on it at the same time. One of the features a smartphone’s navigation has that PNDs don’t is a voice recognition system where all you have to say is “go to 123 Fake Street”.

A GPS’s touch screen is good but will be problematic while driving when you need to pay attention to the road. A feature that some alarm clocks have is the ability to project the time image onto the ceiling. One thing a GPS feature could have is dedicating a section of the windshield to shine navigation information onto it. This information can be seen through it as long as the driver doesn’t focus on it. In some States like Minnesota, it’s illegal to mount a GPS on the windshield so drivers have to continuously look down.