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Two GPS Questions: CES


At CES I thought it would be fun to do a short, two question interview with a ton of different people. I told the people I was interviewing they could tow the company line if they wished, or they could speak to anything in consumer electronics if they wanted. The point was to try to get some fun answers, see what products various people in the industry use, and get a glimpse of the future. The two questions were:

What was your favorite product release of 2009?

What feature are you most looking forward to using in 2010?

Kevin Carter, TomTom

Favorite Product Release of 2009

Beyond the TomTom iPhone app which I like quite a bit, a flip camera was definitely one of the things I enjoyed the most. I got it for Christmas and I found my flip camera to be particularly helpful.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

Continuing to use traffic information for GPS, especially as it improves.

Erin Delaney, Tele Atlas

Favorite Product Release of 2009

The TomTom iPhone application!

Feature Looking Forward to Using

I’m looking forward to getting a nice new flatscreen.

Raphel Finelli, Magellan

Favorite Product Release of 2009

Definitely the RoadMate for iPhone application.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

I’m looking forward to seeing the connected devices coming out now.

Chip Noble, DeLorme

Favorite Product Release of 2009

My favorite release from DeLorme was when we rolled out the PN-40 and were able to take the work we had done with the PN-20 and see it implemented in a way that had better speed, performance, and functionality for our customers.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

The SPOT Communicator with the PN-60! I’ve used the [original] SPOT device a lot and the ability to do the text messaging is going to be sweet.

Caleb Mason, DeLorme

Favorite Product Release of 2009

The iPhone.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

SPOT communications with the DeLorme handheld GPS

Jake Jacobson, Garmin

Favorite Product Release of 2009

Personally my favorite was the Forerunner 310XT because I’m a fitness guy and it came out the same time I was doing a marathon with my wife. It was her first marathon. It launched in San Diego, my wife did her first marathon at San Diego. It answered the questions of people who wanted a longer battery life, a waterproof training watch, and a hidden pleasure for me was the vibration alert. If you are running with twenty or forty thousand people in a marathon you actually know when you hit your own mile marker.

The Oregon 550T was the biggest in the markets I work with because everyone is always asking me “what one unit can I get that will do a little everything. To date that is the first one I’ve seen– and adding in a digital camera to boot is a nice bonus.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

Voice Studio. I want to get all of my friends, my niece and nephew, on my Nuvi. You may only want to listen to each one for a few trips, so that’s why you need to put a few different people on there. I’m also excited about using ecoRoute HD to learn more about my car. After dealing with my car that stalled on me several times, I want to know why it is doing that– and anything that can take the mystery out of how my car works or how I am as a driver is a pretty exciting thing for me.

Derek Moore, SPOT

Favorite Product Release of 2009

The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger, launched in October of 2009.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

The SPOT DeLorme product pairing– the SPOT Communicator pairing with the DeLorme PN-60w scheduled to be available this Spring. I think it will break new ground with GPS uses and satellite messaging capabilities. It is something the industry has been looking forward to for a long time, including myself.

Tom Murray, TomTom

Favorite Product Release of 2009

My favorite product release was the TomTom GO 740. I think it was groundbreaking in North America because it was the first connected device launched by a major manufacturer within the PND industry. We were having conversations about that product at CES last year and the reception to the product amongst those who know the industry and to people who are interested in the industry was what we hoped. It acknowledged and addressed a need that was important to people and I think it did it very well.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

One of the interesting features you will see more of across consumer electronics but in this space as well is going to be speech recognition. I think interesting things will happen there. In this space, PNDs specifically, text-to-speech has been something that has evolved into a given, speech recognition has been something that has been dabbled in. I think the quality and the breadth of availability of speech recognition products is something we should expect over time to be more prevalent.

Johan-Till Broer, Navigon

Favorite Product Release of 2009

The Navigon iPhone app.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

I look forward to using Nexus phone, trying that out.

Darren Koenig, Tele Atlas

Favorite Product Release of 2009

How do you not love the gigantic screen, TomTom connected stuff with the HD traffic, IQ routes… all of that? I wish I lived in Holland just so I could use it.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

User interfaces are becoming so streamlined and so easy to use that you just pick up your new phone and instantly it makes sense to you. That’s not a new feature, but it is easy to use that anybody can use it and everybody does use it. Our new slope data for roads which talk about how steep a curve is or how sharp a hill is– that’s a really niche feature, but you can use it for cool stuff– you can use it to figure out what is the most ecologically friendly way to get from point A to B. It is probably better for gas to drive around that hill to drive over it. Knowing there is a sharp curve ahead– in the future you will see a car pivot the headlights to highlight the curve before you get there so the driver is proactively alerted that it is coming.

Reflecting, My Answers

I loved hearing all of the different answers from people. There’s no “best” answer or any right/wrong, and I was hoping to get some “fun” answers– I think that was achieved. A large number of people answered with products built around the iPhone– either apps or accessories. And a few people said “offline” that their own personal (rather than company) answer was something related to the iPhone. Sure enough, I bet a very high percentage of the ~2,500 booths at CES had a product somehow related to the iPhone.

I’m sure somewhere along the line someone will ask me how I would have answered those two questions– a few people I interviewed asked me as well. So here is how I’d answer those two questions.

Tim, GPSReview.net

Favorite Product Release of 2009

While it wasn’t released in 2009, I think TomTom IQ Routes was my favorite “breakthrough” product of 2009. It took much of the debate over the “best” route out of the equation and goes to the essence of what a PND is designed to do. Magellan has released one product on Navteq’s similar product, Traffic Patterns, and I suspect we will soon see Garmin devices using Navteq Traffic Patterns as well.

Feature Looking Forward to Using

I’m looking forward to using more online route planning tools that can send data to my GPS or to my phone. MapQuest can send routes to Garmin devices. TomTom’s routes.tomtom.com can send data to TomTom devices, etc. But in both cases the data typically goes over USB. TeleNav perhaps does this best right now with an elaborate route planning system that will send data wirelessly to your TeleNav powered phone. They obviously have an advantage since their apps are all tied to a mobile phone, but I’m anxious to see when Garmin and TomTom will offer similar online route planning capabilities that will wirelessly transmit data to either mobile phone apps or their connected PND devices.

5 Responses

  1. Tom Murray’s answer was interesting. I would take it that we should expect a more robust voice recognition pnd from TomTom in the 2nd quarter.

    gatorguy - January 12th, 2010
    • Nice catch. 🙂 I think Raphel’s answer (Magellan) was an equally big hint.

      Tim - January 12th, 2010
  2. This is the year of the connected pnd. 🙂

    gatorguy - January 12th, 2010
  3. This answer from Darren of TeleAtlas is not encouraging for those of us hoping to see that in the US – referencing HD traffic. 🙁

    “I wish I lived in Holland just so I could use it.”

    offthegrid - January 12th, 2010
    • I wouldn’t look at it that way at all. He could have just as easily been trying to foreshadow that it was coming– to get people excited about it. I don’t think either is the case, I don’t think he was leading to it coming or not coming.

      Tim - January 13th, 2010

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