The future of hardware-neutral PNDs

Apr 18, 2009
Denver, Colorado
TomTom Model(s)
GO 730
Correct me if I'm off base, but once there's a solid GPS receiver in place on an OS platform, virtually all of the functionality is programmed in software. That being the case, "enhancements" and the specific capability of different models is really mainly an upgrade to the software... form factor, screen size, mounts, etc. aside.

I'd like very much to have a pick-and-chose feature set menu that I could download as needed. It seems to me that aside from the hardware model profitability issue, TT could really make it easy(ier) to get just what a customer wants without all the model/feature confusion.

I'd sure be willing to pay for any and all features! This "free" upgrades angle just wouldn't cut it for the TT product managers, I wouldn't imagine!
Sounds like a good business model to me.

But unfortunately TomTom's product managers seem to disagree. They are determined to "simplify" everything to the point where there is very little chance of customisation, and hell-bent on stopping anyone else doing it on their hardware either.

They are a very different company from a few years ago.
A tablet would be nice because of physical screen size, but not required. I've been using "the Android app" on my Samsung Gallaxy S2 for a bit, and with a few human factors chages to the interface, it would so be a usable platform. That's easy stuff.

I quoted "the Android" app because to me, an IT guy, it's reminicent of saying "I use the Windows word processor." What would that ne... Notepad? WordPerfect? Word? OpenOffice? An "Office Mobile" of some sort? The point is that once a solid hardware and software OS base are establshed varying the application's functionality is where the changes are seen. Look at the evolution of PhotoShop, for example... almost always just software programming changes. Or Adobe Acrobat.

With significant exceptions for specialized applications - like skuba, toxic environments, trucking, and many more - I believe the future for a general purpose GPS is 1 or 2 hardware designs only, and a wide range of software features that can be inabled or disabled as needed/paid-for. Very easy to do with today's software development tools. Look at the proliferation of iOS and Android app's already.

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