October 7, 2015
By Mike Gundling
Bad news abounds for all-in-one GPS devices, whose manufacturers are being overwhelmed by data-collection systems that begin with the smartphone or tablet computer and include the TerraGo Edge application.
Sensors & Systems Magazine traces the advent of the mobile GPS revolution – the introduction of the GPS-enabled iPhone 3 in 2008 – through today’s move toward a more economical collection of data in a story entitled “Major Disruptor: Smartphones Turning (Have Turned?) All-In-One GPS Devices Obsolete.”
The piece outlines the steps along the way, including development of greater instrument capability that is enhancing measurement precision, and an understanding that any company’s bottom line can benefit from savings in training costs, flexible and custom data reporting and processing, and in real-time data and report transmission. It also takes a look at a future in which smartphone and tablet computers are going to be more ubiquitous – growing from 2 billion now to 6 billion by the end of the decade. The growth will yield a workforce that’s already trained and comfortable with the devices, further trimming costs and enhancing efficiency.
“Demand for dedicated GPS units is slowly dwindling,” wrote Sam Mattera in July 2015 in The Motley Fool, an investment blog. “Smartphones, equipped with a variety of robust mapping services, rendered them obsolete years ago. The market has been slow to react, but it seems unlikely that these devices will exist for too much longer.”
Prices of stock for companies still pushing all-in-one devices indicate that market reaction is picking up and that “iPhones and their Android brethren have sent digital cameras, watches, music devices and personal data assistants to museums—and they’re being joined by laptop computers as smartphone users turn to their devices for Internet access. All-in-one GPS devices are joining the migration toward obsolescence.”
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