Archive for the ‘GPS’ Category

iPhone Challenger

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Who would have thought Apples greatest invention could be outdone? Apple has been working on a handheld computing device for decades (think Newton) and with the iPhone they broke new ground on many fronts including a double touchscreen.


So what happens when they come up against an established portable device accustomed to touch screen computing? This was a direction I did not expect – the nuvifone from Garmin! How could Steve Jobs allow it to happen? He probably won’t.


The nuvifone is not due out until Q3 of this year giving Apple plenty of time to beef up their offerings. The biggest differences as I see it between the two are bandwidth, double touchscreen, installed user base, and GPS. Why have I not included visual voicemail in my list? You know the one Apple likes to talk so much about? More on that below.

Currently the iPhone uses the 2.5G network, which, although always connected it is a bit slow. The nuvifone is currently listing theirs as being either 3G or 3.5G compatible. So what is to keep the iPhone from bumping up theirs to the same? Battery life. People expect the iPhone to replace their cell phone. And cell phones are supposed go on one charge for at least a whole day, if not several days. If Apple puts a 3G card in their phone they will have a lot of trouble keeping it powered up for a whole day of use. Garmin has a chance of getting away with it since most GPS units get plugged in while in the car, or they may elect to make their unit a bit larger to accommodate a bigger battery.

Roomers abound on Apple adding GPS to iPhone with some people trying out a software package that makes use of cell phone towers to give a general idea of location. This will need more work and I will be watching Apple to see if they can bring this one in. Garmin is way ahead on this front and should work to capitalize on it.

The iPhone has been a big pusher of Visual Voicemail and a unique feature of theirs. Yet anyone using will quickly realize they do not hold any monopoly on it. I anticipate Garmin allowing their browser to connect with GrandCentral to easily bridge the gap.

No word on the double touch screen yet for Garmin. Unlikely they will be able to work this one out and it will be missed. Once you have tried this feature it is tough to look at a single touch the same again. A bit like the mouse with two buttons (so why do mac laptops only have one?)

I can’t help but wonder if people will be willing to hang their iPhone’s from their windshields? Apples products are not normally meant to be left ‘hanging’ around and this may be the main reason Apple has not included any GPS functionality options for their phone.