The market for portable navigation devices (PNDs) is so low that companies are re-thinking their entire business models. Companies such as TomTom, Garmin, Navigon, and others have seen sales drop to record lows. With $30 PNDs soon to be a reality, companies are trying to see if it makes sense to continue to offer product lines. While companies struggle to find answers to counter a worldwide economic meltdown, strong competitors like Google are swooping in to offer similar services at no cost to battered consumers.
Is Google the Evil Empire?
Because Google believes navigation should be free to its users, the web portal giant is perceived to be a major threat to companies offering paid products and services. “Google is threatening to everyone. They leverage the strength of their ad revenue,” said Michael Dobson, TeleMapics president.
Dobson also believes that local search is rarely a satisfying experience for the end user. “Nokia bought Navteq in part to make the mobile local search market a reality. If they can’t do that, they won’t make half the money they should,” he said.