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What is the Future of GPS? The Next Generation

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 12/17/2010

Curious what's the next generation portable GPS system? We all are. But, we are looking into just for you. Learn about the future of GPS here.

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    Updating Your Software

    It seems like everyone has GPS these days. It’s in your phone and your car, and you can even carry a portable GPS system if you are heading out into the woods. You just don’t think that it can get any better, but there’s always a next generation portable GPS floating around out there. So, what is waiting on the horizon?

    Well, the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) indicated that the mobile phone navigation is not going away any time soon, and the available features will likely expand. In fact, one of the panels predicted that GPS is going to be everywhere, but it won’t necessarily be used strictly for finding your way to the nearest restaurant.

    Instead, more people will use it for location-based services. For example, this panel predicts people will use it for checking in at your favorite place on social networking websites. Sites like Facebook and Foursquare allow you to virtually check in where you are so that others can meet you or just follow your friend’s travels.

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    Smart Phones as GPS

    Besides software updates, your devices may change as well. Since nearly all smart phones come with turn by turn directions, the car navigation system may be coming obsolete. Instead, you may find a dock for your cell phone in the car.

    Motorola is now offering a car dock that allows you to set up your Google Android phone. Different Android phones come with voice spoken directions. So, if you need to get somewhere, slip your phone into the dock, and use it as a car GPS system.

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    PND

    While the portable navigation device (PND) has been around for a long time, it’s actually a growing market. That’s because the number of households that actually have it is relatively low. And, emerging markets like China and India are just being exposed to these devices.

    These devices do not require a monthly fee to use, but you do have to pay for the features that provide you with traffic updates. And, you do have to pay more if you want a device with Bluetooth connectivity. The high prices of these devices have limited their sales in the United States, but 4G may counteract that.

    Clearwire is considering offering 4G, and this would increase the number of providers who have this service. This competition would force the companies into something of a price war, which would result in less expensive service.

    Another way for PND devices to compete is by adding ultra wide band and Wi-Fi connectivity. If the PNDs become more than simple GPS providers, then these devices could survive the smart phone versus PND competition.

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    Other Possibilities

    For those who don’t want to look at any small device, you could see an expansion of the GPS’ that are built into your rear view mirror or even one built into your windshield. In 2008, Virtual Cable experimented with this idea, but it has not taken off as of 2010.