Outdone by Smartphones, Portable GPS Sales Slip in 2010
According to statistics from the NPD Group, unit sales of portable navigation devices (PNDs) have dropped by 9-percent through the first 11 months of 2010. Sales revenue, meanwhile, has slid by 22-percent since last year. NPD says smartphones may pose the biggest threat to portable GPS devices, since 86-percent of all mobile phones sold in the U.S. now come with GPS capabilities.
In light of this new competition, many manufacturers have begun expanding their PND horizons. Some new cars from Suzuki, for example, will now include a portable GPS device from Garmin. According to USA Today, Garmin will also reveal new details on its forthcoming navigational smartphone app at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Companies like Navigon, Magellan and TomTom already have similar apps on the market.
Meanwhile, analysts say they aren't ready to completely write off PNDs, which offer advantages like bigger screens, better audio, and generally better reception. Considering the industry's recent movements beyond the dashboard, however, it certainly seems like manufacturers are joining their smartphone competitors, rather than trying to beat them.