Two major companies are slashing the cost of GPS modules used in cells phones, media players and personal navigation devices. CSR, a leading global provider of personal wireless technology, is cutting the cost of the technology by 50% through a partnership with Samsung.
ABI Research estimates the market for GPS enabled handsets alone will generate $50 billion in revenues this year—and twice that in 2012. Advances in GPS chipset development will enable the integration of GPS technology in all mobile devices at low cost by 2013. This will drive new applications such as the automatic geo-tagging of pictures taken with digital cameras. Other innovative applications include road toll systems and tourismLower costs will likely make already popular GPS devices even more ubiquitous, and save countless direction impaired professionals from showing up late for meetings in remote locations. But I have to wonder:
If we become too dependent on GPS, will we forget how to navigate without it—the way we forget the actual phone numbers we access with speed dial?
I turn on the GPS in my car when I drive from my office to the train station, a mile away. There’s no reason to turn it on. I know the route. But I do anyway. Sometimes, I try to outsmart the technology, turning down a random street rather than following the on-screen directions. By using a little known short-cut, I somehow feel empowered.Still, I depend on GPS completely when I head out-of-town. I have a sense it knows where I want to go, even when I don’t.