Will Mobile Phones Make Vehicle Navigation Systems Obsolete?

#Audi, #A8

Is it still worth spending the extra money -- often in excess of $1000 -- to opt for a navigation system in a new vehicle? Perhaps not. Mobile phones may render such systems completely obsolete.

Most smartphones -- like Apple's iPhone -- already have mapping software and basic naviagation tools installed, but some of the latest applications all but eliminate the need to have a hard-wired system. Google's latest navigation program for its Android operating system functions much like a conventional GPS unit, and a new Nokia application for Android can provide turn-by-turn voice navigation in 76 different countries and 4 different languages. Better yet? It's free.

Automotive News reports consumers are increasingly looking to have navigation systems that can be moved from car to car, and while portable GPS units offer such mobility, mobile phones have a few trump cards. Not only does using a smart phone for navigation allow users to carry one device instead of two, but map updates -- usually a costly upgrade -- are also free, and can be performed in real time. Such applications can also provide users with traffic information, alternate views of the map data, and ease the search for new destinations.

Automakers and dealers worry that these new offerings will decrease the take rate on navigation systems, which often can rake in profit for both parties. Still, they could learn to adopt the technology -- Audi's new 2011 A8 sedan incorporates Google Maps into its factory-installed navigation system, which pairs with the driver's smartphone to provide updates and other interactive features.

Source: Automotive News

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