The Mainstreaming of GPS

The Garmin Nuvi GPS first got my attention when it came not just recommended, but insanely recommended by Jason Fried in late 2005.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

I know, I know, I have been a little gadget/hardware heavy over the last week or so. But…

  1. Nuvi friggin’ rocks and deserves to be highlighted, even though I’m the millionth person to do so and super late to the party.

  2. Don’t worry, I have some hardcore software development posts coming up. I swear!


I’m glad that someone else feels the way I feel. I was one of those folks who just felt (these things were too expensive), but then after last Xmas, prices dropped. I was gonna pick up a c530 (or something like that) for about $200, but I liked the fact that the nuvi 350 was small, flat, and pocketable.

Frankly, I pop that guy out every time I get out of the car and even go as far as putting the suction mount into my glove box. It’s a lil’ bit awkward, but it beats a busted window.

I was a true advocate of Google maps and such, however I remember numerous times where I’d be following my directions and see a store (or something) on a side street out of the corner of my eye and think to myself: “hmmmph, I wish I could head over there”, but I resisted for fear of getting off course (yes, I’m that bad at directions). Also, I do a lot of night driving and solo driving, both of which are difficult and dangerous with a paper map in hand.

This is the best tech purchase I’ve made (outside of my PC of course).

Every time I go to buy one of these, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices…

MP3 player, a photo vault, a currency converter, a world clock, a foreign language dictionary, and a travel guide.

God I hate convergence sometimes. I just don’t need all that stuff.
I just want a simple tool, designed to do one job and do it well.
(which is why I am happy with my TomTom One)

Adding all that extra stuff may help them sell, but I’ll bet that much like mobile (cell) phones, average consumers won’t use any of the extra stuff after the first week and many will be horribly confused by it.

Wow, kinda crazy that you would write about this now Jeff, because I just got a Garmin Nuvi last week. It’s fantastic! Great device!

A big group of us are graduating college this week and all moving different places in NC. I’ve lent my Garmin out to everyone to go find an apartment and such. Everyone who borrowed it are buying a Nuvi of their own.

I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices…

That’s partially why I stuck with the entry level 200W. Plus, it’s cheap!

My only regret with the 200W is that I do wish it read the street names instead of just saying “turn left” or “turn right”. The street names are on the screen, of course, but it’s helpful to hear the street name so you look for street signs to confirm you’re making the correct turn.

I just want a simple tool, designed to do one job and do it well.

Trust me, you’ll never see that extra stuff on the Nuvi unless you want to. It is the ULTIMATE mom-friendly device. Heck, I’d go so far as to say it’s almost grandma-friendly.

Have had my Nuvi long enough to do one map update. I travel for business enough to need it to navigate strange towns but even if I know where I am going I love it for several reasons. Trip computer, man i love to fight that average speed thing. Find: Gas, Food, etc with the ability to select near my route or near destination.

Was in Shreveport last week and my client said to meet him at a steakhouse…punched in the name and bam, i was on the way.

Have a Nuvi myself and it’s always in my dashboard.

Having one makes me wonder how people found their ways before the GPS…

Well, I remember stopping asking, driving in circles and just wasting time.

Oh, one beef with Nuvi… One thing garmin should do is let you set up a complicated route and upload to Nuvi, I am sure there are devices out there that would do it. For now you are stuck with one way point.

I personally use a HTC TyTN II Mobile Phone which has TomTom Navigator included (you still have to pay a lot for the maps, e.g. 100€ (about 160$) for Western Europe).

But I prefer the navigator as part of the cell phone, because you always carry it around with you anyway.

Oh and btw…you need a “” Key on your keyboard :wink: Or use the html escape uuml; cause it should be “Garmin nvi” :slight_smile:

Arg I knew that would happen. The HTML escape is amp;uuml;

That’s a nice dashboard mount. I’ve got a cheapo suction mount that keeps falling off, and handily advertises “EXPENSIVE TECH IN THIS CAR!” to anyone walking past. Cars come with cup holders, how long before they come with designated mounting points for GPS and other devices? They could use the Proclip mounting holes or something.

My GPS is a Nokia N810 Internet Tablet with built in GPS. The mapping software is a bit simple, but it works quite well :slight_smile:

PS, your captcha image is always the same…


Didn’t you write a post a while ago complaining about lots of extra unnecessary features bloating software products to the point of uselessness? Do you think there is a difference when we start to talk about bloat in hardware devices?

Is this some kind of advertisement?

Do you think there is a difference when we start to talk about bloat in hardware devices?

Use a Nuvi yourself and tell me if you think the featureset is bloated. It’s no more “bloated” than Tivo was, which is to say it is a marvel, a paragon of usability.

There are literally MILLIONS of hardware devices you can point to that have severe usability and design problems. Nuvi is not one of them. That’s sort of the point here…

Did you look at the Mio devices? They’re Windows CE based, and start up instantly (since “off” is just “sleep”). I bought a Garmin and ended up returning it and going back to the Mio I had previously.

(That link and the two previous posts it links to are my GPS experiences).

There are some hacks that let you get to the Windows CE living behind the map UI in the Mio GPS, which lets you do things like install other bits of Windows CE software. It’s a more hackable platform.

I agree with Jeff. I picked up a nuvi 660 last year, and it has all of the “extra” stuff. I never use the photo viewer, currency converter, etc. I really don’t think about them being there. They’re tucked out of the way in case you don’t care about them, but somehow they’re readily accessible if you do.

Feature bloat?

What about STUFF bloat? I know gadgets are cool in the geek kingdom and all, but do you really need more stuff? What about maps? And using google maps before you even leave so you know where you’re going in the first place?

Unless you consistently travel over 100 miles to unknown areas with little or no notice I can’t see the use of a GPS device for your car. Having one on hand in the middle of the wilderness, maybe.