Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You can't beat free

Google announced today that they would be providing free turn by turn navigation on smartphones running their Android operating system. Talk about a game changer.

First off it's a really bad day to be a stand alone GPS manufacturer like TomTom or Garmin. As a matter of fact TomTom's stock is down over 20% TODAY as of the time I write this. These GPS manufacturers have been charging big bucks for dedicated hardware, map updates and traffic services for years but here comes Google and says that a connected 3G smartphone can do all that for no extra cost.

Second, what does this mean for the current tension between Apple and Google? Did Apple go out and buy that mapping company knowing full well that this was coming from Google? If Google decides to make this service/application exclusive to the Android phone community and NOT the iPhone it could end up being a killer app for Android. There's no technical reason that it couldn't work on the iPhone.

I'm sure glad that I didn't spend $99 on the TomTom app for my iPhone because you can't beat free.

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