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Re: [BMWMc] Garmin GPSes: 1 map product, on only 1 GPS
- From: "Steve Makohin" <wateredg@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 09:44:27 -0400
- Subject: Re: [BMWMc] Garmin GPSes: 1 map product, on only 1 GPS
From: "Jean Lachaud" <jean@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Interesting. I've always wondered if I would need to buy a second CityNav
license the day I upgrade to a new GPS unit.
Actually, if you buy a new or refurbished unit, chances are that it will
come with the latest data. Maybe. Garmin's latest policy is that if your
fresh-from-Garmin product has outdated maps, you can get the latest ones for
a $75 upgrade. Not a pleasant surprise. Caveat emptor.
Incidentally, all the "pieces of the puzzle" fit together to paint a picture
of what is going on at Garmin.
5 years ago, I bought a new StreetPilot III for CAD$1,200, which included 1
unlock code for CityNavigator 4 maps. That unlock code equated to all of
Canada, or a section of the United States. Additional unlock codes could be
purchased for a pricey sum. The unit included MapSource desktop software,
and matching data for my desktop, so I could do all my planning on a large
screen, and then download it to the GPS.
As margins were healthy, with Garmin doing well on hardware and data sales,
they could afford to appear "generous" by later allowing 2 unlock codes for
the price of 1, which meant either a second region in the United States map
data, or in rare circumstanced, the same data for a second GPS in the
Over the past several years, a number of things have happened. First,
competition has heated up dramatically in the GPS market, which means that
GPS prices fell, and variety increased. Garmin responded by lowering their
prices, and making a wider variety of Garmin GPSes. The price of map data
fell, too, so Garmin responded in kind, until eventually, a lower price got
you all of CityNavigator North America data instead of just one region.
Today, Garmin sells their GPSes with "pre-loaded" data. This is perceived as
a consumer advantage because you have nothing to load. However, it also
represents reduced functionality for those in the know. Without an exact
desktop equivalent of your GPSes map data and route planning/visualizing and
waypoint management software, you can either make-do with the reduced
functionality, or you can shell out more money to buy the functionality that
used to be part of the Garmin package.
Today, a second unlock code no longer represents a "free" region. It most
likely represents a person, who is unrelated to the map data's owner,
getting a legal copy of the map data for free. And this represents a loss of
a sale for Garmin.
For me, having 2 GPSes (StreetPilot III and soon, a factory-refurbished
2610) used to be a competitive advantage, because I could buy one set of map
data, and both my wife and I could load it onto our GPSes. In essence, one
Garmin GPS was getting free map data! Now that this is gone, it's worth my
time to shop aggressively for alternatives outside of the Garmin family
before I buy my next GPS.
Oakville, Ontario, Canada