Multimedia features enhance nav experience, but represent risks

Multimedia features enhance nav experience, but represent risks

Multimedia functionality such as audio and video playback, picture viewing, mobile TV and even digital cameras are being integrated by PND and in-dash navigation vendors in an effort to increase differentiation and maintain price levels in an increasingly competitive market environment.

However, this is often a mixed blessing for the end-user, says ABI Research director Dominique Bonte.

"While some users might be interested in using their PNDs for listening to music or watching video, the majority have chosen PNDs because they offer an optimised and unique navigation experience," says Bonte. "The multimedia feature battle currently raging among navigation vendors may well end up compromising this experience due to more complex user interfaces and/or increased safety risks."

Many vendors are moving to the vertical integration of multimedia to enhance the user experience and/or offer relevant navigation functions. One remarkable trend is the availability of GPS-guided audio or video driving tours offered by US-based IntelliTours and UK-based ROADTOUR and Augmentra. The use of an integrated digital camera to take geotagged pictures and/or use them to quickly select destinations and start navigating allows companies such as Navman and Garmin to improve ease of use.

While the horizontal and vertical integration of multimedia features in PNDs may result in the emergence of a new category of connected multi-purpose mobile devices with big displays combining web browsing, navigation, video playback, and game playing, the current strengths of dedicated navigation devices will ensure their survival.

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