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[ NNSquad ] Re: Garmin: The Shocking Costs of "Free" Navigation and Billable Events

The question is why they aren't using a SIM card with a Europe-wide data
plan? Or at least a SIM cards for the countries involved. It would behoove
the Android guys or Google to provide information on how to buy such SIMs.

Sure it would be silly to have to swap SIM cards at the border but that's
just a symptom of irrationality to trying to force bits into the telecom
business model. But it's even sillier to have to be counting the number of
bits my apps are exchanging behind my back.

I feel that the Android Guys' advice is a bit disingenuous in touting a
general purpose device and then telling you to be hyperaware of the bits
being used. After all you're probably going to want to listen to Pandora
traveling through tunnels and past wheat fields. Or perhaps your nav app
will provide reach information using VNC to your passengers' screens.

Conversely why not just use a program like Co-Pilot that stores the complete
road maps for Europe on your SIM card (I have both Europe and North America)
so you don't need to be tethered to the cloud. This allows you to make
opportunistic use of hotspots for updates -- until we have ambient
connectivity just make sure your route passes a Starbucks now and then.

Or you can do what Garmin implies -- have an accounting relationship for
each application in each device in each place negotiated by a provider to
whom you are tethered. I'm sure Garmin would be happy to collect the monthly
fees instead of letting the carriers have all the fun.

   [ Technical correction, Co-Pilot maps aren't stored on the SIM
     card, they're typically stored on the SD card, but we all knew
     what you meant.
     There are a number of issues.  Co-Pilot is an excellent app, but
     is relatively pricey (last time I checked, $30 for the Android
     version).  Google Navigation is free of course, and has the
     advantage of being opportunistically available (that is, you
     don't have to plan ahead, buy Co-Pilot, and do the very
     significantly-sized Copilot map corpus download).  Alternatively,
     any nav app that depends on downloaded data will typically need
     to deal with the issues referenced below -- data costs must be
     considered, along with data link availability and sometimes map
     pre-loading issues.  There have been a number of times where I've
     unexpectedly gotten lost in canyon and mountain areas around L.A.
     where no cell coverage was available -- in such a case stand-alone
     GPS is naturally very useful.

     What this all amounts to is that both the free cloud-based and
     stand-alone GPS have their roles and differing advantages and
     disadvantages in varying contexts, and it's very important that
     consumers understand these.

     As for very high data roaming cost issues vs. use of local SIMs
     to avoid excessive data charges ... I think it's fair to say that
     U.S. carriers haven't exactly been bending over backwards to
     proactively educate their subscribers about such topics, for
     obvious reasons.

     -- Lauren Weinstein
        NNSquad Moderator ]


-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Thursday, July 08, 2010 21:22
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Garmin: The Shocking Costs of "Free" Navigation

Garmin: The Shocking Costs of "Free" Navigation

http://bit.ly/b8az4C  (Business Wire)

In this press release, Garmin (maker of standalone GPS units) warns of
potentially high data costs associated with using phone-based navigation
systems that depend on downloaded route data (in the case of their tests,
Google Navigation).  Worth noting (even in this era of newly capped domestic
data plans) is that Garmin's numbers appear to be worst case scenarios based
on roaming data charges.

"Android Guys" has an article that discusses the Garmin announcement, and
notes several mitigating factors and other issues that make the Garmin
release considerably less dramatic in context:

http://bit.ly/9Ijuip  (Android Guys)

NNSquad Moderator