Trend: Car navigation systems are moving towards the mass adoption tipping point
IBD highlights a possible trend.
Satellite-based car navigation devices are hot products this holiday season because of falling prices and new features.
Aftermarket systems are adding new features at a rapid pace. Built-in systems can become dated and would be difficult and expensive to upgrade, analysts say.
Mainstream consumers are just starting to get familiar with car navigation systems. The market is in the early adopter stage, but is "threatening to cross the chasm into the mass market," Driscoll said. That will happen once full-featured units are available for less than $500.
And portable car navigation systems are expected to get even more capable in the near future. Some portable "navi" systems double as MP3 music players, for instance. But real-time traffic data are the biggest current advance.
"Integrating the traffic data has taken the consumer navigation market to the next level," said Steve Koenig, an analyst with the Consumer Electronics Association. "Being able to route you from A to B, that's great. But being able to route you from A to B and around a traffic jam — and do that on the fly in real time — that's really great."
On the horizon are navi units that offer information on local restaurants and other businesses, plus let users surf the Web or check their e-mail while parked.