ddhr.org | 2007 | 08 | 30 about | archives | comments | rss

GPS sucks Thu, Aug 30, 2007
Despite the booming industry created by the newly utilized global positioning system satellites, I have one thing to say:  GPS devices suck. 

For one, they're phenomenally expensive.  Even the most basic device costs around $200, and that's only because it's using outdated technology and competing with hundreds of knockoffs.  I think it's safe to assume the plastic casing of a GPS device doesn't cost much, and I would assume neither does the software.  So basically, you're paying for a little radio transmitter/receiver chip.  Why hasn't demand for these things driven down prices?  It's not like it's a new technology.  It's been around since the 1970s and operational since the early 90s. 

Second, GPS devices are incredibly unintuitive and extremely user unfriendly.  Why are there functions to name marked points and input data if there's no keyboard?  And why is the onscreen keyboard like those Nintendo games from 1987, organized in alphabetical order?  Keyboards haven't been organized in alphabetical order since the invention of the typewriter!  A touchscreen would be a vast improvement, as would a bigger display and a move intuitive menu system.  Honestly, for $200 you'd think I could get a device with a screen larger than a 10-year-old cell phone.  And full-color! 

Third, battery power for handheld devices is generally laughable.  Twelve hours between charges?  That won't even last a moderate weekend hike!  The last thing I need when I'm lost in the middle of the woods is an expensive chunk of plastic and silicon with a dead battery. 

Finally, although I'm impressed by vehicle navigation models that give turn-by-turn directions and tell you where the closest McDonald's is, I don't really need turn-by-turn directions or the location of the closest McDonald's.  I'm pretty good at finding my way around places, even if I've never been there before.  And to find the nearest McDonald's, I can probably just turn in a circle and find two or three. 

P.S. - "Recalculating route" shouldn't take 60 seconds to complete.  Even MapQuest loads faster than that. #technology


← older post 1320 of 3112 newer →