Is the GPS party about to end? Report points to SiRF job cuts and asks what has changed in the GPS world
Quoting from Gigaom “SiRF Technology (SIRF), a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of GPS chips, this morning said it was cutting jobs and trying to restructure its business due to softening consumer demand. Already the worst performing tech stock for the year, shares of SiRF nosedived in early trading this morning.
“SiRF experienced greater-than-expected softness in product demand from its customers, especially in the PND, or Personal Navigation Devices market,” the company said in a press release.”
I think it’s more about the maturing of the stand alone Personal Navigation Device (PND) market – as more mobile phones are now starting to carry GPS receivers, and Google’s My Location works well without GPS, I believe that consumers may want to consolidate their needs into a single device, something that has happened with the digital camera and the mobile phone – who carries both a camera and a phone when they are out and about?
GPS on it’s own is not the whole location story – as open source location initiatives such as Fire Eagle (see my earlier post on this) spring up, the mobile social networking needs seem to be more about presence than mapping. GPS is NOT well suited to presence – when you want to update your new location would you rather it happen automatically or go outside, wait for a GPS fix, and then allow your favourite mobile social networking application to then send your GPS location off to your social networking site.
The story about SiRF will extend the debate about GPS, but I don’t believe we have seen the end of GPS at all. By contrast, the consumer is now starting to experience the benefits of location enabled social networking, and will start to demand the fastest and easiest to use (read seamless) location aware technology to enhance their mobile experience. I firmly believe that location aware services are set to explode.