General Motors is now offering a $50 map app for iPhones that could be played on the dashboard touchscreen of a Chevrolet Spark. Timothy Nixon, chief technology officer of General Motors' OnStar service, remarked that historically, they had dashboard navigation systems, which could cost a driver around $1,500 or more.
Nixon quipped that such nav systems would not be able to “cut it anymore,” noting that the game has changed and “always-connected devices” have raised the bar.
Nixon’s view is just a restatement of the fact that carmakers’ expensive profitable in-car navigation systems are threatened are threatened by the increasing use of smartphone app to find their way on the road. The main reason for this is that while embedded nav systems run from $500 to over $2,000, many map apps come free of charge.
There is also the increasing popularity of social-networking map apps like Waze. "Wazers" -- as the app's 48 million users dubbed themselves -- touch prompts on their smartphone to report traffic jams and accidents. Waze then re-routes them onto a faster path.
Its popularity has led to Google to acquire Waze Inc. for around $1.1 billion. Di-Ann Eisnor, head of Waze's business in the United States, remarked to Bloomberg in an interview that a free map app is considerable threat to expensive in-car nav system, on which consumers have to pay a lot of money. [source: automotive news - sub. required]