Since the dawn of the navigation device, PND's, the market has been dominated by technology that is outdated and not user centric, compared to what one could see in comparable tech like PC's, Mac's and Smartphones. When the first Smartphones where PDA's with GSM chip the makers of navigation devices produced with CPU's at 25% speed, bad bus designs, really bad usage of OS, no memory and absolutely no connectivity.
In the late 2008 when we have seen a boom in UMPC's like the Asus EEE 900 series, one of the (former?) giants of portable navigation Magellan has; CPU's at 25% speed, bad bus designs, really bad usage of OS, no memory and absolutely no connectivity, plus no customer service, no management and no future.
So meanwhile Microsoft has changed their business model on OS to fit UMPC's and entering new innovative projects with Nvidia and to launch a new Windows mobile that will (if we guess, it takes place 16th Febr in Barcelona) merge Smartphone, UMPC and PND into one device.
Microsoft see the niche market opening up as the players in PND market hasn't used their years of domination very well. The Garmin, Tomtom, Mio, Navman, Magellan, Sony, Navigon, Pharos etc brands has grown because of the rise in demand from the consumers to have a PND in the car, slow rise first as the price where high 5-800 € in 2002-2004, lowered to 3-500 € in 2004-2007 and then down to 2-400 € in 2007 and on which opened for high sales; strangely the manufacturers didn't continue to really develop the devices, they upgraded, got a bit larger screens and memory but mainly nothing happened compared to the laptop/UMPC market.
And while the Windows OS business is good in numbers of licenses, the revenue per license is dropping fast, they are looking for a new good market and the small mobile computing and navigation device with full connectivity is a very good market, especially because the majority of the consumers in the world doesn't own a computer, want it but can't afford it unless a whole new production takes place.
That is why it's exiting to see Nvidia pushing out Intel, combining expertize from graphic processing which is a key to small screens, with a clear will to move into new business areas.
When we enter 2011 the good ole' brands of navigation will have diminshed to nothing if they don't adjust to the new reality.
And as we expected Dell is now finally into Smartphones which they internally has worked on since 2004.