Evolve Or Die

1 12 2009

In today’s fast-paced high-tech world, it is amazing how quickly something can go from must-have new gadget, to “so last year.” Take the GPS, for example. While civilian GPS units have only been available commercially since the late-1990s, it is in just the last three years that prices have plummeted. This proletariat drift has allowed many people to be able to afford a personal navigation device for help in getting from Point A to Point B.

Of course, sometimes it’s more fun meandering on the way from A to B, but if we need to get there in a hurry, I know I can rely on my TomTom to practically cut through traffic.

But during these last three years, yet another tech change has occurred that is about to push the stand-alone GPS into the tar pit forever. Unless Garmin, Magellan, et al, can reinvent themselves. As in quickly.

And that change is the GPS phone app for smartphones. Who needs a separate GPS when you can just use your phone? Let’s face it, it is a hassle to have to lug the GPS around, moving it among your various vehicles. You have to take it indoors at the motel, lest someone break in a steal it. Having an iPhone app that does the same thing (which is indeed possible on the 3G and 3GS models) makes everything much simpler.

Which all goes to say that no matter how successful you think you might be with your gadgetry and coolness, there’s always someone catching up from behind. The typewriter manufacturers of the world probably never thought they would see the day of their demise, but the 1980s showed them otherwise. It has only gotten worse since then. Our landfills are teeming with cast off products that were once marvels, but are now small boat anchors.

And if I were in the GPS business, I’d be pretty busy figuring out how to respond to this new threat. because the road from Point A to Point B is littered with the jetsam and flotsam of technological innovations past. And there is no meandering allowed on the way to the graveyard.

Dr “I Don’t Need Directions Anyway” Gerlich


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