Blog vs. Blog: GigaOm/Gizmodo GPS Showdown!

iPhone GPS: GigaOm vs. Gizmodo

Om Malik says GPS on the iPhone is locked and loaded:

[T]here is one thing that’s for sure: The new iPhone has Global Positioning System (GPS) built into it, thanks to legal requirements put in place by the FCC.

The GigaOmster further says that new-to-the-space-space Broadcom has nailed the contract, which is great for them but panic-inducing for the stand-alone GPS market. (We know Google sees positively HUGE maps usage from the GPS-less iPhone already, so that makes the kind of sense that does.)

But Brian Lam of Gizmodo thinks the whole GPS on the iPhone thing is pretty poorly thought out:

No thanks. Don't need it. I'm fine with the current location technology. It works for walking and that's all I need it for.

Lam's reasons? Current cell and WiFi location services are much quicker than GPS, they better suit walking and the iPhone is less useful while driving anyway, GPS kills battery life dead, and GPS chips would significantly fatten up the iPhone.

Personally, both 3G and GPS are still bleeding edge tech when it comes to realistic day-to-day usage in everywhere, USA when not hooked up to a generator, so while nice to have as an option, and fetishized by the tech media and the blogphere commentorati, neither will have the impact on my life that the 2.0 software update likely will. It just ain't mainstream enough for me to be melodramatic about yet.

What do you think?

[More on the Broadcom GPS story, with thanks to reader southerntraveltourism]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Blog vs. Blog: GigaOm/Gizmodo GPS Showdown!


GPS is a necessary feature for any smartphone that I use while traveling, period. Using it while driving in conjunction with something like Google Maps is a killer feature. This weekend and the weekend past having a Q9h with GPS and Live Search saved the day at least a dozen times all told. Battery life: better than I expected, but still used the fatty battery on the Q9...

GPS, 3G and 3rd party apps are the only features missing from the iPhone that in my opinion would make it the perfect handheld device. Thankfully it looks like we will be getting all 3 within the next 30 days or so. It's going to be a good month.

Honestly, I use the triangulation-type "my location" feature with Google maps on a 1st-gen Blackjack, and that is all I really NEED. I am able to find where I am and where I'm going just fine. That being said, I would love to plug the iPhone into the cig lighter, pull up some 3rd party software like Tom-Tom, and be able to have instant turn-by-turn directions at any time. Needed? NO. Desired? Yes.

I am hoping for GPS.
triangulation is not as accurate.
Plus in a car i would have my iphone plugged in.

Surur is in full force in the comments section of the "Pro-GPS" article... He is, well, wow...

Both articles are right, for their perspectives that is. GPS needs to be designed around context. If it is driving, then the UI and performance needs to fit. If it is walking, then same. Nokia is addressing this with Nokia Maps 2.0 and its walking mode - and even more with a model that has a compass built in that Nokia Maps 2.0 takes advantage of. Now, who will put it all together? My money is on Google, with a helping hand some someone large ;)