Add TV to a GPS Device? Wow, What a Bad Idea!

Jamie Lendino asks an important question in this Gearlog article about mobile TV being added to GPS devices outside of the US…

Garmin, Mio, Navigon to Add Mobile TV to GPS Devices

“Should we have mobile TV as part of our GPS devices here?”

It might seem like a good idea to provide additional functions to any device. But, the idea of adding TV viewing to a device primarily designed to be a GPS seems like a phenomenally bad idea. Here’s why:

– A GPS is designed to be used primarily by a car’s driver. A car’s driver should never watch TV while driving
– Assuming the GPS is in active use, no one can watch TV anyway
– There are many other forms of entertainment for passengers in the back seat (often children) who wouldn’t be able to see a GPS/TV combo on the dashboard anyway

Thinking about this GPS/TV combo got me thinking about FloTV again. I’ve more or less dismissed it as a non-starter despite the fact that they apparently have paying customers and continue to stay in business in a difficult business environment. I now believe my mistake was viewing mobile TV viewing services like FloTV through the lens of a smartphone user (which I am). As I’ve said in the past, FloTV is not found on any smartphone. It is a pure feature phone play. And, that’s what I neglected to consider. The feature phone customer base is very different from the smarpthone customer base. It makes sense for some segment of that market to want mobile TV and be willing to pay a monthly subscription for it in the same way that smartphone users are willing to pay monthly fees for wireless data.