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ADV ProductsADV Bike AccessoriesPoll Results: Dedicated Device vs Smartphone for GPS

Poll Results: Dedicated Device vs Smartphone for GPS

We analyze the results we received from our recent GPS usage poll.

Published on 02.18.2014

Last week we published a story about the growing number of Adventure Riders using their Smartphone for GPS functionality in a story titled “Have Smartphones Made the Handheld GPS Obsolete?”. Smartphones are powerful devices that can match the functionality of a dedicated GPS device when the proper app software is installed.

Smartphone GPS Capabilities
• Record your route
• Set Waypoints
• Download maps for use offline
• Show your location to Family/Friends
• Navigate a predetermined route
• Locate points of interest
• Get directions to points of interest

Using your Smartphone for GPS allows you to consolidate devices and/or avoid purchasing an expensive new dedicated GPS device. However, some riders remain unconvinced and are sticking to their dedicated GPS devices. In the comments from riders, many cited limitations of Smartphones that prevented them from switching.


Concerns About Using Smartphones for GPS
• Durability and waterproofing
• Glare in direct sunlight
• Want to keep phone on body for personal safety
• Don’t want to be interrupted by phone calls
• Overheating problems on hot days
• Misconceptions about Smartphones requiring a cell signal for GPS

We took a poll to see which device Adventure Riders prefer for GPS usage and the results gave us some interesting insights into how trends are evolving.

Analysis of Poll Results
• About 1/3 of respondents plan to continue using a dedicated GPS or feel that a dedicated GPS is in their future.
• Of those that never had a dedicated GPS, the majority plan to use or are already using a Smartphone.
• 65.69% of respondents have already switched to a Smartphone or are planning on using one in the future for GPS.

It appears that many of those who have used a dedicated GPS in the past will continue to use a dedicated GPS. Those that have never owned a dedicated GPS seem to gravitate toward using a Smartphone for GPS instead. New products for mounting and protecting your Smartphone are arriving on the market that should help remove some of the concerns people have for using Smartphones for GPS as well. We should also see the adoption rate increase as more people realize they can use their Smartphone as a GPS device, even without a cell signal.

In conclusion, trends are pointing towards fewer dedicated GPS devices on the handlebars of Adventure Bikes in the future and more Smartphones. Some are even starting to use Tablets, so look out for this trend as well.

Thank you to everyone that participated in our poll.

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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July 6, 2015 9:09 pm

Hmmm, missed the poll, but my answer isn’t on there anyway.

“I don’t currently use a device for GPS, and don’t plan on doing so in the future.”


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