Car Navigation vs. Mobile Phone GPS: Which Technology Wins?

Raise your hand if your car has a built-in GPS. Now raise your hand if you use it.


Most likely.

Today, most new cars have GPS systems pre-built into the center console– BlueTooth systems that allow drivers to stream music and access their phone hands free, and lane-keeping technologies that prevent drivers from veering outside the yellow paint. But the real question is exactly how often do you utilize your GPS system? Since smartphones have become a staple in our lives, many opt to use their mobile device to handle navigation. What does that mean for our car GPS systems?

In a survey by J.D. Power & Associates, on a 1,000 point scale — they asked recent car buyers if they were satisfied with their purchases. Of the surveyed, the average satisfaction score was 730, however, when it came to navigation system satisfaction — the score was a mere 687. Let’s be honest, that’s not the best score.

The real reason drivers are utilizing their GPS systems — smartphones and mobile devices. With the addition of apps such as Waze, Google Maps, and Apple Maps, all able to be added to our devices and drivers no longer find it necessary to have a GPS system pre-built in their car.

One of the limitations is the fact that users have to completely relearn how to use their navigation system. One of the pain points — punching in their final destination and voice commands. Of those surveyed, one-third admitted they used their system for less than 2 weeks post-purchase, and eventually switched back to their smartphone. Additionally, more than half with in-car GPS systems never used them at all.

What does this mean for mobile technology?

We’re all so accustomed to using our smartphone for everyday tasks, from purchasing takeout via Postmates to paying our colleague for that happy hour beer via Venmo — there’s really no difference when it comes to navigation systems. For many users, they rely on Google Maps or Apple Maps for accurate directions due since these applications are constantly updated. Although standalone GPS devices and built-in car systems might not be the most popular choice, they’re not necessarily becoming ancient — at least not yet. For mobile parking and transit applications like Passport’s, users have the functionality to handle their entire transportation experience through their smartphone. If you’re heading to a work function downtown, you can pay, manage, and extend your parking session from your smartphone – without having to physically be at the meter. Grabbing the metro has never been easier with Passport’s mobile transit app; plan, track, and pay for your transit fare with your mobile device. Having the ability to handle everything from your smartphone makes the user’s overall experience a positive one.

Having the ability to access mobile apps makes completing day-to-day tasks more convenient. When it comes to tackling your navigation needs, smartphones just might win over built-in GPS systems. For now, I’ll take handling my lack of directional skills through Google Maps…