Avionics Report

July 2016 Issue

Aera or App? No Easy Choice

We scoffed at Garminís expectation that a new portable GPS could sell against tablet apps. But it could eke out a niche.

If smartphones and tablets have seized the high ground for cockpit navigation, Garmin showed last spring that itís not quite ready to surrender its piece of the dedicated portable navigator market. The introduction of the $849 aera 660 in April shows that Garmin still thinks thereís a viable market for a GPS navigator that, although full featured, doesnít run apps, play amusing games, pay at Starbucks or do a million other things that smartphones do. Has Garmin come adrift from market reality here? Can such a thing compete with tablets and phones?

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