Google announced today that they are going to offer a FREE navigation system for mobile phones. This was clearly the next step for Google considering they already have all the information for the navigation system. This new feature is part of the latest version of Google Maps for Mobile. Today Verizon and Motorola unveiled the Droid (Motorola Droid pictured), which is a smartphone powered by Android 2.0 the system by which Google Maps for Mobile will be operated.
Verizon and Motorola are undoubtedly partnering with Google as part of the ongoing battle with the iPhone. Verizon had previously offered a mobile navigation system, but it was $10 a month. I am interested to see how the iPhone will fight back. Will iPhone also partner with Google, the k-strategist in this situation, or will they remain with MapQuest whose directions are inferior to Google Maps (in my opinion)? There are a lot of features that Google Maps for Mobile will offer that is not being offered currently by the iPhone. These features include live updates on traffic conditions and voice command recognition.
There is also another huge point to be made with Google’s product innovation. Will it be disruptive to the TomToms of this world? There is no doubt in mind that it will be disruptive, but how soon will this disruption occur? It is going to take time for the new Droids to get in people’s hands and therefore I do not believe that the disruption will happen immediately. Because of a recent introduction by TomTom of an iPhone app that costs $100 I believe that the company understood that a disruption was underway. Though the $100 is better than the cost of their $300 device it is nothing compared to free. How is the GPS industry going to combat the “low-end” disruptive innovations being introduced (Anthony and Christensen)? Do you think that it is feasible for the GPS industry to create a competitor to the free mobile navigation devices popping up? I think it is impossible for the GPS makers to offer a free mobile application because they have to make money. What do you think they should do next? Is there anything they can do?