The sites that specialize in such things are betting that Microsoft’s upcoming Origami “ultra-mobile PC” (UMPC) device will sport a built-in GPS receiver. Add to this a full-fledged XP operating system and a sub-$1,000 price point, and we suddenly have some very interesting possibilities.
That’s because Tomtom’s and Garmin’s top-of-the-line GPS mapping devices for cars are currently priced at the same level, but are one-trick ponies. Origami, on the other hand, could conceivably run Google Earth, connect to both GPS and the internet, and thus duplicate Volkswagen’s announced project. There already exists software that turns Google Earth into a live position display device — it would take a small tweak to adapt this for an all-in-one GPS Windows ultra-mobile.
Of course, between the time that Origami is announced and comes to market, prices on dedicated GPS devices will have fallen further. And this post is entirely speculative. But if GPS goes mainstream in the way wifi did 5 years ago, then this market is still very much in its very earliest phases.