It was already dead. In some senses, anyway.
Google announced a couple of days ago that they’re advancing into the business of GPS guided navigation, rather than staying with their widely popular offering of mapping and positioning only. This announcement affected the rest of the industry immediately, and some of the industry leaders in the area have quickly taken a hit on their share value.
As usual, Slashdot caught up on the news and asked the question: Will Google and Android kill standalone GPS?
Let me point out that the way the facts were covered by Slashdot was quite misguided. Google may be giving a hand to change the industry dynamics a bit faster, but both Garmin and TomTom, the companies which reportedly had an impact in their share value, have phone-based offerings of their own, so it’s not like Google suddenly had an idea for creating a phone-based navigation software which will replace every other offering. The world is slowly converging towards a multi-purpose device for quite a while, and these multi-purpose devices are putting GPSes in the hands of people that in many cases never considered buying a GPS.
The real reason why these companies are taking a hit in their shares now is because Google announced it will offer for free something that these companies charge quality money for at the moment, being it in a standalone GPS or not.