I Don’t Quite Understand the Purpose of GPS in Notebooks

Don’t get me wrong here. I love GPS (Global Positioning System): the satellite constellation that allows one to determine their location pretty much anywhere in the world. To think that the government opened up a useful military technology that can be used freely by anyone, for the good of the public, is quite awesome, and something that I frequently take advantage of with several small devices with integrated GPS — but what use does GPS have in notebooks?Image credit Amy Guth @ FlickrRecently we let you know that the Sony VAIO X ultra-portable notebook is now official, and it includes built-in GPS. The VAIO X definitely isn’t the first though, there have been several past netbooks and notebooks that feature GPS apparently with the intention of providing turn-by-turn directions for users. But is this even practical?

I’m not sure about you, but I certainly wouldn’t bring a Sony VAIO X, or other notebook in to the car and set it on my dashboard for navigation. Not only would this be dangerous to the notebook without rigging up some sort of mounting solution (for which I don’t believe there is any official offering), but it is dangerous to have so much of your windshield taken up by such a screen. Is this how companies are intending these GPS-equipped notebooks to be used?

I really can’t even brainstorm any other semi-useful scenarios for including GPS in a notebook. I’m doubting that you’ll be taking an expensive notebook with you out geocaching, and I doubt companies are doing this for the wardriving community…. But how about just finding your way around a new city? Again, notebooks aren’t exactly designed to be used while walking around, and one would able to use a simple and free service like Google Maps or Bing Maps, which both offer methods of detecting your location within a reasonable radius, without the use of GPS.

Seems to me that GPS is more of marketing feature, so that companies can stick another bullet point the box and charge more, rater than a practical inclusion.

Is there anyone out there with an actual use that justifies GPS hardware in a notebook? Let us know in the comments.

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