I believe the vast majority of mobile devices will have GPS capabilities in them over the coming months (maybe a couple of years). Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, I know. When a technology slides into the mainstream, there will be lots of frustrations in how devices exploit it.
Consider this scenario:
A friend wants to meet you at a bar. To get you there, several possibilities happen. One, Sally sends you the full address along with instructions on how to get there. Two, she sends you the address and the Google map link which allows you to create a travel plan based on wherever you are at the moment. Three, she just sends you the address and you drop it into Google Maps to figure out how to get there.
Enter GPS. I have a Blackberry 8800 which has GPS capabilities. I also pay for the Telenav application which, when given an address, will give you the turn by turn directions starting from where you are at. The application works great in the US and Canada.
As you look at the above scenario and look at the devices, you can see we have a big gap. When I land in LA, I'm supposed to be meeting some people at some place called Panera Bread in Marina Del Ray. It's on Lincoln blvd, I'm told. Just prior to boarding, I went online, fired up a search and got the actual street address, copy/paste into the Outlook appointment which sync' d with my Blackberry. When I land and get the rental car, I fire up the Telenav application, copy/paste from my Outlook appointment, and I'll be on my way.
Are you kidding me? Not exactly the high watermark of efficiency.
If you look at scheduling, for the most part (don't nit pick),the meeting requests that fly out of Google or Hotmail and land inside of Outlook, generally show up as properly formatted scheduling messages that calendaring applications just take in, process, and put results on your schedule. The V-card thing was supposed to do the same for contact managers.
We need a standard "package" that can be delivered and acted upon by my GPS applications. When you send me an email with an address of a place, either a smart tag or some such should flag it so that when that message hits my blackberry (or any mobile device with GPS/Mapping), I can just click or tap or right mouse, whatever, and the GPS gets passed that address and I'm off. Simple. It requires a standard set of APIs and a willingness of the vendors to make this work.
On my Blackberry, today, when a phone number is in an email message, the device is smart enough to allow me to dial up the number. There are menu features for "Map it" and "Driving Directions" when you have an address in the location field of you appointment. As I've pulled the battery out of my Blackberry to reset it on the three times I've tested this, I'd say there are bugs in this attempt at a solution.
In any event, there is an opportunity to get a common language/format, etc, that should work for everybody and allow these GPS devices to become super useful.
Since Al Gore already invented the Internet and Dave Winer did his part by inventing RSS, who will step up and fix all of this?