I’ve been using Garmin products for many years, having started with an automobile Nuvi. Garmin make excellent hardware but as a software company they really suck. Garmin’s latest iteration of its software update manager, Garmin Express, is the most recent demonstration of the company’s ineptitude and inability to listen to its consumers.
Ask anyone who owns a Garmin product and they will tell you that one key to happiness is keeping the firmware and maps up-to-date. I learned that the hard way with my Nuvi and, when I upgraded to the Zumo for my motorcycle, I swore I would always stay on top of the software. To that end, I purchased a Lifetime Map update subscription. The premise was simple enough: the Updater software would alert you when a new map was available, you’d tether your GPS to your computer and the map would be downloaded to either your GPS, the computer or both.
The ability to download the map to the GPS and computer is invaluable. I’m one of those users (suckers) who relies on Garmin Basecamp for route planning. It’s clunky and looks like it was developed by a junior high school kid but it gets the job done. Having the map accessible to Basecamp while route planning is essential and in most instances I do not want to tether the Zumo to the computer just to draw a route or add some waypoints. Therefore, having the map loaded onto the computer (in addition to the Zumo) was a value-add from my perspective.
I bet you see where this is going! With Garmin Express, the Garmin overlords have seen fit to remove the ability to load the map onto the computer. In other words, if you want to plan a route, you MUST tether the GPS to the computer for Basecamp to “see” the map. Way to Go Garmin. Remove valuable functionality from your software. Frustrate users.
It gets better. The most recent map update using the new Express updater installed nothing on my Zumo. Nothing. No map. Yet the updater tells me that my Zumo is up-to-date, despite the fact that the Zumo shows no maps installed.
This is just the latest in a series of missteps by Garmin. It seems every time they update something, they cripple some companion feature that users found helpful. And it is not like there is an abundance of information about how to use the products to begin with. For the most part, users are left to figure out things on their own through trial and error or trolling message boards for help from fellow users.
Please get your shit together, Garmin. Start listening to your users. Stop eliminating features that people rely on in an attempt to “dumb down” the products. Optimize (and here I mean fix) your existing products before releasing new ones.
Basecamp is a mediocre product. It could be great with a little effort at improving the Search function and mapping tools. Instead of reinventing the updating software every 20 months, how about sticking with one platform and improving on it or, even better, leaving well enough alone.
If it aint broke, don’t fix it!