Why Garmin Mobile PC Sucks
I love GMPC. It's a nice and full featured product at a reasonble price. I was very happy when Garmin released not only a version that comes with their GPS antenna (more on why that actually sucks in a minute) but a software only version that can be used with an NMEA GPS device that many of us already own.
I've used GMPC for awhile but am now moving to a different computer system. The hard disk on the old one crashed and it was kind of old and clunky anyhow, so I decided to change to using a new Mac Mini with a Windows installation in Parallels.
When I went to enter my product key into GMPC during installation, I got an error telling me that the product key was already in use. A little Googling reveals that Garmin's policy for the software use is tied to your PC, not to a single use!!
I called Garmin and the technician informed me that indeed their 'policy' is that the software is tied to the PC rather than the user. As a 'courtesy' he would reset the product key so I could use it. When I asked him about what happens if the motherboard in the computer blows up, he repeated that he would reset it this time as a courtesy but that if I called later to change it that it might be more difficult.
I dropped it since he reset the key. But I am definitely steamed about this. I paid for the software. I'm only using it in a single instance, just for me. It's not installed in 3 cars for 3 drivers. It's just me.
If the computer quits in the future or even if the hard disk dies, I may or may not be able to transfer my software. In effect, there is a "hardware bomb" that Garmin has set that will eventually go off.
As for the bundled product with the Garmin antenna, one may accidentally buy this package thinking that they will get both nav and an antenna that they can use with their car PC, only to find out that the Garmin antenna does not work and play well with others and you cannot substitute an NMEA antenna for a Garmin antenna if you buy the bundled package.
That also sucks.
Shame on you, Garmin. I guess I should have bought the iGuidance package instead. Don't worry, when my hardware blows up I'll do just that, or I'll be happily using online maps on my iPhone. I'll definitely be avoiding Garmin in the future.