...As Software Struggles To Keep Up

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Other popular units are running into problems when the hardware continues to work just fine, but software or repair support is discontinued. One example is the Lowrance Airmap 300, a circa-1998-vintage handheld GPS that has been "orphaned" by its manufacturer. A rebate program offers a cash incentive to owners to turn in their units and upgrade to the next generation, but not all owners are happy with that solution. However, technology might prove to be the cure to help prevent such troubles in the future. The Airmap 300 updates were achieved by ordering a new memory card from Lowrance, but newer hardware can be updated via downloads over the Internet. Still, the manufacturer has to be willing to invest in the continued support to write the updates, and if the computer-industry model prevails, owners may find themselves with little choice but to upgrade hardware to keep up with software. The Lowrance rebate program offers Airmap 300 owners a $100 rebate on the purchase of a new Airmap 500 (street price $500), $175 on an Airmap 1000 (street price $800), or $225 on an Airmap 2000C (street price $1,000). The Airmap 300 originally sold for $799.