I just got wind that indeed the Wisconsin Lakemaster Chip will be updated and expected out in Feb 2014. I post this because it is Lakemasters policy to only let those fishing to know this after they are released and I sent them a detailed message on why I wanted to know and how I as a person buying a complete system would be very disappointed if I purchase all new equipment and have it "outdated" before I even hit the water. Well it is now basically outdated... And the boat isn't even delivered yet nor is all the equipment.
Problem as I see it:
You end up with dealers with stock of product that is out dated, customers who purchase and want to return after finding out the card they bought to be ready for the season is outdated and no 'upgrade' path other then buying a new map card. In talking to the dealer he did tell me it was frustrating as he ordered up for the holidays and now was marking down because he didn't want to have upset customers that they purchased a new card for Xmas by the spouse and then when they go to get boat ready for spring find out the "new" card now isn't new anymore.
Granted the card is $125 and they tell you what lakes are covered, but in this world of online software and Lakemaster / humminbird being owned by the same company and the humminbird units can read and write to the card... I offered a option to "update" the humminbird and lock the card into the unit(s) that are registered to you. This could upset dealers but you could purchase the "upgrade" from a dealer and keep them in the mark-up stream. Dealers could offer "free upgrade" on old stock to sell them at the same new price for all unsold units and if purchase is within the same x months of a new release allow a free or minimal upgrade charge. I see nearly everyone winning on this and you could have a yearly subscription. What do others think? I would prefer not to have a required fee to use your purchased card for each year as many users such as myself don't fish enough to justify what I am purchasing already let alone needing to spend money each year to use what I already have.