The emergence of the smartphone has helped pave the way for the steady adoption of navigation and location based services (LBS), with an increasing number of handsets integrating global-positioning chips into its hardware.
If a report from iSuppli is to be believed, GPS technology within handsets is set to explode in the coming years, with almost 318 million units incorporating GPS functionality by the end of 2011, a rise of over 131 million units from Q1 2009.
The handsets will equate to 79.9% of cell phones shipped in that time, rising from 56.1% in Q1 of 2009, the rise nearly entirely driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones.
“The smart phone is the key product driving the technology industry today—and social networking services and applications spurred by GPS-related features are critical elements in the smart phone market today,” said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli. “This is illustrated by Google Inc.’s decision to make turn-by-turn navigation, LBS and mobile ads the central features in its bid to take on Apple in the smart phone market, and make up the central pillars of its strategy to increasingly monetize mobile search.”
Interestingly, iSuppli recognises that smartphones are starting to eat into a market previously dominated by Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs), estimating that navigation-enabled smartphones will exceed PNDs by 2014.
On a personal note, I agree. I sold my TomTom over a year ago and have used apps on my iPhone for navigation. They work just as well and you have the added advantage of real-time updates and the fact it doubles as a phone when in use. This is perhaps the reason why companies such as Garmin are beginning to enter the cell phone market.