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ABI: Mobile handsets to enter navigation markets

Posted: 15 Feb 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:portable navigation markets? personal navigation devices? in-car navigation?

Over the next years, mobile handsets will play an increasingly important role in portable navigation markets, with handset-based navigation devices reaching an annual sales volume of over 96 million units by 2012. This is according to the ABI Research report "Consumer Navigation Devices and Systems."

ABI observes that navigation device sales continue to outperform the industry's expectations and forecasts, with the 2007 holiday season illustrating that the U.S. market is quickly catching up to Europe in embracing navigation, particularly personal navigation devices (PNDs).

The PND market remains characterized by a high rate of innovation, including real-time connectivity, multimedia functionality, and community and social networking features, along with enhanced integration into the car environment. "But consolidation and fall-out is accelerating in light of recent announcements from Cobra and ViaMichelin, who intend to quit the standard PND market," says Dominique Bonte, ABI principal analyst.

Handset-based navigation will not challenge the PND form factor in the near future; and despite the relative success of off-board navigation in the United Stateswith over 4 million paying subscribersPNDs remain the most user-friendly in-car navigation device.

Handsets will complement, rather than displace, PNDs, with a number of users owning more than one navigation device, said ABI. Important barriers such as the lack of GPS handsets, especially in Europe (and the issue of indoor coverage), will have to be removed before handset-based location services can be adopted on a broader scale.

"While traditional, factory-installed in-car navigation systems remain expensive and are offered only as an option on mid- and high-end cars, their perfect integration into the car environment guarantees ease-of-use and safety," continues Bonte.

ABI Research expects penetration rates of factory-installed navigation systems in the United States and Europe to increase gradually to 30 percent by 2012, reaching an annual volume of over 10 million units.




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