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Strong growth seen in Asia handset navigation

Posted: 08 Jul 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:navigation? handset? GPS?

ABI Research forecasts that the number of paying handset-based turn-by-turn navigation users will increase to 26 million by the end of 2010, with Asia Pacific expected to have the strongest growth. This is in contrast with continuing decline of sales of personal navigation devices and in-dash navigation devices.

This trend is seen in the rush of navigation software developers to port their solutions to as many new platforms as possible, such as Android, the new Palm webOS , and the iPhone. ABI's Dominique Bonte said that "The most significant driver for the uptake of handset navigation is expected to come from the iPhone, following Apple's decision to finally enable turn-by-turn navigation on its latest 3.0 platform version." Software from TomTom, Sygic, AT&T and Networks In Motion is already available from the iPhone App Store, with Navigon's solution expected soon.

Another approach is the bundling of navigation software with the phones by the carriers and handset manufacturers. This is being done by Verizon/NIM, AT&T/Telenav, Vodafone/Telmap LG/Appello, HTC/ALK Technologies and Samsung/Route 66. Nokia and Vodafone have respectively opted to acquire navigation providers Gate5 and Wayfinder, allowing tighter integration of navigation and LBS services into their portfolios.

Bonte cautioned that "High monthly subscription fees and data roaming costs will need to be addressed for off-board navigation on handsets to reach high penetration levels." Free ad-funded navigation is one possible way forward with Locationet's Amaze solution powering Technocom's SpotOn GPS platform, Huawei's new GPS phones, and Bouygues' free navigation offer in France.

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