Global Economics


Competition from smartphones will likely force navigation device makers to offer new services such as pay-as-you-go, traffic info, and parking-space availability

The GPS market as we know it is set for a shake-up with pay-as-you-go mobile offerings and high-end services gearing up to put the squeeze on traditional big names such as Garmin and TomTom.

According to a recent report by research company Strategy Analytics, there will be around 16 million GPS-enabled smart phones shipped worldwide in 2010 - around one-quarter of the total devices for portable navigation.

The analyst house also predicts sat-nav companies will be forced to dream up new innovative services, faced with approaching penetration of the market for low-cost, basic map-based offerings.

Research found 60 per cent of drivers only travel into unfamiliar areas five per cent of the time, while the small percentage of travellers that regularly take their vehicle into new territory tend to have invested already in low-cost navigation gadgets.

The next-generation of in-car sat-nav kit will need to include additional goodies to keep drivers buying - including maps linked to location-based services such as traffic information or parking space availability - or offer a pay-as-you-go type product, a potential avenue for mobile providers to tap.

However, while in the future mobile GPS will see millions of units shifted, dedicated portable devices will still rule the market. According to Strategy Analytics, 42.4 million navigation devices will be shipped in 2010.

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