Mobile downloads are forecast to soar

Mobile app downloads are forecast to soar from 10.7 billion in 2010 to 182.7 billion in 2015, according to a new forecast from International Data Corporation. The research firm also forecasts an impending shift away from the current, near-total reliance upon initial app download purchases as the primary focus of app monetization to a rapidly growing focus on in-app purchasing to fund business models. This shift is most evident in the free app category, where in-app purchases allow users to buy a more functional version of the app or to turn on additional features.

TomTom published a profit warning suggesting that the company’s total profits in 2011 would be roughly half the size of its 2010 profits. The company attributed the downturn to consumers opting for entry-level products and competition from smartphones. The size of the European PND market is expected to decline 10 percent this year, while the North American PND market is forecasted to plunge 30 percent. The company’s shares crashed in the wake of the announcement, losing an estimated €325.7 million in market value. TomTom did not issue comments along with its full year outlook update.

TomTom also released version 1.8 of its TomTom App for iPhone in the US, which includes TomTom HD Traffic compatibility. TomTom HD Traffic provides updates every two minutes on traffic jams and accidents to help drivers avoid delays and find the fastest routes. The service was made available to European drivers in 2010 and is now available for US drivers for an in-app price of $19.99. The app also includes a new feature called multi-stop routes, which lets drivers add up to five stop-off points when planning a trip.

Shanghai OnStar Telematics launched its mobile application for subscribers across China. The app lets drivers use their smartphones like smart keys. They can unlock and lock their cars, sound their horns, and flash their lights. In addition, they can check mileage, fuel level, and tire pressure. Drivers of select 2011 models can use the app to remote start their vehicles. OnStar subscribers can download the app for free.

Intel and Huizhou Foryou General Electronics signed a strategic cooperation agreement for the joint development of next generation in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems based on the Intel Atom processor. Future systems will feature leading intelligent applications like voice control, 3D real-time GPS navigation and Internet access, and support for concurrent applications on multiple screens. Foryou IVI products based on the Intel Atom processor will target both aftermarket and before-market applications.

Toyota introduced an onboard navigation system compatible with the vehicle-infrastructure cooperative Driving Safety Support System. The system provides audio and visual warnings to drivers with the goal of reducing traffic accidents through the use of Intelligent Transport Systems. The five main features of the system are a red light warning, stop sign warning, stationary vehicle ahead notification, blind corner vehicle presence notification, and green light advance notification. The system is scheduled for launch by the Japanese National Police Agency in Japan in July.

Tracks4Africa announced a cooperation agreement with iGO My way Navigation. Tracks4Africa provides travelers with up-to-date maps for traversing Africa. iGO My way enables offline navigation on a variety of platforms for the automotive, personal navigation, and wireless industries. The companies plan to integrate Tracks4Africa mapping data into iGo’s navigation software. The aim is to produce a leading content and navigation solution that can be integrated into aftermarket infotainment units for Planet Electronics, a distributor with a network across Africa.

NAVTEQ unveiled a new Europe-based offering, Postal Code Boundaries that enables effective territorial comparison and analysis in a range of enterprise and GIS applications. Typical use cases for Postal Code Boundaries include geomarketing analysis; site selection for retail and commercial development; risk analysis for insurance underwriting and disaster response; and managing land use, zoning, conservation, and resource exploration. The product is currently available in eight European countries, including Germany, France, and Switzerland. NAVTEQ plans to expand to most of Europe by the end of 2011, followed by further expansion into the Middle East and Africa during 2012. “There is a growing interest in geo-analysis for a vast range of industries, and a postal code is the main boundary definition used in GIS applications around the world,” said Frank Pauli, vice president EMEA map and content products, NAVTEQ. “This is a natural extension to our already robust portfolio of enterprise content in Europe.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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