Nokia bridges the gap between mobile phones and automobiles, NAVTEQ cracks the African market, and more …

Nokia bridges the gap between mobile phones and automobiles, NAVTEQ cracks the African market, and more …

Nokia collaborated with the Consumer Electronics for Automotive working group while creating the technology and announced several key new partnerships at the Geneva Motor Show.

Nokia will team with Alpine Electronics to better integrate smartphone music and media services into in-car audio systems. Likewise, it will partner with Fiat to unite Fiat’s Blue&Me platform with Nokia’s smart phones.

“We are not here to play the game alone,” said Vesa Luiro, director automotive at Nokia and the project lead on “Terminal Mode,” in an interview with GPS Business News at the Geneva Motor Show. “This is a partnership game where we have really strong companies out there with existing consumers.”

Luiro added that Terminal Mode is a two-way street in which the car benefits from services on a smartphone and the smartphone benefits from information in the car. For instance, data on fuel and engine oil levels will be fed through location-based services on the phone, which will make it easy to find, say, the closest gas station with the cheapest gas. Similarly, when drivers turn on their windshield wipers, that activity will update real-time weather conditions for other drivers in the network.

Iridium and SkyBitz

Global mobile satellite provider Iridium Communications and remote asset tracking provider SkyBitz have partnered to create a two-way remote asset tracking and monitoring system. The system utilizes both SkyBitz’s Global Location System technology and Iridium’s 9602 satellite data transceiver. The resulting product is lighter, smaller, less expensive, and more accurate than other transceivers. The product will be marketed to truck fleets, cargo shippers, and oil, gas, and chemical transporters.

TeleNav Study

Big-Box retailers like Walmart and Target, as well as coffee hubs like Starbucks, are the most frequently searched-for destinations on mobile navigation applications and personal navigation devices (PNDs), a new study from GPS provider TeleNav reveals. The study is a compilation of TeleNav’s 2009 national GPS usage data. Other popular searches include Best Buy and Bank of America, foods like “Pizza” in Chicago and “Chinese” in New York, and where to find the cheapest fuel. The top five states as far as usage were Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, and Rhode Island.

Global PND Shipments

Global PND shipments decreased 5 percent in 2009, compared to healthy growth in 2007 and 2008, reveals a new report from Canalys. While the slowdown isn’t a surprise—after all, 2009 saw a global recession as well as the rise of free phone-based navigation services from the likes of Google—it highlights the challenges PND giants like Garmin and TomTom must negotiate in the years ahead. PND shipments had grown 17 percent in 2008. If PND makers want to recapture such growth, integrating features like real-time traffic and LBS services will be critical.

Point of Interest: China

China will host its first Satellite Navigation Conference in Beijing, May 19th through the 21st. The conference aims to generate enthusiasm for satellite navigation across sectors, from the academic community to private enterprises to government agencies. Representatives from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peking University, the Ministries of Education and Transport, the Industrial Development Bureau, and China’s second-generation Satellite Navigation System will take part in the conference.

The Apps Rush

Mobile apps have flowered into a booming industry in 2009, an industry that will be worth $17.5 billion by 2012, according to a new report by Chetan Sharma Consulting. GetJar, the world’s second largest app store behind the Apple App Store, commissioned the report, which forecasts that usage of apps will continue to grow on both smart phones and lower-end feature phones. Revenue growth will skyrocket in Europe from $1.5 billion in 2009 to $8.5 billion in 2012, the report suggests, while the US market will experience an increase from $2.1 billion to $6.7 billion.

NAVTEQ

NAVTEQ released a new dataset of maps for Kenya and Nigeria. The Nigerian map puts 140,000 kilometers of roads and 17,000 viewpoints on the digital grid, while the Kenyan map illuminates 60,000 kilometers of roads and 6,000 viewpoints. Both datasets are so-called “intermediate maps” that aim to introduce mobile navigation to emerging markets.

NAVTEQ also ventured southward to South Africa, where it announced a partnership with the eco-destination mapping company Tracks4Africa. The two will partner to create a premium off-road and outdoor guide that will consist of more than 90,000 kilometers of roads in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland, plus 40,000 points of interest such as scenic viewpoints and eco-lodges.

"With this agreement, NAVTEQ and Tracks4Africa have set the base for a highly competitive and relevant product for the Southern Africa market," says Alastair Protheroe, director Middle East and Africa map and content products from NAVTEQ. "The offering, Tracks4Africa Off-Road Guide, combines the high quality map data and content from NAVTEQ with the unique outdoor content from Tracks4Africa."

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.


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