World News: The future is bright for portable nav market

World News: The future is bright for portable nav market

Mobile phone-based navigation is remaking the GPS market, says TRG.

While Garmin and TomTom remain the worldwide market leaders for PNDs today, mobile phone makers Nokia, Motorola, LG and Samsung are expected to lead the way in the near future.

Telematics Research Group says this will happen as the worldwide portable navigation market grows from 50 million units in 2007 to more than 500 million units in 2015.

The change in market leadership derives from the increasing importance of connectivity. Wireless connectivity, either to the Internet or the cellular network, is opening up new applications and services by bringing together accurate location-based data with advanced POI data including pricing, inventory and user-generated content such as ratings of local businesses.

TRG estimates that 30 million dedicated PNDs and about 20 million navigation-enabled mobile phones were sold last year. Both segments will grow rapidly over the next few years, but navigation-enabled mobile phones will start outselling dedicated PNDs next year.

TRG projects the combined segments will reach total annual sales of more than 220 million by the end of 2012, and will likely exceed 500 million units by the end of 2015.

Estimated nav device sales: Company
2015 TomTom
180m+ Garmin
70m+ Mitac
70m+ Nokia
60m+ Mio / Navman
25m+ Others

“In the years to come navigation-enabled mobile phones will be used for auto navigation, pedestrian navigation and many other types of location-based services,” says Dr Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for TRG. “This opens up a new world of services and capabilities.”

The pieces are in place and the players are making their moves. Recent acquisitions by TomTom and Nokia point the way toward the coming battle for the GPS consumer. Required for success in the GPS market of the future will be connectivity, inexpensive maps and rich POI content – addresses alone will not be enough.

Garmin and TomTom are adding connectivity to their devices, and mobile phone makers are adding maps. Juliussen says that a large volume market for inexpensive, dedicated navigation devices will live on past 2008, but survival for TomTom and Garmin may mean finding a way to compete for smartphone users.

“Dedicated PNDs are mobile devices optimised for navigation, while mobile phones with navigation are optimised for communications, which gives them an advantage in the emerging new world order for navigation,” concludes Juliussen.

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