Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry Encouraging GPS Smartphone Growth

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2009-07-31 Print this article Print

Worldwide GPS smartphone shipments are expected to grow by 34 percent this year, compared to 2008 numbers, says a new report from Strategy Analytics. Mobile navigation services from Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion are a major contributing factor.

GPS smartphone adoption is on the rise, according to a July 29 report from Strategy Analytics.
Worldwide shipments of GPS-equipped smartphones are expected to increase by 34 percent this year, compared to 2008 numbers, which would boost the number of units shipped from 57 million units to 77 million units at the year's close.

The main drivers of this growth, says the researcher, are widespread consumer acceptance of portable navigation devices in the United States and Europe, and an increased presence of mapping applications from popular mobile vendors.

Neil Mawston, wireless director of Strategy Analytics, commented in the statement, "Two key factors are fueling the adoption of GPS smartphones. First, there is widespread consumer acceptance of portable in-vehicle navigation devices from companies such as TomTom and Garmin Europe and the United States."

Second, he said, "mobile navigation services are improving. There is an increasing presence of mapping applications among major smartphone vendors, such as Nokia Maps, Apple Google Maps and BlackBerry Maps."

In a separate report on July 30, Strategy Analytics additionally estimated that overall global handset shipments fell by 8 percent in the second quarter of 2009, which was a slower decline than the previous quarter and hinted toward a stabilization of the market.

Nonetheless, "GPS smartphones, such as the Nokia N97 and Apple iPhone, are a high-growth segment that continues to expand even during the current, tough economic times," explained analyst Joanne Blight, the author of the report, in a statement.

On June 8, at the Worldwide Developers Conference where Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS, TomTom and Apple also announced they'd teamed to create a TomTom navigation app for the iPhone, as well as a TomTom car kit. The kit is said to offer a dock, enhanced GPS performance and, among other features, in-car iPhone charging. 

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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