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Reports forecast GPS proliferation

Nov 9, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Low-cost GPS chipsets will increasingly be integrated into mobile devices, according to reports just released by two major market research firms. While apparently disagreeing on the exact numbers, both ABI Research and In-Stat forecast extremely strong growth between now and 2011.

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In its statement, ABI Research said personal navigation devices (PNDs) will grow to a global sales volume of more than 100 million units by 2011. While dedicated PNDs will remain the preferred form-factor for use in cars, GPS will increasingly be an expected ingredient in handsets, portable media players (PMPs), ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), and other mobile devices, according to the company.

ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte stated, “Handset-based navigation will be stimulated by convergence trends and technological advances in low-cost GPS-receiver integration. It will be a catalyst for the uptake of location-based services such as search, friend finder and tracking features.”

Driven by the involvement of wireless carriers, handset-based GPS will grow strongly in North America, reaching a sales volume of 21 million units by 2012, according to ABI Research. The analyst firm's report adds that while Europe is the strongest present-day market for GPS, strong growth is expected in developing countries such as China and India. By 2012, more navigation systems are expected to ship in Asia-Pacific than in any other region.

ABI Research says that increasing price pressure and levels of competition will result in consolidation, citing the acquisition of digital map providers Navteq and Tele Atlas as an example. Navigation vendors will need to aggregate their user communities under strong brands, in order to take advantage of the potential of user-generated map and POI (point of interest) content, the firm's report notes.

In its separate report, In-Stat reaches very similar overall conclusions, though it adds digital cameras and even handheld games to the mix of devices expected to include GPS. Even more bullish on the numbers, In-Stat predicts that “Sales of mobile devices with integrated GPS [will] grow from 180 million units in 2007 to 720 million units in 2011.”

In-Stat analyst Gemma Tedesco stated, “Although there are external GPS receivers available for mobile PCs, PDAs, smartphones, digital cameras, handheld games, and other portable devices, volumes for these applications have been limited. Integration of GPS within these products will allow for more widespread use of GPS, and will spur much greater GPS chipset shipment volumes.”

According to In-Stat, GPS chipset pricing will erode rapidly. Nonetheless, this will be offset by extremely high volumes, boosting revenue from $520 million in 2006 to more than $1.3 billion in 2011.

In-Stat reports that Qualcomm currently dominates the cellular handset market with its “integrated” GPS solution, while SiRF dominates the PND space. “TI and Broadcom, with their cellular chipset and in-house GPS solutions, promise to be solid competitors,” the report says.

More details

More information, perhaps including an explanation of the methodologies that led to different numeric forecasts, is available to purchasers of these two analysts' reports.

ABI Research's 91-page report, whose price was not released, is called “Consumer Navigation Devices and Systems.” Further specifics, including a listing of sections, tables, and companies featured, is available on the company's website, here.

In-Stat's 57-page report, “GPS Chips in Mobile Devices,” is priced at $3,495. Further specifics, again including a listing of sections, tables, and companies featured, is available on the company's website, here.

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