Handheld GPS devices will double in 2007


11 Sep 2007

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Public awareness, lower cost devices and new distribution channels will see consumer navigation devices grow by 50pc worldwide in 2007.

Western Europe is the largest regional market, according to IDC, followed by the US and then Asia-Pacific.

The Asia-Pacific region will see a surge in demand for the devices as the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will spark personal navigation device (PND) popularity in China.

Consumer interest in outdoor activities and fitness will likely contribute to growth for outdoor and fitness-focused GPS devices as well as marine products, which IDC says are expected to represent US$1.2 billion in revenues collectively by 2011.

While in-vehicle navigation solutions are currently growing at a slower pace than their PND relatives, IDC believes this segment will remain strong in many markets around the world as long as technology providers work more closely with auto manufacturers to introduce lower-cost solutions into future new model year designs.

The huge opportunities for the entire consumer navigation ecosystem has a number of second- and third-tier players such as LG, Navigon, and Dash, entering the market to get their piece of the pie.

IDC believes these new market players will create a shift in product differentiation from traditional hardware offerings to new forms of content and additional services, as vendors focus on total solutions instead of just devices.

“It’s clear that services will become an increasingly important part of the navigation picture going forward as these devices compete with other consumer devices such as mobile phones,” says Diana Hwang, research manager in charge of Mobility at IDC.

“IDC expects overall consumer navigation device growth to remain strong as GPS technology and additional services become integrated into a variety of product offerings affecting the way consumers live, play, and interact in the future,” Hwang added.

By John Kennedy