GPS is about to hit mobile phones in a big way, especially in Europe, experts say. Canalys, a research company, found that 12 million GPS devices changed hands from supplier to consumer in the first three quarters of 2006. Canalys expects that number to hit 28 million this year.
Consumers in Japan and the U.S. are already familiar with the technology but not so much in mobile phones. They see GPS moreso in car units, some of which can be detached and become portable, guiding you on foot the same way they guided you in the car. But we’re talking about mobile phones here, and this year is expected to be the first of a series of years in which GPS-enabled mobiles flood the market.
The reasons for that are several, but the main two are these: Increased awareness that GPS can be used to find destinations like restaurants and points of interests, not just point the way to someone in trouble; and greater cross-platform compatibility with GPS systems in the first place. Europe and Oceania, for instance, have GSM networks that wouldn’t be able to process the CDMA-standard devices that are common in the U.S. and Japan.
One final assist goes to AGPS, which is assisted-GPS and is a technology fresh off the shelf that helps eliminate lag times that are so common with satellite-searching.
As all of these enhancements and adjustments are incorporated and awareness of utility grows, the widespread use of GPS-enabled mobiles will skyrocket, analysts say, adding that that skyrocketing will start in 2007.