Demand for personal navigation devices is expected to intensify, leading to global sales of more than 100 million units by 2011, analysts predict.
ABI Research forecasts that dedicated devices will remain the preferred form factor for use in cars, but will be complemented by handheld systems for pedestrian navigation.
New form factors such as portable media players, ultra mobile PCs, internet tablets and mobile internet devices will also appear.
"Handset-based navigation will be stimulated by convergence trends and technological advances in low-cost GPS receiver integration, and improved indoor coverage," said ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte.
"Off-board handset-based navigation will grow strongly in North America, reaching a sales volume of 21 million units by 2012 driven by the involvement of cellular carriers.
"This will be a catalyst for the uptake of location-based services such as search, friend-finder and tracking features."
Europe is the leading navigation market, but strong growth is expected in developing countries such as China and India. By 2012 more navigation systems will ship in Asia-Pacific than in any other region, according to the research.
ABI predicts that competition and price pressure will result in continued consolidation and vertical integration, as evidenced by Nokia's acquisition of Navteq and the potential acquisition of Tele Atlas by TomTom or Garmin.
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