Map-ready phones will not kill GPS devices


According to an Ovum analyst, in spite of a slew of new GPS apps for mobile phones, dedicated GPS devices are not likely to go extinct “any time soon”.

Tom, GPS device maker, released a GPS app for the iPhone two weeks ago, and HTC on Thursday announced a voice-guided GPS application from Sygic for its Magic device. Such apps turn mobile devices into GPS-enabled guides for drivers, competing directly with in-car GPS devices.

Jeremy Green, mobile practice leader at Ovum, said Compared to phones, which are multitasking as they provide the maps function, GPS devices are able to get a position-fix more quickly, as well as preserve battery life for longer. It is unlikely that dedicated devices be taken over by GPS-enabled mobiles, because GPS-only devices do the job better. The influx of GPS-enabled mobile phones may help push down the cost of dedicated devices, by driving up GPS chip volumes, he added. “There’s still plenty of [opportunity] left for [dedicated devices] in both the pre-installed and after-market space.” Furthermore, GPS device makers are dedicating resources to enhance their offerings, to differentiate them from the crowd, the analyst said. For example, fuel-saving routes.

Garmin, A spokesperson for GPS device maker, said: “Most phones contain cameras, but most people still own a dedicated digital camera because camera phones typically don’t include the hardware or software that is required to take high-quality photos that people desire. Touting the benefits of a dedicated mapping device, he said downloadable apps on other phones which rely on Internet-served maps provide a comparatively sluggish experience to the nuviphone’s onboard maps. Garmin has no plans to release a separate app for other mobile devices, given its commitment to the nuviphone device it built together with Asus. Drawing on that analogy, phones are not “ideally suited for navigation”, he said, citing small screen size and difficulty in inputing instructions on phones, as some barriers. Adding to that some phones may not be able to handle multitasking well, which will blunt the navigation experience if users have to suspend or shut down their mapping applications to use the phone’s other applications.

Compared to standalone GPS devices, phones have access to information about users’ schedules, and can combine that with Web access to perform functions traditional GPS gadgets cannot.

But phones have one advantage over GPS devices-a more intimate understanding of their owners, said Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google.

LBS will also open new advertising opportunities, making LBS “increasingly attractive” for providers, she noted.”It will be tough for a GPS device to just be a GPS… Locating where you are will become a piece of information you expect your phone to have, like [telling] the time. Location-ready phones will provide consumers with easy access to relevant local content, which will generate additional pull as consumer experience grows.”

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