smartphones killing GPS navigation market

I guess we really should’ve said “GPS enabled smartphones are taking considerable market share from standalone GPS navigation makers” but a sensational title is always more fun. But either way future is not looking great for GPS navigation manufacturers. According to a study done by a Swedish research company (Berg Insight) standalone GPS navigation systems are bound to become obsolete as their functions are now part of most smartphones or just embedded into vehicles’ dashboard. Take for example these latest smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Desire Z, G2 Touch and many others you can find which are as capable as any other standalone systems.

Now that Nokia and Google are giving the technology away for free, GPS navigation makers will have to come up with ways to make their products standout or offer functionality that is not covered by smartphones. We can already see some change as Garmin and TomTom now offer real time traffic information, and working with vehicle manufacturers to embed their technology into vehicles at the factory.

… the number of personal navigation devices shipped globally will peak in 2011 at 42 million, up from 40 million this year, before beginning a gradual, but inexorable decline…

However CEO’s from navigation makers are still hopeful arguing that people are still willing to pay extra for high end specialized devices. I guess Garmin is in the best position here as they’ve already branched into other markets bringing in 1/3 of their sales from marine, aerial, and fitness related GPS devices.


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