GPS-enabled handsets will bypass the economic recession, according to analysts at ABI Research.
A study by the market research firm found that GPS-enabled phones are expected to see shipments increase to 240 million units this year, up 6.4% compared to 2008.
As such, GPS shipments will buck the trend of declining handset sales – predicted to fall globally between 4% and 5% this year.
The strong performance of GPS handsets will be driven by the ongoing demand for feature-rich smartphones.
Demand for smartphones – including the Apple iPhone, Blackberry devices, and Google’s G1 – is projected to increase at 19% per year until 2014.
George Perros, a senior analyst at ABI Research, said: “Falling component prices and increasing consumer awareness of handset location capabilities will keep demand for GPS-enabled handsets healthy, in spite of the slumping global economic picture.”
The current trend of developing open source operating systems for mobiles, such as Google’s Android, will also encourage GPS growth, ABI said, because developers are creating their own location-based software.
“We are approaching the point where location awareness will be synonymous with smart devices, a point where personal navigation, social spatial knowledge, and location-specific contextual information will be assumed handset capabilities,” Perros concluded.