Handset-based satnav set to boom

Analysis firm Berg Insight forecasts that shipments of handset-based personal navigation solutions in Europe and the US will reach 12m units by 2009. 
The year 2005 marked the first successful marriages of cellular and navigation technologies, resulting in shipments of around 1m on- and off-board systems; but handset based personal navigation solutions are expected to grow by 86% year-on-year.

“We are very optimistic about the market potential for mobile personal navigation services”, said Johan Fagerberg of Berg. “There is already a wide range of navigation solutions available for both smartphones and Java-enabled handsets.

Technologies like A-GPS, Indoor-GPS and Galileo will soon enable handset manufacturers to include satellite positioning in mass-market models for the European market. This will radically improve the market conditions for navigation and all other location-based services.”

Berg says Jentro, Route66 and TomTom were the top three providers of handset-based personal navigation solutions during 2005. Route66 and TomTom reinforced their market positions with on-board solutions for Symbian OS smartphones; thanks to a successful final quarter on the German market, Jentro was able to snatch the top spot with its off-board solution for Java-handsets.

Jentro is an interesting one, actually. It offers an ingenious Java-based off-board solution called activepilot which runs on more than 80 different mobile phones – and because it’s a Java app the roster includes inexpensive mass-market handsets as well as smartphones.

Currently Jentro sells mainly through partners in Germany, but it’s an ambitious company and we’d expect to see it over here soon.

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