GPS-Equipped Cell Phones on the Rise

TeleNav_GPS.jpgRecent analyst reports have indicated that GPS-equipped cell phones are on the rise. But as the UK’s Register Hardware reports, the idea that those sales are beginning to affect the portable GPS device market may be overblown, at least in its early stages.

“[People] only buy satnavs for one thing: the devices’ ability to steer you from one place to the next. People purchase [cell phones] because they boast all sorts of features, not just because there’s a GPS chip inside.”

In other words, while some people may forego a dedicated GPS device for the chip in their cell phone, many are buying those cell phones regardless—whereas consumers who buy satellite navigation devices specifically want that capability, and would miss out on some of the superior traffic routing and 3D views that they offer otherwise.

It’s not a bad argument, but we’re not entirely convinced. As the article states, “Personal Navigation Device (PND) shipments in EMEA fell from 4.8m during Q2 to 4.3m in the following quarter, while GPS-equipped [cell phone] shipments rose from 4.7m to 10.4m during the same period.” That’s a pretty big difference.