Market research company iSuppli says 79.9% of mobile phones shipped in the last quarter of 2011 – 318.3 million devices – will include GPS functionality. That's up from 56.1% in the first quarter of 2009.
The company says smartphones are taking over from dedicated sat-nav devices as the major platform for navigation. By 2014, usage of navigation-equipped smartphones is expected to exceed that of personal navigation devices.
Dr Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli, said "The smart phone is the key product driving the technology industry today — and social networking services and applications spurred by GPS-related features are critical elements in the smart phone market today. This is illustrated by Google Inc.’s decision to make turn-by-turn navigation, LBS and mobile ads the central features in its bid to take on Apple in the smart phone market, and make up the central pillars of its strategy to increasingly monetize mobile search."