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Mobile Mapping and Navigation Applications

According to the latest market study by In-Stat, 2007 is shaping up to be the year that mapping and navigation applications truly arrive on mobile handsets.

For approximately $10 per month, handset navigation offers similar, if not superior, functionality to Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs), at a lower price, the high-tech market research firm says.

"With a clear, targeted business strategy that focuses on capturing potential PND buyers, wireless service providers have an opportunity to capture market share from PND manufacturers," says Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat analyst.

I recall that a prior U.S. market study, performed by another research company, determined that personal navigation capabilities was the most requested feature desired by consumers who were considering switching mobile phone service providers, and upgrading to a new handset.

Ironically, of all the wireless mobile service provider direct-mail marketing materials that I've received recently, I don't recall that this most-requested capability was mentioned in the offer. Typical offer messaging still focuses on handset price incentives, additional voice minute allowances, and/or an earlier time when evening (off-peak) rates apply.

In-Stat's research also found the following:

- The market for PNDs will reach 56 million units worldwide by 2011, up from 14 million in 2006.

- Market drivers include falling price points, enhanced features, stronger consumer awareness of PNDs, and increased marketing and promotion by leading PND manufacturers.

- In 2006, PND manufacturers significantly reduced prices, with entry models priced under $200.

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