It will take several years before GPS becomes widespread in mid- and low-end handsets in Europe and Asia. The absence of widespread GPS availability in non-smartphone handsets has opened the door for alternative positioning technologies such as Wi-Fi and Cell-ID, says ABI Research.
They provide third-party developers with a much larger addressable handset market for low accuracy LBS applications such as local search, networking or advertising.
Moreover, positioning based on Cell-ID and/or Wi-Fi is increasingly offered for free on development platforms such as Google Maps, Android and Nokia’s recently announced Widget-based Maps environment. Alternative positioning technologies also provide the added advantage of improved indoor coverage.