While PNDs and in-dash navigation device sales continue to suffer from the economic recession, handset-based turn-by-turn navigation is boosted by the rapidly growing smartphone segment.
ABI Research expects the number of paying handset-based turn-by-turn navigation users to increase to 26 million by the end of 2010 with the Asia-Pacific region experiencing the strongest growth.
In the wake of a continuous stream of eye-catching touchscreen smartphone launches, navigation software developers are rushing to port their solutions to as many new platforms as possible, such as Android (ALK, Telenav) and the new Palm webOS (Telenav).
While application stores are expected to become an important channel for the distribution of navigation software, many carriers and handset manufacturers prefer to pre-install or bundle navigation software with their phones and offer plans based on strategic partnerships with navigation developers.
Examples include Verizon/NIM, AT&T/Telenav, Vodafone/Telmap LG/Appello, HTC/ALK Technologies, and Samsung/Route 66. Market leaders Nokia and Vodafone have respectively opted to acquire navigation providers Gate5 and Wayfinder, allowing tighter integration of navigation and LBS services into their portfolios. Both approaches often coexist.