DeCarta going strong; expects location-based ads to be big in 2011

Excerpts from a GPS World article by Kevin Dennehy:

With recent deals with Samsung and T-Mobile, deCarta has been very successful in capturing a piece of the burgeoning smartphone market. The company knows the smartphone market will continue to grow — as opposed to such standalone systems as portable navigation devices, said J. Kim Fennell, deCarta president and CEO.

“It’s definitely going to be in the smartphone space — and even feature phones — as opposed to PNDs. Our deals with Opera, Samsung, are indicative of a market where handset manufacturers, operators, and even browser companies want to provide maps,” Fennell said. “[This also includes] mobile local search and routes as a core component of their offering to end users — who now expect these capabilities to be there in their mobile service, and in many cases for free.”

The company is enabling Samsung’s Opera browser service navigation services. With that deal and another with T-Mobile in Europe, published reports say that the company could see $10 million in revenue in the next year.

“They are all separate deals. For Opera, we were selected to provide maps, mobile local search and routes on the Opera Mini Browser which today [includes more than] 60 million handsets,” he said. “We will also be coming out on Opera Mobile and desktop shortly thereafter. We will be the default ‘maps’ icon on the Opera home page much like you see ‘maps’ on an iPhone.

“With Samsung, we were selected over a year ago to develop all the Location APIs into their new Bada operating system that is now shipping with their new phones such as the Wave phone. Developers building apps in Bada are using deCarta maps, search and routing similar to the way an iPhone app developer would use the Apple MapKit SDK — except that we provide developers hundreds of more object classes to work with. So, the deCarta MapSearch app and our APIs will be launched in over 80 countries around the world this quarter.”

Jentro, a Germany-based company that recently closed, focused first on turn-by-turn navigation and then shifted to the connected PND market. Jentro differed from deCarta in that it did not have the benefit of a back-end geo-spatial server or a client in the PND space, Fennell said.

The company has increased its data architecture, platform tools for developers, and scalability, which has powered some of the largest LBS services over the years, including Google Maps for three years, and more than 20 mobile operators, he said.

Another market Fennell believes will have strong growth is location-based advertising. “It is inevitable — as inevitable as advertising on the PC web. The question becomes what apps will be paid and what apps will be free,” he said. “For free apps, the user will understand that they are either paying for it as part of their data plan to a mobile operator or they will see some small amount of mobile advertising. The mobile advertising will have to increasingly be viewed as content and provide some contextual value to the user. We think this is going to be very big in 2011″.

Note: deCarta’s clients include OnStar, Ford, ATX and INRIX.

Learn more about deCarta here.

Source: GPS World.

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