Thursday, November 01, 2007

The year of mobile maps?

For years, people have been predicting a world of location-based services thanks to a proliferation of GPS embedded in mobile systems. Maybe it will finally happen in 2008.

One of my colleagues over at the Automotive DesignLine notes that GPS is on a rapid rise in cars. And today iSuppli Corp. claims we are just past the start of the hockey stick ramp for GPS in cellphones.

Well, maybe. The FCC took a go-slow approach to its E911 mandate once seen as a driver for GPS in cellphones, and most handset makers used triangulation to save the costs of a full GPS implementation. But Qualcomm has been pushing hard on GPS since 2000 and Sirf Technology convened a summit on location services recently.

So maybe this is about to happen. Or maybe not. I know friends with their new iPhones have been particularly pleased about how that handset helps them access Mapquest on the road…so maybe handsets with real Internet access will supplant GPS phones before this trend really takes off. I vote for the latter. Why recreate something that's already working?

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