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GPS Consumer Penetration At 31%: Forrester

10/21/2009 02:48:38 PM Eastern

Cambridge, Mass. - Nearly a third of consumers already own some form of navigation system, said Forrester Research in a new report on smartphone usage.

Thirty one percent of North American adults say they own either a portable navigation device (PND) or in-car solution or mobile phone app, according to a mail-based survey of 5,600 people.

The study also found that while PND ownership grew at a steady rate of 8 percent this year over 2008, phone based solutions grew at six times that pace, or at a rate of 49 percent. Built-in car devices experienced a 3 percent growth rate in ownership over 2008, said the study.

The report concludes that "accelerating growth of phone-based navigation does not preclude continued success for PND makers like TomTom and Garmin.  Both manufacturers have recently introduced products that maintain a differentiated experience....other PND manufacturers should follow suit."

The aforementioned products include the TomTom XL 340S Live and Garmin nuvi 1690, said Forrester. Both PNDs offer cellular connections for accessing live traffic and other updates.

A separate study from In-Staton cellphones found that the most sought after upgrade features are digital cameras, GPS and speaker phones.   The study noted that interest in interfacing the mobile phone with other consumer electronics is limited, "but better interfaces with cars is much more interesting to consumers," said In-Stat. 

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