El Segundo, Calif. -- Smartphone proliferation is driving up sales of GPS-equipped cellphones, which will account for 79.9 percent of global cellphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 56.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009, iSuppli said.
In 2011's final quarter, 318.3 million cellphones will ship with embedded GPS, up from 187.8 million in the first quarter of 2009.
"The smartphone is the key product driving the technology industry today, and social-networking services and applications spurred by GPS-related features are critical elements in the smart phone market today," said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, iSuppli director and principal analyst. He pointed to Google's decision to make turn-by-turn navigation, location-based services, and mobile ads "the central features in its bid to take on Apple in the smart phone market." The efforts make up "the central pillars of [Google's] strategy to increasingly monetize mobile search," he said.
Smartphones, iSuppi noted, "will exceed portable navigation devices (PNDs) as the major platform for navigation." By 2014, usage of navigation-enabled smartphones will exceed PND usage, the research company contended.
With the addition of a gyroscope to the latest iPhone, iSuppli noted, an iPhone could be used for indoor navigation when combined with its GPS receiver, accelerometer and compass.
iSuppli also forecast increased penetration of embedded GPS in a range of consumer and compute electronic devices. In 2014, iSuppli forecasts that 18 percent of laptops and 42 percent of portable handheld videogame players will have embedded GPS.