ABI: 9.5M Paid GPS Cellphone Users in 2009

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London - ABI Research estimates that the popularity of GPS on cellular phones will jump by nearly 50 percent next year in North America.

The research firm estimates the number of paying users of GPS on cellular phones in North America will climb from 9.5 million in 2009 to 14 million in 2010.

This compares with an estimated 17 million personal navigation devices (PNDs) that are expected to sell in North America this year, according to TomTom's prediction in March.

ABI Research stated earlier this month it expects that 26 million people worldwide will pay for GPS on cellular phones in 2010 based on smartphone growth.

Practice director Dominique Bonte said, "The most significant driver for the uptake of handset navigation is expected to come from the iPhone, following Apple's decision to finally enable turn-by-turn navigation on its latest 3.0 platform version." Software from AT&T/Telenav, and Networks In Motion is already available from the iPhone App Store, with Navigon and TomTom solutions expected soon."

One barrier to adoption however is that true turn-by-turn directions still carry high monthly subscription fees, typically amounting to $120 per year. 

TomTom and Navigon are expected to offer their apps for a flat fee to be announced.

Bonte said, "Free ad-funded navigation is one possible way forward."


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