Smartphones, LBS revitalize GPS phones line

The popularity of smartphones and the emergence of new applications are expected to revive China?s GPS phone industry. The export sector, in particular, suffered a slight setback in past months. It has been beset with price, software and hardware limitations, because of which many suppliers experienced a decline in their revenue.

The line, however, has been gaining attention as more companies, attracted by recent technological advancements, move toward smartphones and away from the congested feature phones segment. Since the first half of 2008, makers in China offering smartphones have more than doubled in number. By 2014, 90 percent of these products sold worldwide will have GPS chipsets, according to ABI Research.

With their large screen, open-source platform and powerful CPU, smartphones have a natural capability to support GPS functions. They can easily display a digital map, support navigation software and process the large volume of data needed for accurate positioning and navigating. New designs from major suppliers, in fact, integrate GPS as a regular specification.

The latest location-based services are also expected to boost demand in the GPS handsets industry. A collaborative effort among telecom carriers, mobile phone makers and GPS chip providers has expanded LBS applications and increased demand for models that support these functions.

Among the services currently available are location search, advertisement and location-based reminder.

Further, the two main providers of GPS ICs for mobile phones, SiRF and U-blox, continue improving their chipsets and modules by enhancing the algorithm and antiinterference, and reducing power consumption.
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