Navigation devices at home in Asia

Device connectivity and function integration lead to a new wave of acceptance

Lower-priced personal navigation devices (PNDs) and GPS-enabled handsets helped the Asian navigation market to prosper in 2007, and total shipments topped 39 million for the year. That figure is expected to exceed 185 million in 2012, according to a forecast by ABI Research.

Research analyst Wang Tao said: "While buyers in regional Asian markets show distinct preferences in the kinds of devices they adopt, our research suggests that device connectivity and the integration of several functions will provide the best penetration as these markets evolve in the next five years".

In 2007, PND and GPS-enabled handset markets performed well, while in-car navigation device markets maintained stable growth. A few Japanese companies such as Sanyo, Clarion, and Alpine launched PND production in Japan, and for the first time PNDs made inroads in the Japanese navigation market, achieving 700,000 shipments. With location-based services now deployed in Korea and China, GPS-enabled handsets are forecast to maintain a 137 per cent compound annual growth rate in China and a 39.4 per cent CAGR in Korea over the next five years.

After a long stagnant period, the Chinese navigation market began to boom in 2007, with more than 1.5 million shipments. "Lower prices are key to success in China's navigation market," noted Wang Tao. "Most Chinese consumers prefer devices that cost less than $US350".

Without entertainment features, navigation devices are going to integrate more functions, such as voice recognition and driving assistance. "Navigation devices are not just navigation devices any more: the introduction of new technologies will help lower-priced competitors to differentiate themselves," said Wang Tao. Navigation devices in Japan have been focused on navigation, infotainment and real-time information. But over time, driver assistance functionality and interactivity will become the major differentiators in the Japanese market.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report.

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