Berg Insight writes that the number of mobile subscribers accessing maps and downloading routs using their mobile handsets in Europe and the U.S.A. is around 4 million. Over the next ten years the number of map subscribers is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 61% to reach 43 million users in 2012.
Big names in the mobile industry are gearing up for mobile phone navigation. Nokia launched its GPS-enabled N95 for the European market this year. The U.S. has evolved further with GPS being a standard in all CDMA-handsets. Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless have attracted millions of subscribers to navigation services. Google and Yahoo! are extending their existing search and map propositions with Mobile Web 2.0 applications.
Traditionally, Google mobile and non-mobile web surfing declines in the summer months as people go on vacation. (At least in North America). This year traffic on mobile devices utilizing Google has increased 35%. Mobile devices looking at Google Maps has increased as much as 50%. This appears to point to a trend, in which people use their mobile devices for information while taking time off from work. This shows how attached people are to such devices, when they are willing to take them along on vacation.
“I think this is sort of a sign that people are becoming savvier with their mobile devices, and that there are better devices” available for the Web, while away from computers, Mayer told reporters after a presentation to marketers at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in San Jose. “The technology curve is catching up,” she told reporters after the presentation. “The phones are just better.”
The number of Google searches done on mobile devices are tiny compared to those done on PCs, but the summer increase in North America shows that people are realizing the usefulness of mobile search engines. Maps and other information can enhance the vacation experience. Getting lost or visiting uninteresting places may become a thing of the past.
Berg Insight predicts that ad-funded services will account for an increasing share of the mobile navigation market. Local search applications can open the door to new ways for businesses to target consumers. MobileCrunch reported last month that more Americans are taking their mobile devices along on vacation to access map technology.