The new report, titled "GPS-Enabled Handsets," said GPS-enabled phones are expected to hit 240 million units in 2009, an increase of about 6.4% from 2008. Analysts, cell phone companies, and industry watchers expect the overall mobile phone market to decline 4% to 8%.
"As the quality of positioning technology in handsets improves and the cost of including it declines, GPS location technology will approach the status of a standard device feature," said senior analyst George Perros in a statement. "We are approaching the point where location awareness will be synonymous with smart devices, a point where personal navigation, social spatial knowledge, and location-specific contextual information will be assumed handset capabilities."
High-profile handsets like Apple's iPhone 3G, Google (NSDQ: GOOG)'s T-Mobile G1, Research In Motion (NSDQ: RIMM)'s BlackBerry Bold and Storm, Palm's Pre, and Nokia (NYSE: NOK)'s N Series all have GPS capabilities, and so will most of the popular smartphones moving forward. The report said the annual shipping rate of smartphones with GPS will increase by 19% through 2014.
The report also said one of the main drivers of growth will be applications and services that take advantage of a user's location, a market that is expected to balloon into a $13.3 billion business by 2013. ABI makes special mention of Google's Android