LONDON — Global shipments of GPS-enabled GSM/WCDMA handsets increased 92 percent in 2009 to 150 million units, according to analysis firm Berg Insight AB (Gothenburg, Sweden). With growth set to continue at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.7 percent, shipments are forecasted to reach 770 million units in 2014.
Adoption of GPS technology in mobile phones started in the smartphone segment where it is now essentially a standard feature on all new models. Berg Insight now anticipates GPS penetration in low-cost smartphones about to enter the market. GPS will also become more common in mid-range featurephone models during 2010. Starting in 2011, users can also expect gradual improvements in location performance in handsets.
Receivers compatible with GPS, Glonass and later also Galileo will not be enough to enable reliable positioning indoors. Performance increases will come from hybrid location technologies that fuse signal measurements from multiple satellite systems, cellular networks and Wi-Fi, together with data from various forms of sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes and altimeters.
"Chipset developers and handset vendors are already working on next-generation location technologies that will address the limitations of GPS when using handsets in urban canyons and indoors," said Andre Malm, a senior analyst with Berg Insight, in a statement. "Multi-mode receivers that also support the Russian Glonass satellite system will appear in handsets in 2011. By combining the two systems, more visible satellites will increase the chance to receive sufficiently strong signals to get a fix in more locations."