Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tablets, cameras and fitness help drive fourfold increase in GPS/GNSS IC shipments by 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND: Consumer and precision GPS shipments are forecast to reach two billion by 2016, as new high volume verticals emerge. Along the way, the market will shift away from standalone ICs, to include combo chips and embedded GNSS solutions, with greater emphasis placed on alternative location.

“As forecast, the market is now expanding into new vertical markets such as tablets, cameras and fitness,” says ABI Research senior analyst Patrick Connolly. “These are high volume segments and will require variations in design. As a result, companies increasingly need to take these requirements into account to drive growth and market share.”

ABI Research forecasts that Glonass will become a standard feature as early as 2013, while Compass will also be important in coming years. Similarly, sensor location support is a must-have, with leading IC designers developing unified platforms with open APIs that enable device OEMs to incorporate this easily.

“Alternative location has emerged as another must-have in 2011/12,” adds practice director Dominique Bonte. “This is partly to support a better user experience but also to enable customers to address the growing LBS (Location-Based Services) and LBA (Location-Based Advertising) markets. The ability to offer A-GPS, Wi-Fi location, and MEMs will be an important differentiator in the cellular market.”

Qualcomm’s success in the non-CDMA cellular and tablet markets has reinforced the threat of embedded GPS. Companies now consider developing this function in-house, or partnering with leading processor manufacturers. Combo-GPS ICs have yet to achieve success in a mass market device, and some predict the technology will fail to achieve uptake. ABI Research nonetheless believes there will still be a significant market for this solution, with a variety of second generation combo-GPS ICs now available.

The precision GPS market underwent a very difficult 2008/09 with the global economic climate, falling agricultural prices and low-cost Asian competition all taking their toll. However, ABI Research has forecast these markets to recover and continue growing over the forecast period.

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