GPS steals the show at 3GSM

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GPS steals the show at 3GSM

Manufacturers roll out GPS units for all.

Handset manufacturers, application developers and operating system managers are all planning large-scale roll outs of GPS technology this year.

The popularity of the technology has been boosted by a new generation of GPS chips that are small enough to fit into mobile handsets, along with power management technology that offers increased battery life.

"GPS is definitely one of the key themes of the 3GSM show," said David Wood, head of Symbian.

"For us it's great because we only need a few tweaks to the operating system, but it's proving very popular with the developers too. Mapping by mobile phone is going to become the norm."

Handset manufacturers are also getting behind the technology. RIM, Motorola and Nokia have all launched GPS handsets.

Nokia has gone further than most and said that almost all new smartphones will have GPS built in as standard by the end of the year.

The mobile giant is also planning a personal mapping program that will allow users to text each other and have directions on how to meet up delivered to the handset, just like today's satellite navigation systems.

"The tipping point for widespread adoption of business mobility is upon us," said Antti Vasara, senior vice president of Nokia's Mobile Devices Unit.

"It will take new levels of performance, greater functionality and interoperability, and broad access to mobility solutions beyond the executive suite for customers and operators to realise the benefits of anytime, anywhere productivity and collaboration.

"We are making it easy for business professionals to get mobilised. Feedback from our customers shows that we are changing the way business is conducted in a mobile world."

The main market for GPS systems is in Europe, but technologists believe that the US market will also take off in the next two years.

"Navigation is more popular in Europe because the roads are more confusing," said a Motorola executive.

"But we are seeing a massive growth curve in the US too, albeit two years behind the Europeans. Once you get into using GPS it becomes an integral part of getting around and communicating and we are really gearing up for that."

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