GPS Business News: Google has selected INRIX’s Real-time Traffic to help power its navigation and mapping applications, we learned today. The service is initially available in 8 countries across Europe, including the U.K. and Germany with plans to roll out into addition markets by the end of the year. (more…)
Engadget: Social networking has long been Google’s white whale. The company has done plenty of dabbling in the space, releasing Orkut, which has failed to catch on in the US, and rolling out Buzz to the relative indifference of its massive user base. Announced today after seemingly endless leaks, Google+ represents a major push for the software giant. The service began showing itself to a smattering of users last night, as a black bar across the top of various of the company’s properties. A “+You” button on the far left of the bar currently brings you to the service’s landing page, offering a tour of the many features that fall under the Google+ umbrella. Get to know the services better after the break. (more…)
Electronista: Saab has previewed its upcoming infotainment system, IQon, which is based on Google’s Android OS. Users will be able to access navigation utilities, multimedia content, web-based services, and a variety of other features. The interface is presented in an eight-inch touchscreen, while an integrated modem automatically connects to the Internet when the car is started.
Despite the primary features that will ship with IQon from the factory, the company is highlighting the system’s ‘open innovation’ strategy to woo third-party developers. PArticipants will have access to specific APIs for the vehicle, connecting to more than 500 signals measuring data such as vehicle speed, GPS location, driver workload, yaw rate, steering wheel angle, engine speed, torque, temperatures, barometric pressure, and the location of the sun.
The IQon system is currently being previewed in the Saab PhoeniX concept car, which is on display at the Geneva Motor Show.
GPS Business News: Market research firm Canalys today published its final fourth quarter 2010 global country-level smartphone market data, which revealed that Google’s Android has become the leading platform.
Shipments of Android-based smartphones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. But Nokia did retain its position as the leading global smartphone vendor, with a share of 28%.
The fourth quarter also saw the worldwide smartphone market continue to soar, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89%. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over 2009.
During the fourth quarter volumes of Google OS-based smartphones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments.
At a regional level, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) remained the largest market, with shipments totalling 38.8 million and a year-on-year growth rate of 90%. Nokia continued to lead in EMEA and Asia Pacific, but in 2010 it was overtaken by RIM in Latin America, which shipped over a million more units than Nokia in Q4 2010. The vendor was particularly helped by the popularity of its mid-range smartphones, such as its Curve family of devices.
The United States continued its reign as the largest country market in terms of shipments, at more than double the size of the Chinese smartphone market. RIM recaptured first place from Apple, as the latter experienced its usual US seasonal dip, and RIM benefited from the first full quarter of shipments for the BlackBerry Torch. HTC successfully maintained its third-place ranking in the US for the third consecutive quarter, driven by its speed to market with the latest Android updates and new Windows Phone 7 devices.
“The US landscape will shift dramatically this coming year, as a result of the Verizon-Apple agreement,” said Canalys Analyst Tim Shepherd. “Verizon will move its focus away from the Droid range, but the overall market impact will mean less carrier-exclusive deals, while increasing the AT&T opportunity for Android vendors, such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung.”
Android was by far the largest smart phone platform in the US market in the fourth quarter 2010, with shipments of 12.1 million units – nearly three times those of RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Windows Phone 7 devices appeared too late in the quarter to take full advantage of holiday season purchasing. As a result, Microsoft lost share in the United States, from 8% in Q4 2009 to 5% in Q4 2010.
South Korea, Japan and China
Analysis of the published country-level data shows that, around the world, the strength of smartphone performances remained diverse. In South Korea, for example, shipments grew from under 700,000 units in Q4 2009 to just under 3.4 million units in Q4 2010, making the country a top 10 market.
In Japan, Android shipments have taken off over the past year, with nearly 1.4 million units shipping from local as well as international vendors, such as HTC. More Japanese vendors have also announced plans to launch Android devices in 2011, such as NEC Casio and Panasonic.
Under pressure from Huawei and Samsung in particular, Nokia’s share in China slipped to 56%, down from 76% a year ago, despite growing its volume in the country by over 70% in the same period. Albeit from a smaller base, the Chinese market grew 134% year-on-year, notably faster than the US market, which grew at 64% in the quarter.
NaviGadget: Google’s new phone, Nexus S from Samsung was officially announced today. It comes with the latest Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread which now includes NFC (near field communications) features.
Needless to say Nexus S comes with A-GPS and various other specs that add to the location awareness of this phone. These include the three axis gyroscope sensor, accelerometer, and the digital compass.
Google Maps looks really sharp on the new Nexus S. You can dive straight into “Places” from the map, view ratings, or see if the place you’re looking at is recommended by a friend. You of course get the Street View, free turn by turn GPS navigation, live traffic updates, satellite imagery, and locations of your friends on the map via Google Latitude.
With Google navigation you can enter a destination just by saying its name, get traffic conditions on your way, get alternate routes, drive with satellite view, or search for places near you.
Check out these two videos:
TechRadar: It won’t be too long before CES 2011 is upon us. Taking place from 6-9 January 2011 in Las Vegas, CES sets the tone for the tech year.
Apple may not be present, but just about everyone else is – from the electronics giants such as Sony, LG and Samsung to the tiniest software companies. CES covers the whole gamut of technology, so you’ll also find Microsoft and Nvidia alongside names such as Kodak and Polaroid.
CES, or the Consumer Electronics Show, is the place where the industry meets, does business and – most importantly for you – launches new kit. TechRadar will be there in force to bring you the latest news and hands-ons from the event, but what can we expect to see there?
Last year, 3D was the main theme alongside every single company talking about the environment. This is a slightly odd thing to hear in Vegas, which is possibly the least environmentally friendly location known to man. Expect those companies who haven’t yet gone big on 3D – such as Sharp – to go fully 3D this time around.
We’ll also see plenty of universal glasses available – specs you can use with various 3D TVs, not just those from one manufacturer. And expect a lot more hype behind 3D Blu-ray.
The movers and shakers at CES 2010
Traditional LCD will seem like old technology at CES 2011 – it’ll be LED all the way. Movement on the next-gen OLED tech has been slow so far, with only Sony, Samsung and LG really demonstrating anything of worth.
Sony has had its 11-inch on-the-market XEL-1, Samsung with an OLED laptop and 40-inch TV demos and LG with the UK’s larget OLED TV, which clocks in at 15 inches. Expect far more to come at CES from various manufacturers.
Highlights from CES 2010 included Samsung’s LED 9000 series and the first look at the Toshiba Regza Cell television – though we’ve since learnt that the Cell is yesterday’s news and will be replaced by the new Cevo processor.
As well as connected TVs, there will also be plenty of other connected devices – we’ll surely also see a plethora of Google TV devices. Google TV will come to the UK in 2011.
GOOGLE TV: Will CES 2011 be where Google TV really takes off?
In terms of computing, we’re expecting lots and lots more in the way of tablets. Dell has not been too secretive about its desire to produce larger siblings for the Dell Streak, so expect more from them.
Likewise HP – we’d predict that the leading PC manufacturer won’t be too far behind with a tablet-based device. Lenovo also had plenty of Snapdragon-based devices at this year’s CES. Will we see more at CES 2011? Will it be the LePad?
But the most interesting part will be the operating systems these guys end up using. Will the buzz continue to be around Android (which Google says isn’t yet ready for tablets anyway) or will we see something new from Microsoft or will the Redmond giant just hope for the best with standard Windows 7? And what of Chrome OS – it’s all gone quiet on that front.
We’re also expecting plenty of announcements from Intel and Nvidia, so watch this space for more.
Navigadget: I guess we really should’ve said “GPS enabled smartphones are taking considerable market share from standalone GPS navigation makers” but a sensational title is always more fun. But either way future is not looking great for GPS navigation manufacturers. According to a study done by a Swedish research company (Berg Insight) standalone GPS navigation systems are bound to become obsolete as their functions are now part of most smartphones or just embedded into vehicles’ dashboard.
Now that Nokia and Google are giving the technology away for free, GPS navigation makers will have to come up with ways to make their products standout or offer functionality that is not covered by smartphones. We can already see some change as Garmin and TomTom now offer real time traffic information, and working with vehicle manufacturers to embed their technology into vehicles at the factory.
… the number of personal navigation devices shipped globally will peak in 2011 at 42 million, up from 40 million this year, before beginning a gradual, but inexorable decline…
However CEO’s from navigation makers are still hopeful arguing that people are still willing to pay extra for high end specialized devices. I guess Garmin is in the best position here as they’ve already branched into other markets bringing in 1/3 of their sales from marine, aerial, and fitness related GPS devices.
Techwatch: The success story for Google continues to roll onwards when it comes to the company’s operating system Android.
Figures from research firm NPD have indicated that Android has overtaken BlackBerry in the US smartphone market in the second quarter, with a market share of 33% compared to Rim’s 28%.
And now according to a Reuters report, CEO of Google Eric Schmidt has stepped forward with a bold statement regarding just how many Android devices are being flogged.
Schmidt claims that some 200,000 smartphones and other devices which are powered by Android are sold every single day. Which is quite a staggering number when you think about it.
And one that led Schmidt to tell Reuters that mobile ad revenue would eventually outstrip the money Google makes from the PC advertising arena, although he wouldn’t be drawn on committing to any sort of a rough date when this might occur.
All this is certainly much better news for Google than the fate of its Wave project, which was officially canned this week.
GPS Business News: In a new report, market research firm iSuppli expects the inclusion of GPS technology in cell phones to explode, reaching 79.9 percent of cell phones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011 (amounting to 318.3 million units), against 187.8 million units or 56.1 percent in the first quarter of 2009.
GPS adoption driven by Smartphones
“The smart phone is the key product driving the technology industry today—and social networking services and applications spurred by GPS-related features are critical elements in the smart phone market today,” said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli. “This is illustrated by Google Inc.’s decision to make turn-by-turn navigation, LBS and mobile ads the central features in its bid to take on Apple in the smart phone market, and make up the central pillars of its strategy to increasingly monetize mobile search.”
iSuppli also sees an increased penetration of embedded GPS in a range of consumer and compute electronic devices by 2014. For example, iSuppli estimates that 18 percent of laptops and 42 percent of portable handheld video game players will have embedded GPS in 2014.
Altogether, the boom in mobile handset navigation will benefit suppliers of GPS semiconductors such as Texas Instruments, Broadcom Corp., Infineon Technologies and CSR.