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Europeans bought more GPS devices last quarter than at Xmas

Sat nav boom continues

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Demand for GPS devices continues unabated, market watcher Canalys has claimed. Its latest figures show more European consumers splashed out on handheld navigation gadgets in Q2 2006 than they did in Q4 2005, last year's Christmas quarter.

Canalys' statistics record shipments of devices with integrated GPS receivers. Vendors shipped 2.45m of them in Q2, a 96 per cent increase on Q2 2005's total, 1.25m, and 8.7 per cent up on Q4 2005's shipments.

TomTom remained the European market leader year on year, growing its marketshare from 20.8 per cent to 30.5 per cent between Q2 2005 and Q2 2006. Garmin took second place in Q2 2006, taking 16.7 per cent of the market and pushing formerly second-placed Medion and third-placed Mio into third and fifth places, respectively. Mio accounted for 9.5 per cent of Q2 2006's shipments, Navman 6.4 per cent and Medion 6.1 per cent. All the other vendors together took 30.8 per cent of the market.

The reason for the sale surge is clear: they're largely purchases made in anticipation of summer holidays. What Canalys' numbers don't show are the shipments of PDAs with wired- or wireless-connected GPS receivers. Since these remain the standard way of doing satellite navigation of a mobile phone, they are unlikely to have been quashed by the rise of the integrated GPS device.

Most of which are dedicated GPS tools. Some 87 per cent of the integrated GPS units shipped in Q2 2006 were GPS-focused units like those from TomTom, Navman and Garmin. According to Canalys, ten per cent of device were handheld units - PDAs with built-in GPS receivers, essentially - and three per cent were wireless devices - gadgets like Mio's A701 smart phone.

Smart phones remain a strong contender for growth, Canalys said, but as yet there's little support from carriers or the major phone makers for the technology. ®

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