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Just a matter of time before most of us call on our mobile phones for in-car satnav.

Millions of Europeans may already be there, according to a Comscore study, which estimates that 21 million mobile users in the five biggest Western European countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy), use their handsets for navigation.

Often times this is simply a case of looking up a mapping service, and often times, users are on foot, or cycling or on public transport, but TomTom and Garmin don't have to fear for their navigation device hardware sales, just yet.

However, the pressure is on, with 68.2 pr cent of mobile users accessing mobile mapping nor navigation devices in a car. People using handsets with assisted GPS (A-GPS) technology are significantly more like to use maps in a vehicle than those with out (71.7 per cent vs. 63.9 per cent).

This "suggests that the superior speed and precision in these devices are being used for more than just identifying locations – they are being used as full in-car navigation systems,” says comScore analyst Alistair Hill.

With Nokia and Google issuing free mapping software for their phones, TomTom and Garmin's software business also look vulnerable in the long-term

Comscore release

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