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10/31/2007
04:58 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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Business Users Want GPS In Their Smartphones

According to the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey of smartphone users, GPS tops the list of features that users want most in their smartphones. Looks like location is going to be one of the big wireless must-have features for mobile business in 2008.

According to the latest J.D. Power and Associates survey of smartphone users, GPS tops the list of features that users want most in their smartphones. Looks like location is going to be one of the big wireless must-have features for mobile business in 2008.Here is a look at some of the study's findings:

The study's wireless usage patterns revealed that there isn't a faultless smartphone available on the market. Most smartphones can use improvements. Among smartphone users, 13% said they've had to repair their smartphones: software application issues, smartphones locking up, or displays not working were most common problems.

Over 40% of users want their smartphones to have GPS capabilities, 26% want Wi-Fi, 22% want a touch screen, and 19% want integrated TV capabilities.

Location, location, location is the name of the game. This is especially interesting since the it smartphone of 2007, the iPhone, does not have GPS. But why are smartphone users (and by extension business users) so interested in location and GPS?

I can come up with three reasons off the top of my head. First, most smartphone users travel frequently, both in their cars around town and for longer business trips out of town. Having an easy-to-use GPS navigation system built into a smartphone gives users a one-stop-shop for directions anywhere they go.

Second, location is the key to mobile search. While Google, for example, is taking off with mobile users the mobile version Google Maps, not the mobile version of Google's core search, has captured the public's imagination. In order for search to really take off on cell phones, it's going to need location. And while mobile search is improving, it's nowhere near as location-enabled as it needs to be.

And the third reason is proximity. I think smartphone users want to be able to capture the power of proximity and locality when they use their smartphones, whether that's location-enabled promotions or shopping or being able to transmit location to friends and family for face-to-face meetings.

On top of that there are a whole host of business-only, location-enabled applications that vertical markets like field service and health care are using. But in order for these markets to grow there needs to be more smartphones with built-in GPS.

This growing demand for location and GPS is exactly why Nokia kicked down $8.1 billion for Navteq and why Garmin and TomTom are engaged in a bidding war for Tele Atlas.

What do you think? Is GPS the must-have feature you crave most on your next smartphone?

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