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GPS Integrated Circuit Market Thriving

Analysts see continued growth for navigation, led by explosive demand for cell phones with GPS functionality.
The global positioning system integrated circuit market is continuing to fluctuate wildly, with recent shipments forecasting explosive growth in cellular phones with GPS functionality, according to a report Monday from IMS Research.

Just a year ago, GPS IC shipments in the portable navigation device market had plunged 41%, but in the last quarter of 2009 the market segment's shipments surged 91%. Tom Arran, an IMS research analyst, attributed the dramatic shift from decline to growth to overstocking of inventory in the early part of the year, followed by the recovery later.

Arran said in a statement, "2009 has been a year of tremendous fluctuations. Clearly the latter half of 2009 demonstrates that the majority of the GPS market has overcome the downturn. Our initial forecasts for the first half of 2010 are expecting further market expansion."

IMS is estimating strong across-the-board increases for GPS ICs from IC providers including Texas Instruments and ST Ericsson.

While the GPS IC market for PNDs recorded a dramatic 91% growth from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009, IMS expects the next wave of growth to include a surge in demand in the digital camera and notebook markets. The market research firm noted that GPS IC shipments for notebooks more than doubled between the last quarters of 2008 and 2009, while new emerging GPS demand for digital cameras is becoming a factor driving GPS IC sales.

IMS said some 300 million GPS ICs were shipped across all market segments in 2009, resulting in a growth of 105% since 2007.

However, in a statistic boding ill for the in-dash car navigation market, IMS said GPS ICs for the car navigation market have been dropping relentlessly from their market high in the second quarter of 2008.