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Now pedestrians get satellite navigation on their mobiles

Scotsman | May 11, 2005
By CHRIS MCAULEY

A POCKET-SIZED satellite navigation device for pedestrians has gone on sale in the UK.

The TomTom Mobile 5 personal navigation system uses spoken instructions to direct the user from their mobile phone. It also displays a 3D map on the phone screen.

TomTom’s new system for pedestrians and cyclists follows the success of in-car satellite navigation systems.

It works by inserting a memory card with pre-installed maps and software into a mobile phone.

A separate Bluetooth wireless GPS receiver device then connects to the phone.

Like an in-car "sat-nav", it works by picking up the user’s position via satellite and then directing them to the required destination using the mapping software.

Available as a mobile phone package costing around £200, the TomTom device will find the quickest and most direct route possible, giving an estimated time of arrival.

Manufacturers say it will be accurate to within 50cm and will even be able to tell which side of the road the user is calling from.

They also claim the new device will be able to find given destinations from a postcode alone.

If connected to the internet, it will even be able to provide a weather forecast for whichever area the pedestrian is going to.

If users do get lost they will still be able to make phonecalls while continuing to receive visual route instructions.

Harold Goddijn, the chief executive of the Netherlands-based company TomTom, said that the new device was a huge step forward in personal navigation.

"For the first time satellite navigation has been extended outside the car and into the hands of anyone who needs to find their way from A to B, whichever mode of transport they choose," he said.

The TomTom Mobile 5 is compatible with a range of mobile phones, including models by Nokia, Orange, Motorola, T-Mobile and iMate.

Following yesterday’s announcement, however, industry experts IDC predicted that while the worldwide market growth of mobile phones would continue in 2005, it would do so at a slower pace.

Last year, international mobile phone sales saw their strongest year-to-year increase in history, rising by 34 per cent from 2003 to 2004, with 692 million units shipped in a massive expansion driven by the demand for colour displays and camera phones.

Globally, IDC expects mobile phone sales to slow in most regions during 2005 as a direct result of the large number of new phones purchased in 2003 and 2004.

However, they also predict that demand from emerging countries will continue to drive growth in mobile-phone sales.

In 2005, IDC expects the largest share of shipment growth to come from those emerging countries, with the total expected volume increasing by more than 20million units.

David Linsalata, a research analyst at IDC, said: "Strong demand from emerging markets, the attraction of colour displays and camera-enabled mobile phones, and delays in 3G network availability made 2004 a banner year for 2.5G mobile phone shipments.

"With more than 692million units shipped in 2004, the underlying foundation of the mobile phone market is sound, but limited catalysts for 3G adoption will create complex market conditions over the next few years.

"The market will continue to expand through 2009, however, offering a significant opportunity for hardware, software and service vendors alike."

In 2005, IDC said that it expects there to be nearly 1.7billion active wireless subscribers or individuals paying a subscription bill throughout the world.

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