Location-based local search and information services are estimated to be used by nearly 1.5 billion mobile users by 2014, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
Juniper attributes much of its projection to the advancement of GPS technology in not only smartphones, but in feature phones as well. “While technical advances in handset screens, user interfaces, processors, memory and graphics handling technologies had previously contributed to the launch of high spec, but relatively high cost, mobile devices from leading vendors, their features – including GPS – were gradually migrating into mass market devices,” the report states. “At the same time, GPS unit prices and form factors had improved considerably making integrated GPS much more cost effective and design friendly.”
The debate between the mobile Web and mobile apps come into play as well, as Juniper predicts that while browser-based services will dominate the local search market, applications purchased via app stores will take a growing portion of the information services market, particularly template apps providing city guides and entertainment guides.
“The sharing culture of Web 2.0 is increasingly shaping the way many location based services and location enabled apps develop,” explained Dr Windsor Holden, author of the report. “Social networking application usage has continued to grow at an explosive rate, while mobile driven apps such as Loopt and Brightkite have extended the Web 2.0 concept further with the introduction of geotagged content”.