GNSS IC Sales Approach $3 Billion Mark

ABI Research: GNSS IC market shares in non-cellular applications

Global sales of the smallest GNSS form factor — the integrated circuit (IC) — will exceed $3 billion next year, driven in large part by incorporation of position/location capabilities in smartphones, according to a leading research organization.

Global sales of the smallest GNSS form factor — the integrated circuit (IC) — will exceed $3 billion next year, driven in large part by incorporation of position/location capabilities in smartphones, according to a leading research organization.

In a quarterly Market Data report entitled “GPS & GNSS,” ABI Research said that 70 percent of revenue in the standalone GPS IC market came from uptake of the technology in smartphones. However, the company predicts that as the overall GNSS market continues to grow, cellular will become less important, declining to approximately 55 percent of revenues in 2017.

Meanwhile, cost factors and technology advances are putting pressure on the companies competing in this space.

“All major vendors are reassessing their design approaches for emerging markets, by u-blox’s acquisition of Fastrax and the recent CSR-Samsung deal,” commented senior analyst Patrick Connolly, referring to the recent acquisition of Finland’s Fastrax by u-blox and Samsung’s licensing of key CSR GNSS technology.

As reflected in the accompanying graph, ABI Research is forecasting a major shift in the market mix for GPS ICs, as new markets emerge around tablets, cameras, femtocells, M2M (machine-to-machine/mobile-to-mobile), fitness, and personal tracking and IC vendors become less reliant on the more traditional portable navigation devices (PNDs) and the in-car markets. According to the research firm, this should create opportunities for combo-ICs modules, indoor and software-based implementations.

ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte added, “Breaking $2 billion illustrates how valuable the consumer GNSS IC market has become. The year 2013 will bring significant change and opportunities to the market, with new indoor technologies, emerging vertical markets, and competitors.”

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