GPS-Enabled Devices Will Create New Opportunities But Do We Really Have An Even Playing Field

CNET’s News.com reports on a new forecast from Swedish analyst firm Berg Insight predicting that “the number of GPS-enabled handsets is set to more than triple during the next five years”.

Growth in the GPS-handset user base should also lead to more applications that use such information, Malm (a telecommunications analyst at Berg Insight) added, pointing to the success of currently available location-based services like Google Maps. “Perhaps it is not right to call them services, but small apps that use location as a filter or enhancement–we will see a lot of that going forward, once developers and users get more used to using location,” he said.

Berg’s press release adds “The availability of accurate position data in mobile devices creates exciting new opportunities for developers of local search, navigation and social networking applications”, said Mr Malm. “Nokia and Google will be two of the foremost players in this arena but there is a good chance that the development will also give birth to the next Facebook or MySpace.”

GPS

Flickr photo by Jimmy_Joe

What it means: I am truly excited about these numbers as local, social and mobile combined really has the potential to create the next big web phenomenon. But one thing concerns me currently in that space: the creation of an even playing field. In 1995, barriers to entry on the World Wide Web were low (even non-existent) and allowed the creation of Yahoo and eBay (current combined market cap: $67B). Still today, the barriers to entry for new Web projects remain very low. It’s not the same in mobile where there are a lot of gatekeepers. Handset manufacturers and Telcos come to mind, but the position of strength major portals and search engines enjoy through their relationships with the aforementioned gatekeepers make their stranglehold very difficult to break. Because of that, I wonder if we will see a real innovation burst in mobile/local in the short term. It will come, I have no doubt about it, but it might not come as quickly as it potentially could be.

4 thoughts on “GPS-Enabled Devices Will Create New Opportunities But Do We Really Have An Even Playing Field

  1. Interesting post Sebastien, on the positive side, maybe the gatekeepers will serve as the first iteration and lead a quicker mainstream adoption than we would otherwise have without them. Once the next big thing hits, it will might easier for better mousetraps to be built by the “not as connected” players and sold through.

  2. Interesting post Sebastien, on the positive side, maybe the gatekeepers will serve as the first iteration and lead a quicker mainstream adoption than we would otherwise have without them. Once the next big thing hits, it will might easier for better mousetraps to be built by the “not as connected” players and sold through.

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