Mobile local searchers 'to reach 1.5bn by 2014'

A continuing surge in mobile Internet usage, allied to the increasing penetration of integrated GPS receivers within both smartphones and featurephones, will see location-based local search and information services used by nearly 1.5 billion mobile users by 2014, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The Mobile Location Based Services report found that while technical advances in handset screens, user interfaces, processors, memory and graphics handling technologies had previously contributed to the launch of a rash of high spec, but relatively high cost, mobile devices from leading vendors, their features - including GPS - were gradually migrating into mass market devices.

At the same time, GPS unit prices and form factors had improved considerably making integrated GPS much more cost effective and design friendly.

Meanwhile, the attendant growth in mobile Internet adoption - itself in part a corollary of improved handset form factors and affordable data bundles - is expected to provide further impetus to the adoption of browser-based local search services.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, "The sharing culture of Web 2.0 is increasingly shaping the way many location based services and location enabled apps develop. 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".

Additionally, the Juniper report found 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.

Other findings from the Juniper report include:

  • Total revenues from all mobile location-based services are expected to reach $12.7 billion by 2014
  • While advertising will comprise an increasing proportion of total market value, some concerns remain regarding its large-scale viability as a primary revenue stream.

Juniper Research assesses the current and future status of mobile location-based services based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in this critical area of the mobile industry.

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