According to research firm Canalys, an estimated 2.9 million portable GPS navigators were sold in the past year. And while the units can't squeeze any more miles per gallon from your car's engine, they can guide you on the most direct--and the most fuel-efficient--route to any address in the U.S. and Canada from wherever you are.
What used to be a niche market, with specialized developers producing complex products, is now wide open, with well-known consumer electronics companies and even computer manufacturers jumping into the fray. U.S. retailers saw more than 3 million portable GPS navigators sold in 2006, making it one of the fastest-growing consumer technology segments, with year-over-year unit sales expanding over 250 percent during the most recent holiday season.
"The portable navigation market is experiencing unprecedented growth," said Allan Jason, marketing vice president for LG Electronics USA, Inc., one of the leading major consumer electronics companies now offering portable GPS navigators. "Increased competition is leading to more aggressive pricing as well as better-designed products that are easier to use, making the consumer the ultimate benefactor."
Now, GPS navigators offer turn-by-turn voice guidance with street name announcements ("In 100 yards, turn left on Maple Street") so drivers can keep their focus on the road ahead rather than on a GPS screen. Built-in directories of points-of-interest (POIs) are also growing exponentially, offering access to a wider selection of travel destinations, restaurants and other entertainment hotspots at the simple touch of an on-screen button. A new breed of local experts--wherever they may find themselves--is being created across the North American continent.
The newest portable navigators are also featuring larger and more brilliant displays, better designs and easier access to real-time traffic information. For example, models from LG's portable navigator line combine a slim, compact design that allows simple installation and a touch-screen menu featuring easy-to-read 3D maps and large icons. These simple-to-use devices feature touch-screen LCDs, turn-by-turn voice guidance and superslim cases for enhanced portability.
For millions of vacationers jumping on the portable GPS bandwagon this year, getting around has never been easier, more economical and more fun. To learn more, visit www.lgusa.com/navigation.