Taiwan is emerging as a dominant player in the GPS (global positioning system) market since the country has a complete supply chain to manufacture GPS units, according to the country's top export promoter.
In a report commissioned by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council, Taiwan-based market research firm Topology Research Institute said there are more than 50 companies engaged in the upstream and downstream GPS production channels, with 10 companies making midstream GPS units for embedded systems, and another six involved in GPS PDA production, including worldwide No. 3 vendor MiTAC International.
Other manufacturers are involved in the production of chips, antennas, tracking onboard units, navigators, and other components. The GPS market is soaring, driven largely by increasing use in in-vehicle navigation, asset tracking, public safety, aviation, and consumer GPS markets. Adoption of GPS in new applications is also expected to boom, thanks to falling prices and the growing availability of such technologies.
According to Taitra, GPS units have made great in-roads across Asia, providing on-the-go directions to and from various locations. GPS devices can also offer updated traffic reports, helping to alleviate traffic buildup.
According to electronics research firm iSuppli Corp., worldwide shipments of GPS units for automobile use are expected to triple in number from 19.8 million units in 2006 to 65.1 million units in 2012.
The automobile GPS market has shifted from embedded navigation systems to Personal Navigation Devices (PND), handheld devices that users can carry, including GPS PDAs and GPS-enabled smartphones, iSuppli said.
Earlier this year, Taiwan vendor MiTAC snagged the No. 3 position among GPS manufacturers worldwide following its acquisition of automobile GPS brand, Navman.
MiTAC's subsidiary brand Mio Technology, together with the Navman brand, captured roughly 20 percent of the global market, according to iSuppli research.
Mio Technology, under its Mio DigiWalker brand, has shown itself to be an innovative manufacturer of multi-function GPS units. The new Mio DigiWalker C720 car navigation system extends the traditional GPS to become an interactive device in today's digital life, the report said.
The C720 features the latest SIRFstarIII GPS receiver, enhancing GPS signals to ensure updated detailed maps for turn-by-turn directions. The C720 also utilizes preloaded Points-of-Interest to search for nearby locations by name or from a list.
A Traffic Message Channel, broadcast via FM radio, provides real-time traffic updates, allowing users to plan alternate routes. In addition, an integrated Bluetooth chipset enables hands-free calling via mobile phones.
The C720 further features a 2.0 megapixel camera, allowing users to "Geotag" their favorite sites by embedding GPS coordinates within the picture or video file. The C720 becomes an indispensable tool for the Web 2.0 generation, allowing interconnectivity to travel, the vendor said.