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December 18, 2008

Understanding the scale of the opportunity

LONDON, England – I just picked up on a report in the Economic Times in India about some stats revealed at Nokia World (which I missed, entirely – shriek!) First, the numbers. Nokia plans to have mobile email on some 400 million handsets in the next 24 months. It also plans to sell 300 million GPS-enabled handsets in the next 18-24 months. Let’s put that last figure into perspective. Sales of stand alone sat nav devices in Europe and the USA for 2008 are expected to top out at about 30-40 million units. Let’s assume Asia does a similar number, to give a total of about 60 million units for 2008, and something similar in 2009, given the global slowdown. Nokia, on its own then, is predicting to double even the most ambitious estimate of standalone sat nav sales. Am I the only one who finds that pretty exceptional?

And from a standing start last year. We’re promised more GPS-enabled devices next year and with more GPS-enabled services rolling out (the new version of Maps, FriendView, Nokia viNe amongst others, I’m sure) the scene is set to make that figure a reality.

When we’re all connected, or at least a lot of us are, social networking on your mobile will be able to take on a whole new dimension. Sure, GPS on your handset is very useful (I live by it completely) but social apps only start to work when all your friends are in the same position. By the look of the forecasts, that won’t take long at all.