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GPS still lost on US consumers

Only around 17 per cent of US adults currently own or use a GPS device, according to research from Harris Interactive this week.

The research house reported that among GPS owners, the most widely used devices were small handheld systems (34 per cent) and portable car-mounted GPS systems (33 per cent). Other systems used include GPS-enabled PDAs or laptop computers (26 per cent), and cars with integrated GPS systems (25 per cent).

Only 13 per cent of respondents had GPS-enabled cell phones.

Harris believes that while some cell phones offer turn-by-turn instructions, similar to handheld GPS systems, awareness of these services remains relatively low with about 19 per cent of US adults saying they are highly aware of the service.

Approximately 15 per cent of those who have a cell phone are interested in getting GPS service on their next cell phone, with half of them citing that having GPS would make them feel more secure knowing where they are, regardless of city (53 per cent) or that it would help them to find alternative routes around traffic congestion (47 per cent).

In terms of benefits, 38 per cent say that providing fast and direct turn-by-turn directions would top the list, while one third say they would never have to stop and ask for directions or get lost in an undesirable part of town (29 per cent).

“Despite advances in the technology, improvements in usability, dependability and falling prices, overall penetration remains relatively low for GPS services. At the same time, 9 per cent of adults indicate that they are very or extremely likely to purchase in the next 12 months,” said Milton Ellis, vice president of Technology Research for Harris Interactive.

Ellis said, “GPS providers may be able to increase adoption rates by promoting popular features of GPS systems, targeting users of online mapping services and increasing awareness of real-time automatic route recalculations and traffic reports available on many dedicated GPS devices.”


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