A Brilliant Future for Local Search Service Providers

With more and more portable devices featuring navigation functions, traditional navigation hardware vendors must now compete with challenges from mobile handset, PMP, and UMPC vendors. Among hardware vendors, competition is fierce and most are adding local search services and content (such as MSN Direct, Google Maps, and Yahoo! Local) to become increasingly competitive. In addition to simple navigation functions, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google are providing location-specific information such as traffic information, stock prices, local events, news headlines, and weather on connected devices. In early 2008, those service providers extended their markets to top hardware vendors such as Garmin, Alpine, and TomTom, offering their products at an annual service fee between $49 and $121. The future looks bright for local search service providers.

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