85% of smartphones will ship with GPS by 2013

ABI Research anticipates that the sensor-driven user interface (UI) will be an emergent theme in the next wave of mobile UI innovation—turning objects, locations, and people into networked, interactive elements.

Figures from ABI Research predict that by 2013, 85% of smartphones will ship with GPS, over 50% will ship with accelerometers, and almost 50% will have gyroscopes.

“The growth of sensors in smartphones will be driven by applications such as gaming, location awareness, and augmented reality, as well as the expansion of motion-based commands,” says senior analyst Victoria Fodale. “The high-level operating system of a smartphone, which provides open application programming interfaces (APIs), has facilitated the use of data from cameras, sensors, and GPS receivers.”

ABI claim that the increased use of accelerometers, GPS and gyroscopes in smartphones is partly prompted by Apple’s UI innovations with the iPhone – the iPhone 4 has a three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis accelerometer, – and partly as a way of differentiating the devices of Android using OEMS who want their products to stand out from other Android smartphones.

ABI believe that this added functionality must be balanced with ease of use. “There is an inherent paradox with technology,” says Fodale. “As mobile devices integrate more technology, the UI must be kept simple enough to be intuitive for the user.”

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