November 27, 2012 - Tablets and cameras are forecast to be the next major markets for location-based services, according to a study from ABI Research released this month.

The report, “Location Applications for Tablets, eReaders, Digital Cameras & Handheld Gaming,” forecasts the uptake of location-based services and finds, despite stunted growth to date, GPS is poised to generate significant volumes of data for location-based services.

The tablet market thus far has been dominated by Apple and its GPS/modem strategy. GPS shipments are forecast to reach 37 million in 2012, though that number is much less than anticipated.  ABI noted that other devices, notably Google’s Nexus 7 and the iPad mini have so far delivered mixed success in their launches. The report also notes that Wi-Fi location is standard across all tablet devices, and while complementary, is a barrier to GPS integration. 

Applications on tablets are forecast to mirror smartphones, with focus on local search, social, enterprise, navigation and ambient intelligence.  

The camera market has huge potential, with geotagging as a driver. There are more than 30 GPS enabled cameras on the market already and shipments are expected to surpass 10 million in 2013. A second wave of new applications is emerging around tracking, maps and dead-reckoning.

Location-based gaming services will also fuel the industry, and the Sony Vita is an early entrant to that category. An ABI analyst said location-based gaming applications face barriers to creating critical mass and that LBG will initially flourish on smartphones.

The findings are part of ABI Research’s Location Based Services and can be found at its website.