Now you can get your cell phone with a side of GPS. New cell phone/ GPS hybrids are an affordable and convenient way to get mapping and directions in one compact device. Offerings range from high-end to extremely affordable. The Nokia N95 is a multimedia phone due out early this year with a built-in GPS receiver and maps of more than 100 countries. With advanced multimedia capabilities, a 5 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the N95 is expected to retail for about $700.
If you don't need quite so many bells and whistles, you can check out several less expensive options. Verizon Wireless, for example, offers the VZ Navigator service with voice-prompted turn-by-turn directions, auto-rerouting, color maps and searchable points of interest. It costs $9.99 a month for a subscription and works with a variety of compatible phones, including the LG Chocolate, Samsung SCH-a930 and Motorola Razr V3m.
Sprint Nextel has a history with GPS services. Most of its phones have GPS capabilities, which is a sign of where cell phones are generally going. Within a few years, you can expect most handsets to come with some form of GPS, and most costs will be associated with ongoing service subscriptions. This should feed into the rising popularity of location-based services, or LBS, which can include people-finding, personal navigation and fleet tracking. ABI Research expects the subscriber base for GPS-enabled LBS to reach 315 million by 2011, up from just 12 million in 2006. Now is a good time for entrepreneurs to get familiar with GPS on their cell phones and get a jump on the LBS services it will enable businesses to employ.