Optoelectronics manufacturers which make touch panels for mobile handset vendors around the world are being told that location-aware smartphones are becoming a realistic alternative to satellite navigation systems.
According to Danny Brogan, reviews editor of Mobile Choice magazine, these devices' "large vibrant screens" and longer battery life mean that products such as the iPhone or BlackBerry are beginning to replace their predecessors.
He said that such applications, whether for navigational purposes or to use an individual's location to feed them relevant information, are "increasingly popular".
Furthermore, Mr Brogan added that these apps were probably second only to social networking offerings such as Facebook or MySpace and these market leaders are already beginning to look at integrating such services into its own product.
This follows a report by Juniper Research which predicted that the number of people using location-based search would reach 1.5 billion by 2014, a point that may interest optoelectronics firms making touch screen panels for smartphones.