Mobile map usage soars in US and UK, iPhone leads

By Lexton Snol, PC Advisor (UK) |  Mobile & Wireless, iPhone, maps

U.S.age analyst comScore reports that use of mobile maps has jumped 82 percent in the U.S. and 49 percent in Europe -- although growth of 72 percent in the U.K. is close to that of the U.S.

Use of online maps via a PC has actually fallen in the U.K. (from 45 percent penetration in May 2007 to 41 percent in May 2008). In the U.S., the increase in the number of users accessing maps from a mobile device far outpaced the increase in the number of people who accessed maps via the PC.

The increasingly popular use of mobile maps in the U.S. and Europe is marked with 8 percent of American mobile subscribers and 3 percent of European subscribers accessing maps from the mobile phone in the three-month period ending May 2008.

According to the comScore M:Metrics Benchmark Study, Apple's iPhone is the leading device used to access maps in the U.S. In Europe, where the iPhone has been available for a shorter time, Apple's touchscreen smartphone trails the Nokia N95 and N70.

"The mobile phone as a personal navigation device makes tremendous sense," observed Mark Donovan, senior analyst at comScore.

"With the influx of devices, such as the iPhone with GPS, entering the market, Nokia's purchase of NAVTEQ and the growing popularity of downloadable navigation applications, you don't need a map to see where this sector is going."

According to comScore, 73 percent of mobile subscribers accessing maps are doing so via the browser in the U.S., and in Europe, 57 percent.

Despite the ubiquity of SMS usage in Europe, the penetration of consumers accessing maps and directions via SMS is 24 percent; only one percentage point higher than it is in the U.S..

The vast majority of mobile map users are seeking driving directions.

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