The number of smartphone navigation systems, either shipping with the phones or offered by third parties after sale is projected to rise to 81 million units this year, a tenfold increase from 2009, and to 297 million by 2014, iSuppli said Tuesday.
"Smartphones over the next decade will rival PCs as a market for hardware, software, communications and location-based services," iSuppli analyst Danny Kim said in a statement.
Over the last two years, the smartphone has become the most important platform for map and navigation usage, according to iSuppli. In fact, maps have become a standard feature in a growing number of smartphones.
Apple's iPhone is the current platform leader for after-sale, downloadable navigation applications, with more than 6,000 currently available, iSuppli said. Over the next several years, smartphones from Nokia and makers of phones based on Google's Android operating system will lead the preloaded navigation application market.
In the future, most smartphones will ship with navigation systems. Nokia is expected to be a major driver behind the market with its Ovi Map turn-by-turn navigation application.
In the small after-sale market for navigation applications, the iPhone is expected to remain a leader. To date, the iPhone accounts for nearly 50% of the total number of aftermarket on-board navigation sales, estimated at more than 2.9 million in 2009, iSuppli said.
This year, the number of navigation systems sold for the iPhone is expected to reach 5.8 million units, valued at $290 million at retail, iSuppli said.