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Mobility Abuzz with LBS as Hot New Sector

The wireless world is buzzing about location-based services (LBS) thanks to two significant announcements this week from GPS makers that new turn-by-turn navigation systems for the iPhone are on the way.

But Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) isn't the only vendor making LBS headlines, as Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) acquired Dash Navigation and recent data shows LBS as an emerging trend in mobile, resulting in opportunities for both advertisers and carriers.

This past Monday, TomTom announced it is working with Apple to deliver the first dedicated "in-car navigation solution" for the iPhone 3G S, comprised of a TomTom navigation app combined with a car kit designed specifically for the iPhone.

Apple is focusing on development of the app itself, which will include routes and maps from Tele Atlas when it becomes available at the App Store following the release of iPhone Software 3.0 on June 17.

Meanwhile, TomTom is completing the car kit accessory, which enhances the iPhone's GPS signal through a dock connector, as third-party accessory support is built into the iPhone SDK 3.0. The kit also charges the iPhone, includes a built-in loud speaker for spoken turn-by-turn directions and comes equipped with a microphone for hands-free calling.

TomTom's co-founder and CTO Peter-Frans Pauwels said during a presentation at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) that the kit will include a built-in FM transmitter for playing iPhone music files through the car stereo as well.

Not to be outdone, German GPS maker Navigon announced this week that iPhone owners will be able to "kit out their smartphones" with its iPhone navigation apps.

"With the new OS 3.0 operating system, Apple has made the use of navigation software on the iPhone possible, and Navigon has quickly managed to adapt the MobileNavigator software to the new firmware. The iPhone can now be transformed into a versatile, fully functional navigator," Egon Minar, CEO of Navigon, said in a statement.

He added that if you turn the iPhone 90 degrees, then the display switches automatically from portrait to landscape view. Along with this automatic display adjustment and the intelligent address entry, there is also the option of navigating directly to an address from saved contacts. If navigation is interrupted by a telephone call then navigation is resumed automatically after the call has ended.

(Next page: RIM reacts.)