By Patrick Avenell at CeBIT Australia

SYDNEY: In an effort to increase the saleability of high-end GPS units at retail level, global mapping specialists Navteq has joined with travel guide gurus Lonely Planet to launch a restaurant and leisure guide for portable satellite navigation units.

The first company to sell GPS units with the new Lonely Planet guide will be Navman, who is expected to have the new models in stores within two months. Once on sale and operational, users will be able to locate points of interests, such as restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs, that have been reviewed by Lonely Planet.

At the time of writing, 19 cities across Australia and New Zealand will be covered by this service, and expansion is currently planned for several south-east Asian nations. The idea is that by leveraging the perceived respect and trust for the Lonely Planet brand, Navteq will be able to add value to the maps it services to GPS unit manufacturers.

GPS satellite navigation units currently have very low penetration in Australia; only 12 per cent according to Navteq director, business development, Kirk Mitchell. By adding features that appeal more broadly to consumers, rather than just motoring enthusiasts, he hopes to see an increase in new adopters.

The thinking behind a Lonely Planet partnership is centred on moving consumers to more expensive and better featured units, rather than the cheaper brands. Mitchell spoke of how he doesn’t want GPS to become a volume product, citing digital cameras as an example of how a good product with desirable features can quickly experience price erosion and lose value and margin for suppliers and retailers.