Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to speak with Wayfinder’s VP of Innovations Jonas Sellergren and given a few lessons in not only the future of Wayfinder, but also the GPS industry as a whole. Wayfinder has been around since before the real inception of GPS; in fact they go all the way back to 1989 when it was began as a development project with Sony Ericcson.
Wayfinder went through a series of forms and names until it really began to serve the consumer market in 2002 with its now-famous application, Wayfinder Navigator, a mobile mapping app that includes voice guided navigations, traffic updates and millions of POIs. Since then they’ve unleashed a few more groundbreaking apps including Wayfinder Earth, Wayfinder Access, and Wayfinder SpeedAlert. As of now, Wayfinder has a number of partnerships with mobile carriers for the most part centralized in Europe although they do work with some American carriers.
One thing I got from my conversation with Sellergren is that Wayfinder will penetrate the mobile market with a force over the next few years. Look for the company to begin integrating its applications into the phones of more North American carriers and don’t be surprised to see them working in emerging countries where mobile communications growth is huge (they’ve already made a move into India). And for all the rabid 3G iPhone fans out there, Sellergren confirmed that Wayfinder would love to work in partnership with Apple so don’t be surprised if you see Wayfinder working its way into the iPhone in the near future (so far they’ve only got the Wayfinder Power Search).
As I expected, Sellergren believe mobile location-based applications will be huge and with the new iPhone featuring GPS and Google’s open Android platform a hotbed for location-based features this doesn’t look to be a trend of the future. Personally I think we’ll see an explosion of locative features in mobile devices in just the next six months or so. And although it may be a little further into the future, look for location-based gaming to be big as developers get create with mobile SDK’s.
It was a great conversation, very informative, and Sellergren’s obviously passion makes me believe Wayfinder will be an application to be reckoned with for years to come.