Portable navigation devices are taking off

We reported in January that portable navigation systems were booming in Europe, but it looks like we might have been too conservative. Dutch company TomTom, the leading European manufacturer of portable navigation devices, hit a grand-slam home run with their 2005 financial results Tuesday, increasing annual revenue by 275 percent and net profit by 411 percent.
The company posted 2005 sales of $856 million, and forecasts sales between 1.2 and 1.3 billion for 2006. TomTom units only starting selling at major U.S. retailers in June 2005, and by December the company reached 25 percent market share,

The European market for portable navigation devices is expected to nearly double in 2006, to about 7 million units. It looks like portable devices are reinventing personal navigation, much like the iPod reinvented personal music.

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