Half of Nokia phones will offer satnav by 2010, a top executive from the phone manufacturing firm has told Reuters.

Michael Halbherr, the head of Nokia's location-based activities, says that the company will hit its target of equipping up to 50% of its phones with GPS chips between 2010 to 2012.

He explained: "We are planning to ship 35 million GPS units this year and many more location-enabled phones that use cell-towers to orient themselves on the map".

"You will see few E or N Series phones without GPS", he added.

The GPS-enabled devices are hoped will balance out a global decrease in handset prices.

Nokia signalled its ambitions in this area with a 5.7 billion euros bid to buy Navteq, which makes navigation software.

The acquisition will be Nokia's biggest to date if and when it is given approval by EU authorities.

In the meantime, Nokia currently sells five models with built-in GPS but has unveiled four more which will ship in the coming months.

But phones without GPS will also benefit, as Nokia Maps will essentially be updated in real time, Halbherr explained, by those with GPS phones.

Phones with Wi-Fi capabilities will be able to use local wireless network antennas to pinpoint their location, while phones without GPS or Wi-Fi can use local mobile phone towers for navigation.

"Location will ultimately be in every device", Halbherr declared.