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  1.    #1  
    Somewhat interesting story in RCR Wireless about Sprint's LBS plans. Sprint is getting closer to launching new location services, but don't look for full compatibility on the Treo 300.

    Nonetheless, it will be exciting when LBS finally arrives and we can start getting real-time location services. Personally, I think it's going to be very cool. I've seen prototype software from several wireless companies across the world, and I can tell you, there's some very creative, fun, productive ideas coming to market within the next year or so.

    Hopefully, the small wireless companies that are making it happen will be able to survive long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labor. It's been tough.

    Sprint PCS closer to offering location services
    by MIKE DANO
    January 06, 2003

    Sprint PCS could offer commercial location-based services as early as next month, according to sources familiar with the situation. However, there are indications the carrier may be pushing back those plans to later this year, a move likely due to recent top-level executive changeups.

    A Sprint spokeswoman declined to comment, except to say that the carrier was evaluating location services and would work to satisfy its customers.

    Sprint sells several mobile phones that include Global Positioning System technology, an effort designed to meet the Federal Communications Commission's Enhanced 911 mandate. The mandate requires wireless providers to be able to locate callers who dial 911. Sprint's GPS phones meet the FCC requirements but also open the door to a variety of consumer location-service applications, such as locating friends and family or the nearest gas station.

    Indeed, carriers around the world are offering location services in a variety of forms, from simple friend-finding services to detailed driving-direction applications. AT&T Wireless Services Inc. in June launched a friend-finder application that uses information from cellular towers to determine general user locations. Canadian operator Bell Mobility launched a similar service last month. And Verizon Wireless Inc. introduced its Vindigo service in July, which is available on the carrier's Z-800 BREW handset and allows users to download maps, driving directions and ratings and reviews of nearby shops and restaurants.

    Such applications could create a significant industry, according to some market predictions. Research firm IDC forecasts that up to 25 million mobile-phone owners will be using location-based services from their wireless devices by the end of 2004, and almost 3 million of those users will have begun using services that support precise positioning. The firm said the location-services market could exceed $2.7 billion in sales by the end of 2006.

    That Sprint PCS eventually will offer location-based services is almost a certainty. Four location-services companies exhibited at the carrier's application developer's conference in August, including MapInfo Corp., Navigation Technologies Corp., Dynamicsoft Inc. and Autodesk Location Services. And the carrier continues to discuss the issue among its developer community, adding that it is studying several options for location technology.

    Several sources have said the carrier plans to launch some kind of location-based service next month. However, others familiar with the situation have hinted that the launch date may be farther down the road, as in "sometime this year."

    If there is a delay in the carrier's plans, it could be due to a variety of reasons, from technology issues to financial resources.

    One source suggested a delay could be a result of the recent replacement of Sprint President Charles Levine with Len Lauer. Levine's departure came shortly after the carrier reported a loss of customers during the third quarter that resulted from troubles with its Clear Pay program, which expanded under Levine's watch. As Lauer takes the helm at Sprint, the carrier may be holding off on its planned service launches.
  2. #2  
    That is all very exciting and thrilling ... but ... what does it mean?

  3. #3  
    Location Based Services sound exciting yet also frightening. Will this mean even more marketing towards the cell phone user? Would marketing companies know more about consumer spending habits by the GPS coordinates a phone sends out inside a particular store? The phone might become an actual 'browser cache' of GPS 'cookies' of all the places one visits.

    When does a 'service' become a means to lose our privacy?
  4. utey's Avatar
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    #4  
    Here is an article from wired on the subject

    http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,57040,00.html
    Grace & Peace,

    utey

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