Symbian, Skyhook Team Up For Location-Based Services

The companies demonstrated Symbian smartphones using a Wi-Fi positioning system to offer fast and accurate location information.
Your next Symbian smartphone may be able to offer better location-based services thanks to a collaboration with Skyhook Wireless.

The companies demonstrated Symbian OS version 9.5 smartphones using Skyhook's Wi-Fi positioning technology at the Symbian Smartphone Show this week in London. The demo showed that Skyhook's XPS Hybrid Location System can be implemented with Symbian's LBS architecture, potentially enabling faster and more accurate location detection in areas where GPS is not enough.

"Symbian is leading the provider of smartphone operating systems, and this collaboration represents an important milestone for Skyhook Wireless, "said Mike Shean, Skyhook's VP of business development, in a statement." The demonstration shows how Wi-Fi-based positioning can be used by Symbian OS-based devices to enable many innovative and location aware applications.

While many handsets already pack a GPS chipset, these can sometimes have trouble acquiring a users' location indoors, or in congested downtowns. Skyhook's technology uses Wi-Fi to determine locations, and some of the advantages of it are that it requires no new hardware, works indoors and outdoors, and can be more accurate in congested areas.

"Skyhook's Wi-Fi Positioning System is a good illustration of the diverse location acquisition support of our LBS architecture," said Mike Whittingham, Symbian's VP of ecosystem development, in a statement. "It's an innovative solution that will enable the future revenue opportunities of location-based services."

In the near future, smartphones will be using Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and cell phone towers to determine a user's location. Accuracy and responsiveness will be critical if location-based services will take off, but analysts are already expecting the market to hit $13.3 billion in five years.