Motorola Drops Google Location For Skyhook

Developers helped convince Motorola to use Skyhook location technology in future Google Android devices.

W. David Gardner, Contributor

April 26, 2010

2 Min Read

In what would appear to be a blasphemous strike against the holy Google writ, Skyhook will replace Google's location technology on Motorola's Android-based mobile devices.

Skyhook's Core Location will be baked into future versions of Google's Android phones, making Motorola the first major Android device maker to abandon Google for its location services.

Skyhook's technology utilizes daily readings of more than tens of millions of mobile devices through the use of Wi-Fi, cellular, and GPS readings to produce its pinpoint accurate location solutions.

"This isn't a rift between Motorola and Google," said Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan in an interview Monday. "We will help Google. Google Maps and Google Search will get better, because it will make their apps get better."

Morgan said lobbying to provide Skyhook's location services from Skyhook developers helped convince Motorola to adopt the Skyhook technology. "Our developer network was a big influence on Motorola I think," said Morgan. "They said they want Skyhook on (Android) devices."

Alexander Muse, CEO of the ShopSavvy shopping app, said he is pleased to hear that Motorola will utilize Skyhook in Android phones. "ShopSavvy allows users to search for the best prices nearby and Skyhook is critical to this feature," he said. Another app developer, Joe Greenstein, co-founder and CEO of movie location provider Flixster, said Skyhook's location technology application improves his firm's accuracy over native Android APIs.

Motorola hailed the new approach. In a statement, Motorola's Christy Wyatt noted that "precise location is central to the mobile experience, and Skyhook's Core Location will enhance Motorola's Android-based mobile devices with its innovative location technology."

Google was not immediately available for comment, but the fact that Google and Motorola are close collaborators hints that Google approved or at least wouldn't protest the Skyhook app.

Noting that other phone providers, including Dell and Apple, have committed to using Skyhook, Morgan indicated more smartphone makers will soon be adopting Skyhook's Core Location technology. "We continue to improve our engine and coverage," said Morgan.

Skyhook's technology will begin appearing in phones introduced later this year.

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