Kindle Fire app gains location services (without a GPS)

Kindle Fire(s amzn) owners wanting to include locations in their tweets can do so with the updated version of TweetCaster. The software, found in the Amazon Appstore, can also show nearby tweets even though Amazon’s tablet doesn’t include a GPS radio. Instead the slate uses a Wi-Fi location solution from Boston-based Skyhook Wireless.
According to Skyhook, TweetCaster joins three other apps on the Kindle Fire —  MapQuest, HopStop and deCarta — that offer location-based services (LBS). Without a GPS radio, other developers can bring LBS to their Fire apps with Skyhook’s Location Engine and SDK. That’s helpful to end-users of course, but also to developers who have already developed Android(s goog) apps that use the GPS radio in a phone or tablet.
Why is that important? It eliminates a key problem, suggests Skyhook’s CEO, Ted Morgan: offering multiple versions of the same app but with different features.

“The Skyhook SDK not only provides superior location reliability, but also protects developers from increasing fragmentation. Developers can build their app once and avoid worrying whether the device has proper location support.”

Unless we someday have a ubiquitous Wi-Fi network that covers the planet, I wouldn’t expect Wi-Fi to completely replace our Global Positioning System for location. In app-specific instances however, using wireless networks to gain reasonably accurate locations will be a great substitute for years to come.