Companies such as Inrix are making their money helping commuters and commercial drivers find the fastest routes through traffic, but their reach could go much further. Creative organizations can apply the data in entirely new areas, and crowdsourcing means seeing how the world moves.
Standalone GPS navigation makers continue to face the battle against smartphones and location based service apps. At least one of them is embracing the change: TomTom first added support for Facebook Places and now it includes Foursquare, making it easier to get directions and check-in.
The Massachusetts Division of Standards says there is no accepted standard for using GPS devices to set the price of transportation, and Uber should stop operating in the greater Boston area until such a standard emerges. Uber says it will forge ahead.
Patent trolls continue to take it to young companies with a vengeance. This time, a shell company that claims to own basic navigation technology wants the maker of a popular location-based “check-in” service to pay up.
Hours away from defaulting on debt, LightSquared filed for bankruptcy protection. The company has said it would use the shelter of Chapter 11 to buy time in its fight to build its nationwide LTE network, but this could just be a prelude to a liquidation of assets.
LightSquared is preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing on Monday as it has made little progress in its negotiations with debtholders. If LightSquared does enter into bankruptcy it might find Dish Network waiting, eager to relieve it of its spectrum.
Avid cyclists needing to communicate on a group ride might consider the Cardo BK-1. At $279, it’s not cheap, but the Bluetooth headset pairs with a radio module that attaches to a bike helmet. With it, riders have a light walkie-talkie to stay in touch.
Placeme for iOS and Android may be both the scariest and amazingly futuristic app I’ve seen yet. The free software uses every sensor in your handset to track your activities, location and environment. Scary, yes, but it could power the smartphone personal assistant of the future.
Kindle Fire owners wanting to include locations in their tweets can do so with the updated version of TweetCaster. Nearby tweets are available too, 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.
If the FCC won’t let LightSquared launch LTE in its satellite spectrum, then the carrier wants the commission to find its network an alternate home on the airwaves. LightSquared still claims its 4G network will leave GPS unharmed, but it’s willing to consider a spectrum swap.