Friday, January 16, 2009

Skyhook SDK Helps Pinpoint Android Phones' Location

In the contest between the iPhone and the Android phone, the iPhone beats the Android hands down on with its near pinpoint location accuracy. However, the Android should be able to catch up because the same hybrid positioning technology offered by Skyhook Wireless is now available to developers.

Announced Wednesday, Skyhook's new SDK includes Android support. While most popular phone and PC location systems can take two to three minutes for a location fix, Skyhook combines its proprietary database Wi-Fi Positioning System with cell phone towers and public Wi-Fi access points to create quick and accurate positioning results.

"A quick location fix is actually critical to many location apps like social networking, local search, and advertising," Skyhook CEO Ted Morgan said in an e-mail. "Anything more than a couple of seconds is unacceptable."

The new SDK is 75% smaller than earlier versions, enabling it to take up a small space in handsets. The Skyhook system detects Wi-Fi access points and then compares them against a database of geo-located points that the company updates daily.

Morgan noted that the standard Android location platform today struggles to find location, particularly in urban areas and indoors. Highly accurate location technology is becoming increasingly important in social networking situations in which individuals seek to locate other users quickly and accurately.

Developers can license the Skyhook SDK on a per-unit, per-user basis. Skyhook's ad partners also are included in ad revenue share models. No new hardware is required for Skyhook's system, which works indoors and outdoors. The new SDK is available for a variety of phones and mobile operating systems.