The Tech News Blog

March 24, 2013

Apple Acquires WiFiSLAM for its Indoor Location-Tracking Tech

apple Maps

And here you thought it was tricky enough to get the correct directions to your driving destination via the GPS-friendly app on your iPhone.

Apple's allegedly upping the ante in the world of location services by acquiring a company that could help give it more of a foothold in the relatively unexplored world of indoor mapping.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal'Jessica Lessin, Apple recently acquired WiFiSLAM for approximately $20 million. The company specializes in a technology that allows mobile apps to pinpoint users' locations through the interaction between their smartphones and standard Wi-Fi signals – no GPS need apply.

According to MacRumors, Apple has confirmed the acquisition, but has offered no additional details as to what it plans to do going forward and/or how WiFiSLAM technology might be integrated into Apple's product offerings.

However, the acquisition opens up the possibility that Apple could start making more headway in an area that rival Google has already start tinkering around in. According to one of Google's support pages, Google already has more than 10,000 different floor plans available for locations across 13 different countries — the company uses a mix of Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation and normal cell tower-based location estimations to let users know exactly where they are in these Maps-friendly locations.

August 31, 2012

Report: Amazon Kindle Fire 2 to Include Nokia Navigation

Kindle Fire 2 Nokia Maps

Amazon will reportedly include Nokia's mapping services in its next-gen Kindle Fire, which could close the gap between Amazon's device and its Google Nexus 7 competitor.

Citing unnamed sources, Reuters reported that at least one new version of the popular tablet will be released on Thursday with location capabilities that require a GPS chip or Wi-Fi triangulation.

Mapping services are popular features on tablets, Reuters said, citing street maps, local business information, and occasional traffic updates, plus navigation instructions, a tool the Google tablet already carries.

A lack of navigation services hasn't stopped Amazon, which announced on Thursday that its first-generation device had completely sold out.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

January 9, 2012

Magellan Eyes Fitness Market

Magellan Switch LAS VEGAS—On Friday, Magellan, GPS navigation specialists, announced its plans to enter the fitness market with two new products. The Switch and Switch Up will be the company’s first fitness-oriented products that will utilize GPS technology to meet the growing needs of runners, cyclists, and multisport athletes.

The Switch and Switch Up are both billed as “crossover GPS watches,” aimed at enhancing workouts and performance for athletes of various disciplines. The Switch will feature customizable sport profiles, easy-to-read high-resolution display, eight hours of battery life, a high sensitivity GPS receiver, 50-meter water resistance, and compatibility with ANT+TM sensors. Though the Switch is primarily geared towards runners, Magellan believes the watch will have crossover appeal for multisport needs.

The Switch Up shares the same features as the Switch and adds a barometric altimeter for precise elevation data, a thermometer to monitor and capture outside temperature, vibration alerts for notifications in louder environments, and an innovative quick-release mounting system to transition easily between sports. This added capability makes the Switch Up a more interesting choice for multisport athletes, with greater flexibility and more diverse features.