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Showing posts from August, 2012

Waze rumored talking with Facebook about deal or acquisition (UPDATED)

I'm a long-time fan of Waze, and wrote recently why I prefer their navigation with crowd-sourced traffic data  over even the latest Google Maps.

Now the rumors are breaking in Israel that Facebook and Waze are in discussions, either about a deal or about an acquisition.

At first blush, an alliance of this sort would make sense for a few reasons:

1. Waze has been moving in the direction of incorporating local business locations into their mapping and navigation app.  If this was extended to mobile local search, it would fit great into Facebook's agenda.

2. If navigation were linked to Facebook, we'd see a lot more people posting status updates about where they're driving, and Facebook would get a lot more information about where their users were.

3. It's only a matter of time until a bigger navigation company comes out with crowd-sourced traffic data - certainly we've reported signs that Google and others have active research in the area.  Despite the Waze CEO&#…

Great article on Nokia patent portfolio

There's a great article on SeekingAlpha analyzing Nokia's patent portfolio and their likely ability to profit from it as the mobile industry continues to develop.
One of the key points in the article is the strength of Nokia's location technologies, including indoor location. The article writes:
Location Based Mapping Patents Are Hidden Jewel of Nokia Patent PortfolioOne emerging and potentially highly profitable area in which Nokia has a distinct patent advantage is indoor-mapping. This technology is vital to the expected future trends of mobile advertising which will come to directly target individual users based on their proximity to retail locations within malls and other large indoor locations. ...
Google was the first company to unveil a version of this new technology on current smart devices, with the "My Location," feature within the November 2011 release of "Google Maps 6 for Android." Despite being the first to release this technology i…

Why STMicroelectronics bought projector start-up BTendo

We've written a number of times about an R&D collaboration between STMicroelectronics and an Israeli company called BTendo that's developed leading technology for scanning laser projection.  Their collaboration, combining BTendo's projection technology with STMicroelectronics MEMS expertise, has developed a pico-projector component designed for phones and other electronic devices.

Earlier this month the news broke that STMicroelectronics has acquired BTendo.

We wrote about their projection component back in March, reporting on the new trend in cellphone projectors at MWC.  Their prototype showed the projector in action as a distinct device, but their target is to have the component embedded into cellphones and other devices.

Their specs are similar to those of the Samsung's Galaxy Beam.  They're targeting 12-15 Lumens, and resolution anywhere from SVGA up to WXG.  This component could be the way that other cellphone makers will catch up to Samsung in equipping …

Waze and Google Maps: A Quick Comparison

I've been a big Waze fan for years, relying on it to make my daily commute as quick as possible.  I try to never leave my hometown without checking Waze first to avoid getting stuck in traffic.

For those of you who don't know about Waze, they basically crowd-source traffic information, learning where traffic is slow by measuring how fast their users are moving.  This traffic information is then used to route people in ways that will truly be fastest.  (Apple has reportedly licensed Waze data for their upcoming maps app.)

Waze is used most heavily abroad, and is only recently building a following in the States.  (It was also just reviewed on the Forbes site.)  So on a recent trip to the States, I decided to compare Waze to the latest USA-based version of Google Maps for Android.

In a nutshell, I reached three conclusions.  (1) Google's use of text-to-speech in their turn-by-turn directions is very nice.   (2) Google's got Waze beat in terms of explaining what's comi…

Samsung Galaxy Reader?

Several more patent filings have emerged showing Samsung's interest in a two-screen book-like device.  Could we be seeing a future Samsung Galaxy Reader?

The patent filings themselves list a wide range of uses for such a device, including "dual homepages, mode-switching capability, a pocket mode homepage screen, a gallery map, a task manager, a private broadcast, a clipboard, an electronic book, a video conference, a cooperative game, a calendar, a phone conversation, a camera...."

One of the patent applications, covering UI's based on swiping between screens, shows several such applications, whereby swiping from one screen to another scrolls a set of pictures or icons between the two screens as if they were one big screen. This looks like a nice way to scroll through pictures, app icons, or what have you.

But one of the patent applications covers even more innovative user interfaces, whereby one of the screens is held steady and the other is moved, so that the two …

Articles on indoor location systems

The Grizzly Analytics phones are ringing constantly with questions about indoor location positioning.  This is because our report on indoor location technologies was the first industry report covering this new area, which is growing but only now reaching the mass market.

Here is a list of recent articles on indoor location systems, all of which quote Grizzly Analytics analysis of the area:

GPS World: A Look at Small Indoor Location CompetitorsGPS Bites: The Latest Developments in Indoor Positioning and Indoor GPSTechnology Review: Startup Uses a Smartphone Compass to Track People IndoorsSpringWise: Indoor Positioning Without Wi-Fi or GPS via Magnetic Fields for Location-Based Services - They didn't quote us, but the article is interesting and we always enjoy SpringWise.Mass Privatel (blog): Your SmartPhone is a Tracking DeviceLatus Creativity (blog): Roodin: The Indoor Mobile Pedestrian Navigation System

In addition to our report on indoor location positioning technology, we also h…