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Our Man in Barcelona

February 28, 2012  - By
Image: GPS World

Smartphones are taking over the world, and not just modern industrialized societies. A Broadcom executive predicted today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that, with costs going down for less expensive models, smartphones will not only be the first phone of any kind for many people in India and other developing nations, it will constitute their first Internet experience.

There’s a whole lot of change coming for North America and European users, too, and much of that is being envisioned, enthusiastically promulgated, and occasionally even demonstrated at this global village of 60,000 modcom movers and shakers that congregate here every year.  Just a few examples:

  • granting access to one’s location data for only a set period, from 15 minutes to 4 hours, via Glympse.
  • location-based display advertising, not just coupons, but glossy little ads on your screen, called up by proximity to the advertiser, via Sofialys.
  • centimeter-accurate indoor navigation, to the product on the shelf and not to its competitor product next to it on the same shelf, via Wi-Fi and near-field communication (NFC), Broadcom again but others including LocAid are talking about it too.
  • An alarm clock function on your phone that will wake you (or let you sleep) at exactly the right time for that morning, based on real-time traffic and weather conditions on your commute route, from Airbiquity.

All this with either a few deft touches of the smartphone screen, or automatically enabled.

And this is just the location aspect of smartphones, which represents maybe 5 percent of what’s being talked about here.  Tons of other apps for health and entertainment and more.

Tomorrow: location as a blue-chip commodity.

This article is tagged with , , and posted in Opinions

About the Author:

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.

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