BlackBerry Adds Wi-Fi Geolocation for Apps to OS

Posted by at 10:46 am on September 21, 2011

RIM late Tuesday gave itself and BlackBerry developers a much requested catch-up in features with news that it had quietly switched on Wi-Fi geolocation. The smartphones can now supplement GPS to get either a faster lock or an alternative. Much like with the GPS itself, apps can either get a fast, under 10 seconds fix when only the general areas is needed or spend more than 30 seconds to get a much more accurate position when it’s needed.

The feature can be the most useful indoors, when buildings block the GPS signal, or for those who want to keep GPS off when low on battery.

Developers have actually been writing with the location programming interfaces needed for Wi-Fi geolocation since BlackBerry 6 released in mid-2010, leaving many location-based apps from RIM itself and others already set to use the option without any work. Phones need to be provisioned to use the service, however, and devices may not see the addition until roughly a month from now.

Android and iOS have had Wi-Fi geolocation for much of their history, in part through early deals such as that Apple made with Skyhook.

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