RIM Updates BlackBerry with Geolocation Service

Posted by at 2:12 pm on July 19, 2010

RIM today caught up to smartphone rivals by adding a geolocation service, called the  BlackBerry Application Platform Locate Service,  to its phones. The approach lets BlackBerries find their position without needing a true GPS unit. Like most other devices, they can use cell site triangulation to get a reasonable position when GPS either isn’t present or is blocked.

The feature is also faster and could be useful for BlackBerry apps that only need a general idea of the phone’s location to get nearby points of interest. Any app using geolocation can switch over to GPS to get a more accurate position lock if needed.

Using the feature requires BlackBerry OS 5 or later with a carrier that allows for it, which virtually all North American providers do.

The change partly addresses one of the most common complaints of navigation on BlackBerries. Without any other assists, the devices have typically taken far longer to get their position than competitors. Android and iPhone devices often have locks within seconds as they often use both triangulation and Wi-Fi to get a rough fix before settling in.

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