We have heard cell tower APIs were coming to BlackBerry for some time now and RIM has made good on the promise. RIM has introduced a new geolocation feature of the Locate Service which should really come in handy for developers making LBS apps. The new Geolocation service uses cell towers to gather quick location information and deliver it to applications. Since no GPS is required, developers can grab location in areas with no GPS coverage.
While the data isn’t as exact as GPS, it’s specific enough to get general points of interest as well as the app can kick in GPS to get more detailed information if needed.
The Geolocation service joins existing capabilities in the Locate Service for the BlackBerry Application Platform, which include:
- Reverse geocoding capabilities enable applications to convert a user’s latitude and longitude to an address
- Integration with BlackBerry Maps Service offers a variety of app features, ranging from navigation directions to POI recommendations. BlackBerry Maps Service compliments Locate Service by providing map displays that can be invoked or embedded to indicate a user’s location
The service requires BlackBerry device software v5.0 or higher and a wireless plan with a carrier that supports these capabilities.