Tele Atlas has just announced that over the next five years they’ll be providing Google with all of the mapping info they suck up through the satellites, along with everything they’ve already piled up. This means that fancy Google Maps app for BlackBerry with the newfangled transit info will have a healthy booster shot of photos and information. Tele Atlas has done a lot of good work with mobile GPS applications, and partnering with Google is solid step to doing more.
I’m not sure what all this fuss is over Web 2.0, especially since BlackBerry Cool has been Web 5.1 since at least early 2007. However, our good friends at Tele Atlas have announced today the findings from their “LBS and Web 2.0 Impact Survey” conducted at the recent Web 2.0 Expo. What are the pertinent deets? A whopping 92% of web developers and professionals believe that LBS represents a considerable business opportunity, and 48% percent indicated that they planned to offer an application with location capabilities within the next year.
Hmm… People keep talking about LBS being the next killer app, but Tele Atlas’ data seems to indicate that the web is finally serious about it. What will that mean? Now that he’s on vacation, how about a “Where in the world is Simon Sage” GPS tracker? Or maybe fun contests on Alcatraz Island using GPS-enabled BlackBerrys? Hmm…
Remember our Weekly Contest for Tele Atlas’ Maps in Apps contest? It was an attempt to get developers to pump out some quality location-based apps for handhelds. After displaying the winners at CTIA, the voting got all wrapped up, with GPShopper ending on top. GPShopper was an app for mobile designed for localized product searches which not only pinpoints stores that have what you’re looking for in stock, but also how to get there and share the location with friends. Pretty cool software, and we hope to see it on BlackBerry real soon.
Tele Atlas, the fine folks who do BlackBerry Maps, are in the process of being bought. Fellow Dutch navigation company, TomTom, had already put about $3 billion on the table, but now that GPS heavyweight Garmin has stepped up, it looks like a bidding war is going to ensue. Both TomTom and Garmin have experience on handhelds, and can potentially bring some new stuff to BlackBerry Maps, but it’s more likely that Tele Atlas will keep doing what they do best, regardless of who owns them.
“Given the high growth and rapid change the navigation market has undergone to date, we feel that now is the right time for Garmin to move ahead with this proposed combination with Tele Atlas,” Garmin Chief Executive Min Kao.
You might remember that we talked with Darrin Wilkey from Tele Atlas not too long ago about their Maps in Apps contest, which challenged developers to bring innovative and new location-based software to the table. Next week, they’re showcasing the three finalists at CTIA, and since we cover a fair bit of LBS news here at BBCool, we thought you guys would like to take a look at the potential winners and their Flash trailers.
First up, we have Slifter, a GPS-based shopping guide which helps you find the stores that have the stuff you’re looking for. Slifter can help you compare prices, generate a shopping list send information to friends, and even get you directions to the stores you want. The next finalist is PhoneTag Elite, a game where you’re assigned other, live players as targets and it’s your job to capture them. You have to be within a certain distance of your target to do so, but but the closer you get, the the bigger the prize. Spend your hard-won cash on spy gear to take down tougher targets. Last, but not least, we have Hollywood USA, which lets you access a database of real-world movie locations and how to get to them from your current location. This is a surefire winner for traveling film buffs, and Cutlass’ database of movies is ever-expanding.
I have a confession to make: although I’m really interested in the future of GPS, and I excitedly follow all the latest news in LBS, I have yet to really incorporate it into my life. The reason? I haven’t (yet) seen an LBS application that makes so much sense for my lifestyle that I’d be stupid not to use it. That’s why BlackBerry Cool has been so intrigued by Tele Atlas’ Maps in Apps developer contest (officially announced earlier this week), which almost seems specifically designed to make me happy by helping to create the LBS application I always hoped to want. We had the very awesome opportunity last week to talk to Tele Atlas’ Darrin Wilkey about GPS, their Innovator Series, and what RIM is doing to help grow LBS.
BBCool: So what’s the big deal about GPS and LBS?
Darrin Wilkey: When you look at mapping, it’s really become a part of our everyday lives. Think about how many new cars have navigation systems. There’s been incredible growth in the personal navigation device market. Think about how ubiquitous maps are with the Internet. It’s really a part of our overall lifestyle and the way we get things done. An interesting thing is that from an install base perspective; some analysts are estimating that by 2010 there will be 30 million in-vehicle navigation systems in use, and the personal navigation market could get up to 100 million.
BBCool: Wow, that’s, over 3 times the population of Canada.