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June 20, 2005

Positioning System Uses Wi-Fi, Not Satellites

Courtesy of Mobile Pipeline

Skyhook Wireless Monday launched a positioning service that uses Wi-Fi instead of satellites, which it claims will be simpler and less expensive in many environments.

The Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) initially is being rolled out in 25 metropolitan areas, the company said in a statement. It enables the monitoring of any Wi-Fi-enabled device such as smartphones, PDAs and laptops, the company said. The client software access a database of more than 1.5 million WLAN access points in the initial 25 coverage areas, which it uses to calculate location within 40 meters, the company said in a statement.

The company said that the old GPS systems required separate hardware and line-of-site access to satellites. Such systems also are unreliable in some urban aras, according to Skyhook. The WLAN-based location system eliminates those problems.

"With the market set to explode, the applications for Wi-Fi positioning software are endless including search and recovery, E911, proximity advertising, and fleet management,". Skyhook's CEO Ted Morgan said in a statement.

The client software is currently available for Windows Mobile and Windows XP devices and will be available for Palm OS devices later this summer, the company said. The company provided no pricing specifics, saying only that a variety of pricing packages are available and are based on an annual subscription fee and the number of end users.

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