Mobile Future

No sense of direction…

If you’re like me, and your sense of direction doesn’t always lead you in the right direction, you’ll be interested to hear about the innovative ways that GPS is entering the cellular world.

Nokia has just announced its acquisition of Navteq, a leading digital map provider in the United States.  Navteq, which provides maps, can already be found in most in-car and portable GPS systems and, with this deal, they will find their way into the hands of about a billion cell phone users.

Instead of relying on government maps, Navteq hires its own teams to drive around recording and collecting data – making their maps very accurate and reliable. But, imagine how much more accurate and reliable they will become when a billion cell phone users are contributing to the process! 

Navteq CEO, Green, said, "a cell phone could also be a live probe, noting that real-time data about how quickly a handset is moving could provide clues as to the speed of traffic in an area."

The future of GPS and location-based content is really taking off. The research firm, Gartner, predicts that global subscribers to this kind of service will reach, "43.2 million in 2008 and hit almost 300 million in 2011." Soon, you could be walking around in a foreign city and your phone, which knows where you are, will deliver restaurant recommendations and points of interest.

By downloading a cell phone application called, Bones in Motion, athletes are already using such GPS technology to aid in their training. For example, runners can use this application to not only track distance run, speed, and calories burned, but also such information as weather conditions and difficulty.  All this can then be uploaded and stored as a running log.

If this isn’t enough, GPS and location-based technology has even made it to the canine world. A few companies are in the early stages of developing a tracking system which monitors the location of your dog, sending you a warning text message if your dog leaves a designated zone.

Then there’s my favorite one. A program called, Superhero, by, tracks lost or misplaced cell phones. You can even program your phone to ring, "I’ve been stolen," or "Take me home," if it goes missing!

Maybe your sense of direction is better than mine, but there are clearly multiple benefits to having a GPS-enabled cell phone.