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May 20, 2008

The future is knowing where you’re going

SAN FRANCISCO, USA – Last week, Nokia’s head of location-based activities, Michael Halbherr, told Reuters that Nokia is on track to have half of its devices shipping with GPS by 2012. That’s just four years away. Right now there are five GPS devices with four more due out in the coming months. That means a lot is going to change in the next couple of years.

It’s always been the case that technology first rolled out in high end devices like the N95 will eventually filter down to lower, mass market, phones. I recently bought my wife a 6300 classic. It’s a really nice device and although a bit too lacking in functionality for my needs, it has way more than my wife needs, or wants.

That said, she’s starting to explore it and in time she’ll probably be wanting more. She’s a big satnav user in the car, but hasn’t yet made the connection between that and having satnav in her pocket. Her contract will be up for renewal in a year or so and I reckon by then she’ll be screaming out for a GPS-enabled device. It makes complete sense.

Start wrapping in geo-tagging photos, automatic online sharing via Ovi, tied into contacts and calendar info and suddenly things take on a different perspective. I’m not quite there yet, my photos aren’t geotagged and apart from the occasional search for an address on Maps via my address book, my apps are totally independent of each other. In another year, things might be different. Which means by 2012, my wife might have caught up.

Location-based services are definitely looming and the difference they could make to our daily lives are huge. At the N95 launch in New York in late 2006 we were told that with Maps, you’ll be able to send landmarks to your friends and, if they’re running Maps on their device, they’ll be able to see where you’re going to meet. Or, even better, they’ll be able to track you real time on screen. Which would be very cool. Though, I’m not sure I’d really want to let my wife have access.

Photo by Nic McPhee