"Fact is, location-based services (LBS) aren't a hollow promise anymore, with the proliferation of GPS, advanced mapping and fast mobile Internet connection speeds."
To my mind, it's the loosening of the operators grip on location data which has led to a growth in LBS applications over the last year. This has happened in a few ways:
- GPS is commoditising, just like cameras did. It moves control over location data from the operator to the customer (not a bad thing in itself), and removes the pricing structures (10p per-lookup here in the UK) which operators levied before;
- Lots of organisations (most visibly Google and Apple) are doing just-good-enough LBS using cell IDs, building their own cell-ID-to-location databases. Again - the operator is routed around in this world; they might have access to more accurate location of their customers, but the price for this incremental accuracy is evidently not worth the price being charged for it;
After a few months using an iPhone or an N82, the idea of a static map which can't tell you where you are already seems oddly quaint.