LightSquared has asked NASA’s inspector general to investigate whether or not an advisor to federal agencies has conflicts of interest that make it unfair for him to determine whether or not LightSquared’s 4G LTE network interferes with GPS networks. The advisor was named as Bradford Parkinson, who works both as a vice chairman of Trimble Navigation, an industry board that advises federal agencies on GPS technology, and also as a Stanford University professor, The Wall Street Journal said Friday. “His involvement on both has been known by everyone involved since concerns of GPS interference by LightSquared were raised,” a GPS coalition spokesperson Dale Leibach told The Wall Street Journal. Read on for more. More →
LightSquared on Tuesday issued a letter to the Federal Communications Commission ostensibly demanding approval to build out its 4G LTE network. LightSquared executive vice president of regulatory affairs and public policy Jeff Carlisle argued that the GPS industry has had almost 10 years to address issues that cause GPS satellite signals to partially transmit on spectrum that LightSquared has licensed. The letter was written in response to an announcement earlier this week from federal officials, stating that they were still concerned about interference LightSquared’s network causes with GPS equipment after conducting a new investigation into the matter. “LightSquared has had FCC authorization to build its network for over eight years and that authorization was endorsed by the GPS industry, and fully reviewed and allowed to proceed by several other government agencies,” Carlisle wrote in the letter. “Commercial GPS device-makers have had nearly a decade to design and sell devices that do not infringe on LightSquared’s licensed spectrum. They have no right to complain in the eleventh-hour about incompatibility when they had ample opportunity to avoid this problem.” A link to LightSquared’s full letter follows below. More →
LightSquared’s intentions to build a brand new 4G LTE network has gained nationwide attention, but over the past few months the attention has been turned to the network’s tendency to interfere with GPS devices. On Thursday, federal officials said they were still concerned about GPS interference despite a number of measures LightSquared has taken to address those issues. The company announced in late October that it worked with PCTEL to develop a new antenna that “[resolves] concerns over high precision GPS receivers.” Unfortunately, the Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation still see an interference problem with the network. Read on for more. More →
TeleNav just announced that the company will soon introduce a brand new voice-guided GPS navigation service for use in mobile apps and web sites. The innovative navigation solution will be HTML5-based and it will include spoken turn-by-turn directions. By using one line of code, TeleNav will provide free navigation to any mobile app or mobile web site, supplanting the need in many cases for something static like Google Maps. TeleNav let us know that this service will be free even for non-TeleNav subscribers, which is amazing if you think about it. The service will be launching “early next year,” though developers can start testing the service starting today. TeleNav’s full press release is included after the break. More →
Google has announced a new privacy option that allows users to opt out of having their wireless routers included in the Google Location Server. That’s right, you have to opt out, not in. Here’s how Google Location Server works: when you’re walking around town trying to figure out your location using your smartphone and Google Maps, your phone can either use GPS or a faster, more battery efficient method that determines your location based on local wireless networks. Google maintains a database of local wireless access points but, if you don’t want to be included in it, you can simply change your router SSID (the network name that you broadcast) to include “_nomap” at the end of the access point name. Once you’ve done that, Google will not include your wireless access point in its Google Location Server database. “As we explored different approaches for opting-out access points from the Google Location Server, we found that a method based on wireless network names provides the right balance of simplicity as well as protection against abuse,” Google’s global privacy counsel Peter Felischer said in a blog post. “Specifically, this approach helps protect against others opting out your access point without your permission.” More →
LightSquared announced on Thursday that, in cooperating with PCTEL, it has developed a new antenna that will help “resolve concerns over high precision GPS receivers.” LightSquared’s 4G LTE network, which will be deployed in the 1600MHz frequency spectrum with Sprint, has been found to interfere with the frequencies used by GPS and personal navigation systems. The new antenna helps alleviate those concerns, despite speculation that a fix could require billions of dollars and take upwards of a decade. “PCTEL has developed GPS antenna solutions that have solved a variety of interference issues that others said were unsolvable,” LightSquared executive vice president Martin Harriman said. “Their wideband antenna provides an efficient and elegant solution for thousands of high precision device users.” The new solution will soon undergo testing with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as well as with the Federal Communications Commission. Read on for the full press release. More →
Microsoft has updated its Windows Phone platform to address what is now presumed to have been a bug that caused phones to gather location data before a user opted in to such services. Windows Phone developer Rafael Rivera last week revealed that Microsoft’s mobile platform was exhibiting behavior that directly contradicted earlier claims the company made to the United States government. Microsoft’s new “Mango” update, however, appears to have remedied the matter. Read on for more. More →
Apple has repeatedly accused Samsung of “copying” its products, but it looks like Microsoft is now the one following Apple’s lead. A class action lawsuit filed in Seattle on Wednesday accuses Microsoft of unlawfully tracking users of smartphones that run the company’s emerging Windows Phone 7 operating system. According to the complaint, the camera application in Microsoft’s Windows Phone software continues to track users’ locations and transmit that data to Microsoft even if users opt-out of Windows Phone’s tracking and feedback functions. The class action suit seeks an injunction as well as punitive damages. Earlier this year, Apple was caught tracking iPhone and iPad users’ locations and storing them in a hidden file on the devices. Apple would go on to state that the issue was caused by a bug, and the Cupertino-based company quickly issued a software update to remedy the problem. Numerous complaints were filed as a result of the scandal however, and while damages have been minimal so far, several cases are still outstanding. More →
Apple has big plans for location services according to a new job listing posted by the Cupertino, California-based company. In a listing for a new “OS QA Location Engineer,” Apple said the candidate will “join a dynamic team responsible for qualifying the latest iOS products, working on exciting new features for iOS location services.” The job also requires “familiarity with GPS, A-GPS, LBS, or navigation algorithms” and “experience with cellular technologies.” Apple has already said that it wants to “radically improve” its current iOS Maps application, which we would argue certainly needs an update, so it is possible the job could be on that team. In addition, Apple included a new location-based Reminders application inside iOS 5, which will launch to the public in the fall. Perhaps the company has similar ideas in store. More →
Apple has been fined by South Korea’s telecommunications regulator following the “Locationgate” scandal that caused public outrage earlier this year, Dow Jones reports. This marks the second time Apple has had to pay penalties resulting from the iOS location-tracking snafu. A South Korean lawyer sued Apple and was awarded $1 million won, or approximately $945 at the time, by a court this past June. It was discovered in April that the iPhone and some iPad models were secretly tracking users and storing their locations in a local file. Apple determined that a software bug was responsible for the collection of location data, and it promptly issued a fix. The damage had already been done, however, and lawsuits were filed. Apple’s prompt attention to the matter likely limited the damage, and Wednesday’s fine levied by the Korea Communications Commission is the first penalty we’ve seen issued by a regulatory body. So what’s the damage this time around? $3 million won, or approximately $2,829. More →
Following the “Antennagate” scandal that cost Apple zero sales last year, a new “Locationgate” scandal took the media by storm earlier this year that ultimately cost Apple zero sales. It was discovered in late April that the iPhone and 3G-equipped iPads were secretly tracking and storing users’ locations. Apple issued a statement seven days later, claiming the culprit was a bug that would be addressed as soon as possible. Apple also said that it does not track its users or their locations. Some people tend to take things more personally than others — or perhaps they’re out for a quick buck — so lawsuits were inevitable. Thus far, just one single complaint related to Locationgate has resulted in a payout from Apple, and it was awarded to South Korean man Kim Hyung-suk this past May, Reuters reports. What was the damage? 1 million won, which translates to a whopping $945. Kim, a lawyer, said Apple sent the payment last month. More →
TomTom on Monday lowered its 2011 financial outlook again as consumer interest in dedicated navigation devices dwindles. Despite beating second-quarter revenue estimates, the Dutch company cut its full-year revenue guidance to €1.23 – €1.28 billion from its previously forecasted range of between €1.43 billion and €1.48 billion. This marks the second time this year that TomTom has lowered its 2011 guidance — the company had already reduced its full-year revenue forecast this past April. TomTom made a name for itself selling sleek Personal Navigation Devices that could be mounted in any car to provide the user with voice-guided GPS navigation. Following the emergence of smartphone-based solutions over the past few years, however, dedicated navigation companies like TomTom and Garmin have not been able to recover business lost to free solutions like Google Maps and inexpensive paid mobile solutions such as those offered by CoPilot and TalaNav. TomTom does offer a series of mobile applications, but the relative high price points and the flood of competition have proven to be difficult barriers. More →
We’re back with another one and this time it’s thanks to TeleNav, our launch partner for our new podcast series. Want to get your hands on the hottest tablet on the planet, which is still sold out almost everywhere? Here’s how you can enter to win:
- First of all, make sure to check out our very first podcast with information on the giveaway!
- Install the free GPS by TeleNav app on your iPhone or your Android smartphone and start the 30-day trial.
- Leave a comment below letting us know your feedback on the podcast, your thoughts on the TeleNav app, or why you’d like to win a brand new iPad 2.
The content will run for one week until July 4th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. For official terms and conditions click here.
P.S. You can also follow @TeleNav on Twitter, along with the @BGR team at @boygenius, @zacharye and @robotodd!