LBS nation, we have good news! The Wi-Fi® geolocation service officially launched on September 9th, 2011. This in-house technology at Research In Motion® (RIM®) uses Wi-Fi Access Point data that’s been collected anonymously by your BlackBerry® smartphone to provide a quick and accurate location fix to location-aware applications globally. This service is a further enhancement to our Cell-site geolocation service, which has been in service globally for more than a year.
Unlike GPS-based location fixes, this service offers a faster and more convenient way for developers to get location fixes via a secure connection with minimum bandwidth usage. Although the accuracy of this service is lower than GPS, it’s higher than Cell-site geolocation, and the speed is expected to be much faster than GPS. One advantage to Wi-Fi geolocation service is that it typically works even when GPS is not available. For example, when a user is indoors or when a user prefers not to turn their GPS on in order to preserve battery life, Wi-Fi geolocation service is still an option.
The APIs needed to acquire Wi-Fi geolocation fixes have been available since the BlackBerry® 6 OS release; therefore, all devices running the BlackBerry 6 OS and higher are able to leverage this service via existing APIs upon provisioning of this service. Please note that service provisioning may take up to a month from the launch date, so we’re asking for your patience and understanding if it doesn’t start working immediately. For APIs and other relevant technical details, please refer to the KB article Location APIs – Start to finish. You can also leverage Simple Location API if you want to get a head-start by skipping the full details.
I am really excited about this service as it opens up a lot of possibilities for innovation and great apps. Let us know when you integrate your app with this service, and let us know how it goes!