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Technology

Personal GPS in a Mobile Phone 151

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-could-get-fun dept.
i4u writes "NTT DoCoMo announced today that it will introduce it's first Global Positioning Service (GPS)-compatible handset F661i, at the end of April. The GPS mobile phone enables users to determine their location at the touch of a button, and download location specific information via i-mode like graphical maps and other interesting information about the area. This is not like the GPS functionality that the US Phone companies introduced so far. In the US the GPS coordinates are only used for emergencies and not yet for actually providing value to the user in other situations. Users of the F661i can send their current location to other i-mode enabled phones. In addition, a memo function allows users to store location information, including map, telephone numbers and addresses. The phone supports three applications of the GPS functionality: 1)The GPS enabled Phone can be tracked by via a service, useful for instance for parents to track their kids. See also the Wherify GPS Person Locator. 2)Submission of current location in case of emergency to pre-defined organizations, like police, fire departments etc. Similar to the GPS functionality available in the US. 3)The F661i also can be used by businesses to track their delivery trucks and more. Similar to Car GPS devices."
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Personal GPS in a Mobile Phone

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Slap a tracking device on my ass. That's just what the government WANTS me to do! They'll know where I am at all times. Hrm, actually, that might be useful for tracking my alien abductions and lost time...
    • Since in our days most (if not all) companies have given access to law enforcement agencies to their data nodes, giving them the unristricted right to monitor conversations, what will this new device lead us to?
      Having a GPS on your mobile phone will only give your position (with the slight error applied to commercial GPS's) to anybody with access to the data of mobile phone companies.

      and yeah, ive been reading alot of alt.conspiracy, so what ? :)
  • by captainclever (568610) <{moc.relbborcsoidua} {ta} {jr}> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:27AM (#5626448) Homepage
    Tin-foil hat time :)
  • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:28AM (#5626455)
    they'll know exactly where they are when the call for help.
  • Untill you read that list of 3 possible uses. This scare the crap out of anyone else?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What, you're scared of your mom knowing where you are?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      A few comments about all this paranoid knee-jerking:

      1) NEWSFLASH - the authorities can already track you by your mobile phone when you make a call. It is trivial for them to locate you to the nearest cell, and if necessary it is possible for them to be more accurate by triangulating from several receivers. Furthermore, with directional antennas it is possible, using just two receivers to pinpoint you quite accurately. These ideas have been used by the military for years.

      2) I know this is the age old coun
      • Unless you are doing something wrong, why does it matter that people can track you?

        Because there are lots of things that aren't wrong, but are illegal.

      • by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @02:16PM (#5627154) Journal
        Unless you are doing something wrong, why does it matter that people can track you?

        Because there are things which aren't illegal, but not the government's business. Suppose I'm married but carrying on a homosexual affair with my neighbor. Then suppose I'm an activist of some sort (pick your favorite cause for the sake of argument.)

        What sort of temptation would this knowledge of my personal life present to someone in the government to whom I was causing trouble? I'm doing nothing illegal, but by finding out something that could be embarassing to me, they can abuse their power to gain extra-legal power over me, by threating to blackmail me.

        For anyone who thinks this is an overly paranoid scenario over what the government would do, read about the information collected about civil rights activists in the 60's.

        • Actually that homosexual affair is illegal in a lot places. Theres some big court case i was reading about hapening about the constitutionality of sodomy laws.
      • Let's say the employer wants to know who's involved in a union organizing drive.
        '
      • Unless you are doing something wrong, why does it matter that people can track you? I want an answer other than "Just because..."

        You make the fatal assumption that what you consider to be wrong is in line with what the government thinks is wrong. Do you trust their judgment that much, especially after some of the ridiculous pieces of legislation that have been passed in recent years?
    • There are plenty of uses..

      A small business that employs people who go out in the field....Think of this scenario..Small business ABC inc has three employees out in the field servicing TVs. A New Customer calls the ABC inc office and wants urgent service. Which service technician would you send here? If your employees had GPS phones, you could use software that automatically tracks them and tells you which technician is closest to the new customer.

      This may be a contrived example, but you get the idea

      The

  • by Syncroswitch (656450) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:31AM (#5626471)
    Note to posters, a gps does not track you, it tracks the BYRD. to give your location to big brother it must send a signal, such as having your call triangulated, or (evil) it could call out and snitch on you... If they keep combining all the gadgets, Ill only have one multipurpose gadget, thats like geekdom in a thong. NO ONE SHOULD WANT THAT
  • by elmegil (12001) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:31AM (#5626474) Homepage Journal
    If the user of the phone can turn the tracking features off, it's useless for tracking kids.

    If the user of the phone cannot turn the tracking features off, they're just handing "big brother" another tool to track them with.

    • While you have a good point, your first argument isn't entirely accurate. If the tracking features were turned off, the parent would assume that the child was up to no good. However, if they left the cell phone by itself while they went off to have lots of drugs and promiscuous sex, the parent wouldn't have any idea; so it's still worthless.
    • If the user of the phone can turn the tracking features off, it's useless for tracking kids.

      If the user of the phone cannot turn the tracking features off, they're just handing "big brother" another tool to track them with.
      Ah, but if it can be locked 'on' with a passcode to turn it off then the parents can track the kids, and turn if off as they see fit.
    • It might, however, be useful for the likes of hillwalkers and walkers. As long as the user has ultimate control of all GPS functions, then the possiblities are there for a single device instead of a multitude of different devices.

      Tim

      • "It might, however, be useful for the likes of hillwalkers and walkers."

        Sorry, doesn't work that way. Mobile telephones don't work anywhere remote enough to have mountains. Most of scotland you can only get coverage at the very peaks, and although snowdonia and lakes are slightly better, there'll still not be a signal anywhere that you might need mountain rescue (i.e. in a gully or on a scramble)

    • There is always the, "Mom, I need to be picked up at Nancy's." Now mom knows exactly where that is at.

      If a kid didn't want to be tracked? Easy to get around. But if a person did want you to find them, this is a nice feature.

      I fly hot air balloons. Now I use amateur radio to send my location. This would be much more convenient for people tracking me.
  • by Controlio (78666) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:32AM (#5626477)
    All sorts of phones do GPS, my Sanyo 4900 I bought months ago has GPS. Most of all cell phones released in the past 6 months (in the U.S.) do, because its a part of the new E911 initiative. When you dial 911, your phone passes your GPS info to the cell tower, and the cell tower sends you to the local police for the city you're in. They designed the new phones this way so the state police phones don't get bombarded with calls from all over the state... since most of the time they just forward you to a local police department anyways.

    So what's to prevent phones right now from doing mapping? Couldn't someone write up a java applet or some other fuctionality that could do this on existing phones? The worst thing you should need is a minor firmware revision to allow java to access the GPS data.

    I was going to ask this in an Ask Slashdot, but I guess I'll pose it here. Our phones have GPS on them today. Why don't we have mapping and positioning data accessible to us already?
    • Why don't we have mapping and positioning data accessible to us already?

      Because then the phone would have to store the map in its memory. These maps are huge and would take lots of memory, which cell phone companies thus far are not willing to put in for cost purposes.
      • The maps don't take up as much space as you are making out.

        A raster based road map of the whole of Great Britain at 1:200,000 with a pixel size of 40 metres, in a 16 colour paletted image (you don't need more than 16 colours for maps) compressed using LZW (it's in GIF format) comes to just over 16MB. A raster street map of Greater London at 1:10,000 pixel size of 2.6 metres again in 16 colour paletted is a little under 60MB.

        Now lets also check what a 128MB MMC card costs, a mear 35UKP or around $50. So th
        • Now lets also check what a 128MB MMC card costs, a mear 35UKP or around $50.

          Adding $50 to the bill of materials for a phone is *huge*.

          So as far as I can see all they need to do is provide a MMC/SD slot somewhere on the phone.

          Some phones already support MMC cards. The problem is more one of marketing. If you go through the effort of adding mapping support to the handset, you want to be sure that people buying the phone can and will use it - otherwise you've just increased the price of the phone

    • by seinman (463076) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:37AM (#5626501) Homepage Journal
      The difference is that US GPS phones don't have the GPS decoders in them. They just recieve raw data from the satellites, relay it to the tower, where computers at your provider figure out your location and pass it on to 911. There is no way to decode that data within the phone. Apparently, that's what sets this new phone apart from what we already have.
      • That seems so ridiculous -- once you get the timing data, shouldn't it be a piece-of-cake algebraic equation to solve?

        On a related funny note: my Audiovox phone has a GPS receiver, which only finds your location when you call 911. In the instruction manual, where it explains all the deep-nested menu choices, there's one which displays the location last transmitted to 911. However, there was an insert in the manual saying that the option is no longer there.

        It doesn't take much thinking to figure out what w
        • The equation that has to be solved is floating-point.

          The amount of data that has to be dealt with is just enough so that most consumer phones don't have enough CPU to perform the calculation. (This will change soon, already people are wondering if the pseudoranges on the upcoming Kyocera 7135 PalmOS phone will be somehow accessible to developers of applications on the Palm side of the phone.)
      • Well, sort of

        The Motorola i58 and i88 (both available via Nextel) and be set to output NEMA data, then you just have to use that - a lot of programs read NEMA. Here is and article on how to feed that data to a TNC

        http://www.dididahdahdidit.com/nexteltracker.php
        • The Motorola i58 and i88 (both available via Nextel) and be set to output NEMA data, then you just have to use that

          What more, according to my i58sr's manual, Java applications can access data from the GPS. My i58 can even be set to either a)always, b)never, or c)pop up a "yes/no" to allow Java programs to read the GPS location. So yeah, we've already got mapping capability here-- it's just not "standard quipment".

      • With my midlet and a 8.99/month for 250K bytes/month I track and log everywhere my cell phone goes htttp://www.gadgeteer.org
    • Garmin [garmin.com] had a GPS enabled cellular phone on the market for several years, the NavTalk [garmin.com]. They have since discontinued that device. They do have a new GPS phone, the NavTalk GSM [garmin.com]. However, due to the fact that it is GSM and not CDMA it is not an option in the United States.

      • However, due to the fact that it is GSM and not CDMA it is not an option in the United States.

        That's a rather ignorant statement, since 3 of the 5 major cell carriers here in the US use GSM...
        • More like 1 of the 1 "major" cell carriers in the US uses CDMA.

          "major" being defined as "Actually covers 100% of the most densely populated state in the country" - That state being New Jersey.

          AT&T used to be in this category, but their GSM network has nothing on their old D-AMPS (The TDMA variant they used) network coverage-wise.

          Every other carrier can only pull off 50-66% coverage.

          BTW, that one lone carrier that covers all of New Jersey and is the only one that provides service more than two miles
    • Actually, my phone (Motorla t720) claims to be able to support GPS-enable programs that allow it to download local weather info, maps/restaurant/entertainment info and so on, with non-free services, of course. =-\

      Although I haven't specifically tried to use these features (what can I say -- I'm cheap! =-P ), it does seem to be able to disable the full GPS functionality (it's supposed to prompt you if you wish to send your location) or allow e911 service only.
    • That's not exactly what Enhanced 911 is all about. Dialing 911 from your cell phone has always patched you to the correct 911 center (unless the cell tower happens to be close to a border). The major goal of E911 is the tell the emergency operaror where you are located. You can read more about E911 on the FCC website [fcc.gov].

      There are many cell phones currently on the market which have what is called Assisted GPS. As another posted mentioned, Assisted GPS cell phones merely take measurments of the signal stre
      • Hmmm, Assisted GPS (A-GPS). That's mostly the Qualcomm (they bought Snaptrack) isn't it? So, on an A-GPS phone, is there any way to reverse engineer the software which takes the snapshot of the satellites' signal strength, and send that somewhere apart from the mobile network operator's position calculation service (like send it to your home PC which is connected to a full GPS device) to calculate a position? If you could send it somewhere else you wouldn't be restricted to using only GPS-enabled service
    • My Sony Ericcson (prolly spelled wrnog) phone from au here in Japan provides me maps and everything. It was one of au's first models to do it and thus doesnt' support all the features more recent models do. DoCoMo is SLOW to catch up to the other providers here in Japan in this regard. I can also get weather and stuff from it, I think.. but I can't read that part of the menu that well so I never bothered to try. NOT NEWS.

      To one of the child posts: maybe my phone gets its GPS coordinates and sends them t
    • So what's to prevent phones right now from doing mapping?

      Nothing really - take a look at the Garmin NavTalk [garmin.com] for an example of a GSM phone that also provides mapping applications.

      Couldn't someone write up a java applet or some other fuctionality that could do this on existing phones? The worst thing you should need is a minor firmware revision to allow java to access the GPS data.

      The problem you're up against is the amount of memory required to store the map data, and also getting access to specia

  • I'm sure this comes as great news for those of us that are paranoid:

    There was an article in the news here (Israel) a few months ago that said cellular phones already can be used as tracking devices, as long as the battery is in (even if they are turned off). Of course, this can only be used by the cellular networks themselves. (And, I guess, police investigations.)

    I guess the only way to be immune to the government spying powers is to be Amish or something. Or do they have that covered as well?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I guess the only way to be immune to the government spying powers is to be Amish or something. Or do they have that covered as well?

      The CIA has all their cows, horses and butter churns wired. The Amish are subversive, leftist commies and terrorists because they keep to themselves in their secretive communities, pay with cash (or chickens) to hide their nefarious purchases from John Ashcroft, and avoid technology that can track their movements. They obviously have something to hide. When will the governme
  • Not new (Score:3, Informative)

    by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas.dsminc-corp@com> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:35AM (#5626490) Homepage
    Um I have seen and used the Nextel i88 that has built in GPS with directions so how is this new?

    • by cjs (12969)
      No, and it's far from new even in Japan. Au phones have had GPS and mapping applications for over a year now. This is just Docomo playing catch-up.

      This is one of the failings of Slashdot; basic background information tends to be completely left out of "news" stories like this.

      BTW, note that for mapping applications you also want a compass in your phone. GPS doesn't give you orientation information (AFIK--at least it didn't in the Au phones) and thus you otherwise won't see your maps oriented correctly. (A
  • Benefon.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by vjouppi (621333) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:35AM (#5626491)
    The Benefon Esc! has been out for quite some time now (around a year, IIRC).

    http://www.benefon.com/products/esc/index.htm

    Of course from Finland, where the best mobile phones come from. :^)
  • Damn (Score:2, Funny)

    by Timesprout (579035)
    Now my woman will be able to prove I was in the bar and not working late at the office. Is there to be no escape !!!
    • Now my woman will be able to prove I was in the bar and not working late at the office. Is there to be no escape !!

      Solution: leave your phone at work and then get it to forward calls to your secondary cell phone.
  • by defile (1059) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:43AM (#5626520) Homepage Journal

    I hope there's a shakeout in the industry some day. Having investigated developing applications for these devices, I've always been disappointed in that either you need to sign up for some really expensive licenses, use Java (J2ME) which doesn't offer anywhere near the phone's true potential, or you have to deal with a new platform for each phone you come across, even across a single manufacturer's line.

    One day this will stop sucking. Until then...

  • unlike in the US (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Pim (140414) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:45AM (#5626528)
    In the US the GPS coordinates are only used for emergencies and not yet for actually providing value to the user in other situations.

    I can't figure this out. I first saw this feature in a phone over a year ago, and it seems common now. So all the manufacturers have gone to the expense of adding GPS to their phones, yet they don't even include a simple "what are my coordinates" feature in the UI. What are they waiting for?

    • I was wondering about this too, i think in the world of dumb business ideas they figured that the "cost" of writing the software to implement this feature wouldn't be worth it.
    • by alch (30445)
      There are three ways to find out your position in a network. GPS is only one of them. Others do "triangulate" from towers (a little more complex than that). That was one of the requirements of E911 - to be able to find you WITHOUT a special phone.

      The new thing presented in this article is about additional services to be provided (either for a fee or as an incentive to switch). For phones with GPS this is not that special, but for phones without it, access to network bassed positioning services might be pre
      • "Kyocera, Samsung, Qualcomm"

        Qualcomm no longer makes handsets. Their former handset division is now owned by Kyocera. (In fact, many of the first Kyocera phones bore Qualcomm markings in places, as they began their design phase at Qualcomm.)
    • I was wondering the same thing. Then I read this [slashdot.org]. It's probably cheaper to make phones that merely relay GPS data, rather than decode it.
    • The GPS included in many of these phones is not a complete GPS system.

      Specifically, the phone doesn't have enough CPU to obtain a location fix on its own. All AGPS (Assiste GPS) location processing is done by the towers.

      The advantage: It costs MUCH less to implement, since the phone doesn't need all that extra CPU.

      Disadvantage: No user-accessible location fix.
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:45AM (#5626531) Homepage Journal
    If I could use the GPS to track down the theater-goer that hasn't shut off the ringer and execute them in a manner befitting their crimes, I think that I could become an early adopter.

    Let's hear it for technology!

    Next on Ask Slashdot:
    Where are the tools to fight the eventual demise of our liberty?

  • Saved! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arvindn (542080) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:46AM (#5626537) Homepage Journal
    Just when it becomes illegal [slashdot.org] to "conceal the existence or place of origin or destination of any telecommunications service", we are saved by a service that allows us to seamlessly track the caller's location!!!
  • "The GPS enabled Phone can be tracked by via a service, useful for instance for parents to track their kids."
    • Or to track down, and beat the crap out of whoever jacks your phone from you...


    • Or to track down, and beat the crap out of whoever jacks your phone from you...

      Or your car. That'd be an interesting use. Who needs LoJack?
  • by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @11:56AM (#5626566) Journal
    How many bonehead people doing criminal activities via cell phone will purchase these, and then be mystified at how the cops know exactly where they are. I am thinking automatic jail time for being a moron.
  • It's known that for modern networks (GSM, I suppose CDMA too), the providers can easily access the actual location of the phone.

    I don't know with what precision, but I wonder how much precision you really need for the applications they want to provide...

  • I've heard that these new devices with GPS, PDA, pager, and cameras in them might actually be used ... brace yourself ... to make a phone call!

    Although for most of the older population, nothing spells c-o-o-l then sending the GPS coordinates their house, a picture of "fluffy" the cat, paging the only guy on the planet with a pager, and then using those cool notepads to painfully punch in a memo to take their medication latter.

    But hey when the damn thing rings at least it could be a cool tune like, "Cr
    • I have been slowly selling myself on all of the crazy features that they are adding to the handsets, for one simple reason; I carry my phone pretty much everywhere I go, and sometimes, it would be nice to be able to take a quick picture, or get coords for looking at a map, for reference or whatever.

      As far a a PDA goes, no thanks, but then again, I don't know any phone numbers anymore, they are all in my phone. I guess it would suck for me if it broke though

      Lots of people say that they don't like the idea

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @12:00PM (#5626583) Homepage Journal
    benefon [benefon.com]company website of phonemaker that makes such things..

    quick googling..:
    **Benefon Debuts GPS-Enabled Dual-Band GSM Phones

    By Mark Long -- e-inSITE, 7/30/2001**
    http://www.e-insite.net/index.asp?layout=article&a rticleid=CA149613 [e-insite.net]

  • A phone that can track RFID tags or something
    similar that you yourself put in your key fob
    with your carkeys, in your wallet, surgically
    implant in your pets, girlfriend, etc. I think
    this would be a very fast growing and neato
    market.
  • by mcgroarty (633843) <brian.mcgroarty@gmaiLIONl.com minus cat> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @12:09PM (#5626616) Homepage
    This is related to a recent situation in Iraq [alertnet.org] which has involved the confiscation of quite a few journalists' phones. :-)

    I suppose when your enemy is trying to figure out where you are so they can drop bombs and grenades on you, it's best not to have a beacon broadcasting your GPS location!

  • I wonder whether tracking suspected "terrorists" is among the emergency uses for the US companies' GPS receivers?
  • I had the chance to live there for some time and as most people don't realise, most streets don't have names! It is a very complex, un-friendly and confusing way of thinking. (ie: strange for Japan)

    Everything is so dense that finding a friend can be a pain in the butt, believe me.

    Ok ok, I hear all that privacy crap, but who cares? Unless you're some mafia top-dude, who gives a crap about where you are? What do you have to *hide* ?

    Just think about kids being kidnaped or such things. I think the pros ou
  • Another Use (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Efreet (246368)
    Would be to use your phone to leave messages for other people at the same geographic location. Imagine going up to a restuarant, consulting your phone, and seeing that there are a bunch of messages saying how good the food and service is. Just make sure you have a good interface and really good spam filters.
  • All mobile phones sold in the US will be required to have some sort of GPS tracking system. They call it e911 or something. The idea is that if you make an emergency call from your cell phone, the 911 operator should be able to pin point your location to within 2 city blocks.
  • This is bunk... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mondragon (3537)
    I have a Treo 300, and its' GPS capability can be used by Palm applications, so the statement that US phones don't offer positioning information to the user is false. Also, for the paranoid, you can disable palm application access to the GPS unit so that AOL can't track you while you're on Instant Messenger... ;-)
  • by w42w42 (538630) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @12:20PM (#5626662)

    Garmin has a GPS Phone [garmin.com], and being a real GPS manufacturer, they have the software to go with it.

    Better yet for an outdoors enthusiast that wants to communicate with their buddies, check out their Rhino. You can ping your friend, and their location shows up on your map.

    Someone else said it, but I agree. The hardware capabilities are all there in these devices, it's just a matter of getting the software/UI to support it.

  • Little slow on the uptake here, iDEN phones already have GPS builtin and are able to use it for tracking and "employee management" in the i88 (among others) *shrugs*
  • Not exactly the best time to introduce a GPS phone. Since the military is messing everything up for civilians, everyone's phone will be 300 meters off or given random coordinates. But what's 300 meters these days, eh?
  • This is not like the GPS functionality that the US Phone companies introduced so far. In the US the GPS coordinates are only used for emergencies and not yet for actually providing value to the user in other situations


    Um, Nextel has been allowing Java applications access to GPS information for over a year now in the United States.

  • But Garmin's [garmin.com] isn't as small and cute.

    that is pretty sweet - and right when I just bought my own GPS thing.
  • I just bought a GPS so that I could track where I go everyday and then plug it into a computer and map it out - then generating statistical models/maps of that over time.
    Nothing particularly useful - but fun to me.

    I think this phone would make that easier for me - but since I just got a GPS (it is still in the mail on the way here), it makes it hard for me to justify getting this phone - plus I'm not even sure the phone would work for me where I live now and where I'm moving.
  • I'm sorry, people but this was news years ago. Nowadays this is only a part of history..
  • by nsayer (86181) <nsayer@kMONETfu.com minus painter> on Sunday March 30, 2003 @12:55PM (#5626816) Homepage
    The i58sr allows you to run java programs that are GPS-aware and able to use IP networking. There already is at least one outfit using them to sell location-aware fleet dispatching services and stuff.
  • by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @12:59PM (#5626833) Journal
    Yeah, I have to work late tonight.

    No I won't be home for dinner...

    whats that? What am I doing at your sisters house?

    ummmm - must be Russian GPS jamming equipment - damn phone - I guess I'll have to take it in for service.

    I love you too...

  • ?? I'm guessing the answer is no.

    simon
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's going to be kind of hard to call in sick when your boss is going to note that your location is the beach or the golf course.
  • I love cool toys but this is one I'll definitely be boycotting -- any kind of GPS device. The last thing I want is for the US military to be tracking my every move, thanks but no thanks.
    • You will not ever be able to replace your current cell phone if you have one.

      New phones are required to have GPS capability as part of E911 so that your location can be pinpointed by 911 operators.

      Note: According to a few other posters, transmission of GPS information can be disabled for non-911 calls if the user desires.
      • Yeah, I'm hoping that countries outside the USA have the common sense to offer non-GPS phones as I'm not an American resident. Fingers crossed...
  • CDMA cellular networks use GPS receivers at the base station to help keep them all synchronized. Many SprintPCS phones can be put in a debug/service mode (search the web for instructions) where you can see the latitude and longitude of the nearest tower.

    On the other hand, if you need coordinates to give you such a rough idea of where you are, you are probably out of range of the Sprint network. =)
  • by rbrome (175029)
    All of the "GPS-enabled" US cell phones people have mentioned ARE capable of the type of service launched in Japan. It's just that the U.S. carriers haven't launched the services yet.

    If you go into the Settings menu on any recent Sprint or Verizon phone, there's an option for "Location". If you turn it "off", it will tell you that your location is still broadcasted for 911 calls. If you turn it "on", your location is available to your carrier (Sprint or Verizon) at all times, and any other companies you ha
  • I now know what I'm buying the wife for Christmas! ;-)
  • ...my dad's company has been using Nextel phones, combined with java apps [nextel.com] to track his sales employees for the last 2 months.
    Do a google search [google.com] for more info.
  • by FuzzyDaddy (584528) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @02:20PM (#5627168) Journal
    Privacy concerns aside, one thing that would be cool would be if I could call someone, and while talking to them, hit a button to send my location to their phone, so a little arrow could appear on their phone pointing to me.

    That way my co-workers could actually end up eating lunch at the same restaurant.

  • my i88s nextel phone has a GPS reciever and its certainly not a cutting edge device. i don't use them cuz they are cutting edge, i like em cuz they are reliable and they will call me two weeks before my disconnect date to remind me to send them money :)

    granted, my phone won't do all the shiny interactive stuff that this otehr one will, but it isn't new technology and to me not newsworthy.

  • by RHIC (640535) on Sunday March 30, 2003 @03:47PM (#5627672)
    I was looking at various gadgets today, and spotted a GPS receiver PC card, and thought: "That'd be cool to have, so I always know where I am!". This was quickly followed by another though: "...but I know where my room is."
  • I see tons of comment here about Location-Based content on cellular devices (possibly with associated "walled garden" location-based content regimes). Most of these are going to be using network-based Assisted GPS (A-GPS) because it works indoors etc. So, what do you do for Internet-connected devices which aren't on a cellular network and don't have full GPS available? Like 802.11? These technologies could lose out if location-based services aren't available.

    A couple of suggestions:

    1. Some kind of A-GPS c
  • Old news! (Score:2, Informative)

    by samik (32921)

    GPS-enabled phones are nothing new. See these:

    Nokia Communicator GPS module [nokia.com]

    Benefon Esc! [benefon.com]

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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