Mobile LBS market finally showing up

After years of the mobile LBS market being bubbling under the surface, this Spring/Summer 2007 looks like it might finally open up.

This morning Research in Motion announced a new API for their Blackberries that includes support for API for J2METM">JSR 179, the Location API for J2ME. Blackberries have had GPS chips for awhile, RIM even had a competition last year to create an LBS. However, I think this is the first time the API has been publicly debuted. They also released a mapping API via Blackberry Maps (not sure what they are yet)

In addition to the LocationAPI, RIM's APIs also added a lot of other functionality for XML parsing, multimedia, camera, and file system. Definitely building a nice mobile-computing system.

That now adds to the upcoming FIC/OpenMoko Neo1973 which has a GPS chip and agpsd for location based applications, the Apple iPhone, uLocate's WHERE Widgets for Sprint phones, the Nokia N800 and N95, both with location support via WiFi/GPS.

There have been a lot of mobile location based games, and services. But now that the API's are becoming open and very easy to use (with the potential exception of Apple's iPhone), small/independent developers can really produce innovative and interest applications for the devices. These mobile platforms serve as great devices for both publishing (geoblogging, geophotos, geotagging) and consuming (georss, kml) information from the geostack.

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Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.