Tuesday, December 05, 2006

LBS Is for Everyone

Contrary to popular belief, carriers (Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the U.S.) have opened up their LBS platforms to the developer community. In this post I focus on Verizon Wireless’ LBS platform and publicly available Brew API. For more detailed information you may look at this presentation that was given at the Brew 2006 Developers Conference.

The Brew API is also publicly available. Through use of this API information that is available to applications through the ILpsPosDet extension for GPS is latitude, longitude, and altitude, among other information; through the same extension, one can also get the system ID, Network ID, Base Station ID and other information.

So why do some developers find themselves unable to tap into these platforms? The costs to do it could be significant and are often times unplanned for. Developers must first pay a fee to join the Brew developer community and gain access to all the proper development tools, such as the Brew SDK. Besides development expenses developers will also incur the costs to certify their application. This certification must take place for each device platform (add this to the porting expenses). Finally, carriers take a share of their revenues once the application is commercialized.

In summary, it is not that operators keep their platforms closed. But given the economics, many developers feel as if that were the case.