Broadcom, Skyhook put WiFi location into mobile devices

Silicon giant Broadcom, concluding that mobile devices need more than GPS if they're really going to deliver location-based services, is adding Skyhook Wireless' WiFi positioning software to its multi-purpose chips.

WiFi will add the local element--and the indoors element, as it were--to GPS. If you're standing in the middle of the desert wondering where you are, GPS is great. If you're standing in the canyon of tall buildings in Manhattan, WiFi can give you a better idea because it's likely the GPS view of the satellite is blocked or impeded. And if you're indoors, such as in a shopping mall, WiFi is the only way you'll know where you are and, better yet, what sales are going on in the stores surrounding you. Broadcom's goal is to combine the two capabilities onto a single chip embedded on a mobile device.

Skyhook has developed expertise in the WiFi software and maintains a database of millions of geo-coded WiFi hotspots nationwide. Since Broadcom is embedded in millions of mobile phones, with more coming on line every day, any device with a Broadcom GPS-WiFi chip would be able to tap into that database.

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