Nokia exec: 'Indoor navigation has not panned out as planned'

A move by handset makers to a "less is more" strategy may impact the inclusion of pressure sensors and other sensors in smartphones, said a top Nokia (NYSE:NOK) executive.

Teemu Ramo, senior manager of audio hardware for Nokia Lumia Technology, told attendees at the MEMS Executive Congress Europe, held in Munich, Germany, that the days of chucking everything into a handset are about over.

Smartphone makers increasingly endeavor to include features users want and use, in part to slash component cost and complexity. This is also a reflection of the fact that early smartphone adopters were technophiles who wanted to explore lots of functions, while later adopters will focus more on a basic set of functions, said Ramo, in remarks quoted by EE Times.

He indicated that indoor positioning technologies, in particular, have so far been more useful to product and service vendors than end users.

"Indoor navigation has not panned out as planned. So the pressure sensor may get dropped from the mobile phone. We have to ask: What is the added value for any given sensor," Ramo said.

Pressure sensors in handsets are used for functions such as identifying floors of an office building or multi-level shopping mall.

While indoor navigation has not been a huge success so far, Ramo indicated that there are opportunities for radio beacons, which may provide more positioning accuracy than previously tried technologies for enabling location-based services.

Many beacons, such as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iBeacons, use Bluetooth low-energy (LTE) technology.  ABI Research recently predicted that Bluetooth LE infrastructure deployments will break 20,000 by 2015, with most of the focus on retail.

For more:
- see this EE Times article

Related articles:
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Bluetooth Smart, Wi-Fi raise the hackles of privacy advocates
Apple's iBeacon sensor technology gets another vote of confidence for use in location-based services
Apple iBeacon vs. NFC: Where location-based apps are headed

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