Thursday, July 5, 2012

Amazon developing Android Smartphone; Will it use Skyhook Location Positioning Service?

The handset will be based on the Android operating system, however, it will not be controlled by Google — similar to Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Just like with the Kindle Fire, Amazon is making their own version of an Android phone. This means no Google apps like Google Maps, as well as no Google's services, like its WiFi and Cell triangulation location positioning services. Because Android is open source, Amazon can take the Android code and use it however they please. We think Skyhook is a likely solution for the location positioning service.  Skyhook is already enabling several LBS apps on the Fire tablet including MapQuest, HopStop, Kayak, etc. Skyhook is not native on the device, however, we think with the Amazon smartphone, and next generation of Kindle Fire tablets, Skyhook will be natively embedded on the device.

Skyhook’s software, which enables a device to determine location by calculating its distance from Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers, was and is being used by major OEMs, including Apple (on the original iPhone). Skyhook can deliver up to 20-50m location accuracy, indoors and outdoors, and is working on more precise indoor location.

Skyhook powers location on tens of millions of devices worldwide and Skyhook's network processes over 400 million location requests daily. With that, Skyhook has build a pretty comprehensive WiFi and CellID database in North America, Europe, which should be appealing to Amazon. In addition, Skyhook is increasing its coverage in Asia and South America.  The other options for Amazon is to use Navizon, or to build its own Wifi location service (WiFi probes collection on its devices; database, etc). 

Skyhook might also offer its other technology to Amazon, specifically SpotRank, a data mining and intelligence service that predicts the density of people in predefined urban square-block areas worldwide at any hour, any day of the week. Amazon and its advertisers could use this behavioral intelligence data to serve highly targeted location-based content and ads.