AT&T just announed they will support A-GPS or assisted GPS which is a technology which utilizes the best of the GPS and cellular worlds allowing faster and more accurate postition tracking. GPS while fairly accurate, can take minutes to initialize and requires a fairly strong signal to work accurately. Quite often in fact, GPS does not work indoors or in areas where there is dense foliage.
A-GPS assisits GPS by allowing the cellular network to tell the device generally where it is located meaning the GPS receiver can narrow down its search for sattelites which in turn means faster and more accurate positioning results.
In a press release, AT&T explains it will further launch two new navigation applications in coming weeks — MapQuest Navigator and AAA Mobile Navigator. The new applications add to the company’s AT&T Navigator and AT&T Navigator Global Edition offerings.
Depending on how the public responds to this echnology, it is possible A-GPS will replace GPS as a technology meaning most GPS devices will have assistance from cellular towers. If this happens, it will add to the logic of a company like Nokia purchasing Navteq — the company providing digital map information to many GPS devices.
In addition, we can expect more service providers to roll out A-GPS as they look to monetize local search as they compete with Google. In fact, service providers have an opportunity of a lifetime to embed themselves in the local search business before companies like Google and Yahoo take it over.
The question is whether partners like AAA, Zagats and others will be strong enough partners to help providers worldwide compete with Google when customers are searching for local restaurants, department stores and more.