Saturday, September 05, 2009

Loopt: don't be fooled by their iPhone location feature

Nobody has ever signed up for the service, but for $15 a month AT&T will provide location tracking for any phone. It's hard to imagine how crummy this must be, which is why you'll only find out about this if you study your phone options.

By contrast MobileMe will track your iPhone using the built in GPS device supplemented by WiFi location sniffing and cell tower triangulation.

If you aren't a slave to Apple you may have a phone that works properly with Latitude, enabling free location tracking.

Which brings us to Loopt ...
Daring Fireball Linked List: Loopt Now Optionally Updates Your Location Continually

... Via a deal with AT&T, Loopt — a location-based social networking service — can now track and update the location of your iPhone even when the Loopt app isn’t running.

... This is a server-to-server system between Loopt and AT&T. ... it’s a $4 per month addition to your AT&T bill.
It looks like AT&T is enabling Loopt to do for $4/month what AT&T wants $15/month for. Seems like a steep discount, but AT&T isn't doing any of the app development or support and nobody was buying AT&T's product anyway.

In addition to costing about $50 a year (MobileMe is about the same price) the Loopt service can't use the phone's GPS -- it's relying on cell tower triangulation. So the accuracy will be good in dense urban areas, poor in areas with fewer towers.

MobileMe seems like the better option, except, bizarrely but typically, Apple doesn't provide any location sharing option with MobileMe.


FCC, please continue to pummel Apple.

1 comment:

Dylan said...

John, you brought up the $3.99 per month cost of Loopt after the trial phase and it got me to thinking about the significant effect a bunch of apps can have on a cell bill. The Loopt app itself sounds great, but in an economy where most of us are trying to tightly budget, I think it's important that we not sign up for too many subscription apps and forget they're there until it's too late and the inflated bill is in our hands in front of us. in light of that, I wanted to add that I can speak to reducing cell bills in particular. I suppose my point here is that moderation and effective bill management are crucial. To that point, I'll also add that I work in the consumer advocacy division of the company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, . Put simply, Validas guards against the frivolous and unnecessary charges that over-inflate an estimated 80 percent of cell bills. You can find out for free if can modify your plan to better suit your individual needs by going to the website.

For more info, check out Validas in the new media, most recently on Fox News at .

Good luck to everyone reading on cutting your wireless costs, and enjoy those apps that are worth it.

Consumer Advocacy,