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A lot of folks have high hopes for the new location services with GPS coming on iPhone 3G. I’m reserving judgement. Having been a GPS user for some time, including using phone based GPS on various Nokia devices and the Blackberry 8310, I’m just not that excited.
The most exciting location tool I’ve seen in a long long time was the simple tower triangulation that was done in iPhone 1.0. Why? Because it was fast enough. Yes, it wasn’t accurate. But it was fast enough to instantly show me the location of the nearest starbucks, for example. GPS just isn’t that fast. Moreover, I don’t need 3m of precision to find a coffee shop and I don’t have the patience to wait a minute or more for the GPS fix.
So here’s a modest proposal. Why not progressively render location? Give me the near instantaneous cell tower fix when I start a location consuming app. Then, while I’m using the application, acquire the satellite fixes in the background and present me with better precision data if I want it.
GPS is perfect for navigation. But if you just want an instantaneous locate, it’s probably overkill for many applications.