Skyhook SDK for Android touts always-on location finding without the battery hit (video)

Enabling persistent location in a third-party mobile app isn't always easy -- it usually requires either cautious uses of updates, like iOS 5's geofencing, or an acceptance that there will inevitably be a knock to the battery life while it's running. Skyhook doesn't want there to be any compromise, at least on Android: an update to its developer kit has rolled in an Always-On location option that theoretically represents the best of both worlds. Third-party app writers can opt for position refreshes as quick as 30 seconds apart, if that birthday gift reminder needs just that many updates, but will supposedly face "little to no noticeable impact" on how quickly users' smartphones sip energy. We like the idea of guilt-free GPS, and there's even an airplane tracking mode for when you just have to check into Foursquare from 30,000 feet in the air. Developers can start working on the option today; until implementations reach the wild, everyone else will have to make do with a clip of the airplane tracking feature after the break.

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Skyhook Introduces Always-On Location With Unmatched Power Management For Persistent Location

Groundbreaking New Airplane Mode Tracks Location During Online Flights

Boston, MA - July 18, 2012 - Skyhook today introduced new Always-On location capabilities in the latest 4.6 version of its mobile SDK. As mobile app developers explore sophisticated new use cases for leveraging persistent background location, the user implications of poor power management have become obvious. Social apps want to monitor location constantly to alert when friends are nearby, deals apps want to push deal notifications to you as you pass by a participating merchant and task management apps want to remind you to pick up the milk when you pass a grocery store.

During SXSW this year, smartphone users felt the pain of poor background location systems when their phones ran out of battery within hours. Many deleted the show's most talked-about apps due to battery issues alone. Skyhook's new Always-On features allow apps to check user location (on an opt-in basis) as often as every 30 seconds throughout the day, with little or no noticeable impact on the device's battery life.

"Locale's advanced artificial intelligence manages settings automatically. For example: arrive at work and instantly your ringer silences, your wallpaper snaps to that scenic Caribbean photo, and Wi-Fi switches on. My users demand accurate background location that doesn't drain the battery," said Carter Jernigan, CEO of two forty-four a.m. "Skyhook's new background location features will help us add to what we have already done to save battery power."

In addition, Skyhook's new version includes a novel airplane-tracking feature that allows apps to seamlessly use location even at 40,000 feet. Not only is this incredibly valuable for social networking apps, but Skyhook partners are also actively working on virtual pilot apps, which provide information about places as you fly over. Instead of having pilots identify points of interest to passengers via the intercom, now passengers can follow their flight's progress and explore areas beneath the plane within augmented reality apps that use Skyhook. Watch a real track video of the new airplane mode here

"Skyhook's new in-flight location is an exciting new opportunity for our location sharing app Glympse," said Bryan Trussel, CEO of Glympse. "Our goal is to allow our users to share their location with friends and family regardless of where they are."

"Skyhook continues to lead the way in terms of new uses of location on mobile devices," said Maggie Taylor, marketing manager of Skyhook. "We developed these features after consulting our app developer partners, so they are entirely based on the user demand for new location use cases."