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Skyhook Woos Developers With Wi-Fi-Based Alternative To GPS

The Global Positioning System is getting some competition and mobile phone developer networks may feel the heat, too.

Skyhook Wireless tomorrow plans to introduce the Skyhook Developer's Network at O'Reilly Media Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, Calif.

The three-year-old wireless company, backed by Bain Capital, Intel Capital, and Nokia Innovent, aims to woo developers of location-based services with free access to its metro-area position system, which relies on Wi-Fi signals rather than GPS signals to compute a user's location.

Skyhook Wireless' Wi-Fi Position System (WPS) takes advantage of the ubiquity of Wi-Fi access points in urban areas and is able to compute the location of a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device in less than a second. According to the company, "WPS has no line of sight requirements, is accurate to within twenty meters and can be used indoors or outdoors to determine location in seconds."

WPS is currently active in the top 100 U.S. metropolitan areas and Skyhook expects its coverage to reach 70% of the U.S. population by the end the year.

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