Will Microsoft & Nokia Win the Indoor Mapping War?

Global positioning services are one of the most popular additions to smartphones in recent years. Google and Bing maps see millions of hits each month for people using their services, but one of the biggest fallacies revolving around GPS is that it just doesn’t work that well indoors. Both Google and Microsoft are poised to offer a new location aware service called indoor mapping.

These services will help when you find yourself in a large, unfamiliar space such as a mall or an airport. Google has been the first of the major players to release indoor mapping through its My Location update for maps, which allows Android users to pinpoint their location indoors. The service is in its infancy and supports only a few locations, but you can bet both Microsoft and Nokia aren’t resting on their laurels.

Both Microsoft and Nokia are hard at work on their own indoor mapping. Bruce Krulwich, the founder of Grizzly Analytics believes that indoor mapping will make up one of the big ticket items for Microsoft’s Tango update. Microsoft is currently researching how to determine location by using radio beacons that can analyze WiFi signals. Aside from research in these particular area, Microsoft holds several patents related to indoor positioning using various services such as device moment, radio signals, and wireless access points.

Nokia’s system is slightly different from Microsoft’s and can be seen being demonstrated in the video below:

So if Nokia and Microsoft can get an indoor mapping solution out of the door before Google can refine its service, would this give the WP7 operating system a leg up in the mobile market? Quite possibly, since Windows Phone is just as user-friendly as an iPhone if not more so.


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