Apple buys WiFi-location startup

Mar 25, 2013 by Peter Svensson

Apple has bought WiFiSLAM, a startup that has been developing a way to use WiFi hotspots to help smartphones navigate large indoor spaces, like stores, airports and conference centers.

The purchase is part of Apple's efforts to bolster its own mapping and location capabilities, after breaking up with . last year.

The purchase was reported over the weekend by The Wall Street Journal, which said Apple Inc. paid $20 million for the Silicon Valley company. Apple confirmed the purchase Monday but did not say how much it paid or why it wanted WiFiSLAM.

WiFiSLAM has shut down its website and closed its account.

Traditional methods of locating cellphones include GPS and sensing of nearby cell towers. Neither of these approaches work well indoors. Retail chains are interested in helping shoppers find things in their stores, and apps that could help them navigate the aisles could be valuable. ABI Research estimates that the market for "indoor retail location" aids will be worth $5 billion in 2018.

Apple initially relied on to supply the default mapping and location application for the iPhone, but launched its own "Maps" app last year. The features of Google's iPhone app had been lagging those in the company's app for its own Android operating system. Among other things, the Android app included for some malls and airports.

Explore further: Google buys special effects technology firm Zync

1 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Yahoo! helps find smartphone 'apps'

Jun 16, 2011

Yahoo! has begun helping people navigate the sea of applications available for Apple iPhones or mobile gadgets powered by Google-backed Android software.

Recommended for you

Hackerspaces used to turn ideas turn into reality

13 hours ago

At HeatSync Labs, the tables are littered with computer chips, pens, pads and tools while the room is abuzz with the chatter of would-be inventors hoping to change the world—or just make cool things. They are part of a ...

China Telecom profit rises as mobile data grows

14 hours ago

China Telecom Ltd., one of the country's three main state-owned carriers, said Wednesday its profit rose 11.8 percent in the first half of the year as its Internet and mobile data businesses grew.

User comments : 0