I’ve been thinking about writing a post on how silly is to get AT&T’s GPS driving directions app/service at 9.99 a month when you can buy a turn-by-turn apps for around $50. That’s another post. But now I just read on AppleInsider that Loopt has an agreement with AT&T to provide constant location updates for $3.99 a month. Although at first blush, I thought this was another turn-by-turn rip off, but after reading the artcle, I can see this approach make sense. I would not pay $4 a month for it, but there is one advantage I like here. This does NOT require the app to run in the background. As a jailbreaker, running apps in the background is not an issue, but I tend not to do it because it kills my battery life. And working in *AT&T purgatory battery life is a real issue. However, if I understand this correctly, Loopt is calling AT&T and getting the phone location from them. Since AT&T always knows ‘roughly’ where you are at all times, an extra call to the phone does not need to be made. You do not get the pin point accuracy of GPS, but I could see a push notification saying you are 500′ of what/whoever and thus ask to turn the application on for a more refined position. This is an unintended benefit. The only reason Loopt is doing this is because Apple does not allow apps to run in the background, but this could be a great way to provide location awareness without using bandwidth and battery. Of course we are talking about AT&T here, so do not expect this service to ever be provided as part of your plan anytime in the near future. Sigh.
I cannot see myself using this at all, kinda a creepy if you ask me, but instead prefer the manual updates I do with foursquare. But could be useful for some people. REALLY useful if your phone goes ‘missing’.
* AT&T purgatory: A location where your always on the edge of service, and thus your phone has to work much harder to keep sync as well as perform email update. (A post about this coming soon)