News Scan: Indoor location on steroids; Messaging revenues decline; more


>> LED/VLC could provide indoor location 'on steroids'

High accuracy technologies, such as light-emitting diodes (LED) and visible light communications (VLC), offer significant performance benefits at lower costs for the indoor location market, judges ABI Research. "As part of a hybrid solution [LED/VLC] becomes indoor location on steroids, offering ubiquitous sub-meter levels of accuracy in three dimensions, and even has the theoretical possibility as a data communications alternative to Wi-Fi, etc. Most implementations under consideration are already compatible with existing smartphone technology today," explains ABI senior analyst Patrick Connolly. Read more about LED/VLC technology.

[More on indoor location: Google, Qualcomm, Motorola are the top 3 indoor location vendors, says ABI | Apple buys WifiSLAM for $20 million, report says]

>> Mobile messaging revenues decline for first time

Global mobile messaging service revenues declined for the first time last year, following a peak in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Mobile operator revenue from messaging services, which include SMS and MMS, dropped 4 percent last year to below $104 billion. The research firm predicts that operator competition for subscribers and over-the-top instant messaging services like WhatsApp, Line Messenger and Tencent's WeChat will cause global operator messaging revenue to fall 20 percent by 2017. Read more on mobile messaging's decline.

[More on mobile messaging: Spam, hackers fuel rise in messaging security gateway market, says Infonetics | Corporate mobile messaging may get makeover]

>> HP could be launching smartphone this month

The long-rumored Hewlett-Packard Co. smartphone could become a reality this month, according to a report by 9-to-5 Google. The HP smartphone would run the Android operating system, be priced at $200, and aimed at prepaid and emerging markets, the report says, citing HP sources. "We're hearing that the device resembles the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note with obvious cost cutting measures to get the device down to the $200 price point," the report observes. Read more about the new HP smartphone.

[More on HP: Tablets blamed for steepest PC market decline in history | Most enterprise mobile apps are vulnerable to common exploits, warns HP]

>> Google Glass app could wake up sleepy drivers

A new app for Google Glass is designed to prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, explains a report by IDG News Service. The new DriveSafe app uses an infrared light sensor and a tilt/angle sensor to detect if a driver is failing asleep. The app then uses Google Glass to deliver voice and visual messages notifying the driver that he or she is falling asleep. The developers stress that DriveSafe, which is in beta, "is not guaranteed to stop you from falling asleep while drive." Read more on DriveSafe.

[More on Google Glass: Google Glass has a way to go in operating room, says surgeon | Google Glass could be life saver for emergency responders]

>> iMobile3 launches iBeacon-based mobile payment platform

iMobile3's PassMarket Beacon Edition uses Apple's iBeacon location technology to enable mobile customers at participating retailers to check out without paying cash or swiping a credit card. "Using the precise location data provided by iBeacons, consumers' devices will know when they have entered a retailer for which they have stored payment information and the option to check out using the pass can be triggered by, for instance, walking up to a cash register," explains a report by AppleInsider. Read more on the PassMarket platform.

[More on iBeacon: Mobile apps bridge gap between digital, brick-and-mortar retail | What's next for NFC after Google Wallet overhaul?]