You know how annoying it is: your mobile, which serves you well outdoors, at your office desk and – to fellow passengers’ annoyance – on the bus, just doesn’t get a strong enough signal at home.
Maybe you’re in a basement flat, or maybe your living room is signal-free while you find that in your bathroom, and more specifically on the freezing cold window sill, your mobile boasts a full five bars.
If you’re on Vodafone, help is at hand. The Sure Signal is effectively a tiny mobile phone mast that sits in your home. First things first, don’t worry about frying your brain, the radiation is no greater than that of a wireless router. And it’s near the router, actually, that you’ll need to put this gizmo.
Would you want other people to know, all day long, exactly where you are, right down to the street corner or restaurant?
Unsettling as that may sound to some, wireless carriers are betting that many of their customers do, and they’re rolling out services to make it possible.
Sprint Nextel Corp. has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens. Now, Verizon Wireless is gearing up to offer such a service in the next several weeks to its 65 million customers, people familiar with it say.
WSJ’s Jessica Vascellaro tests out Loopt’s new buddy-tracking device to see whether it’s helpful for hooking up with friends or just another invasion of privacy.
Making this people-tracking possible is that cellphones today come embedded with Global Positioning System technology. With it, carriers have already offered mapping features such as turn-by-turn driving instructions. But they long hesitated to offer another breakthrough made possible by GPS — tracking of cellphone users’ whereabouts in real time — because of privacy and liability concerns. Continue reading »