Tomorrow, Motorola will announce that it plans to replace Google's location services on its Android phones with Skyhook's location engine. By default, all Android devices currently use Google's own location services to determine a phone's location based on GPS data from the phone and the location of nearby Wi-Fi access points and cellular towers. Skyhook, which pioneered this method to determine a device's location, made its name as the default location provider for Apple's iPhone and desktop operating systems. Adding Motorola to its partners will give Skyhook a strong foothold in the booming market for Android phones and applications.

Developers Won't Have to Change Anything

The first Motorola devices with Skyhook's location services as the default will ship later this year. According to Skyhook, developers won't have to make any changes to their Android apps to work with Skyhook's location engine. Motorola will simply replace Google's libraries with Skyhook's Core Location services.

As location becomes a more important part of a growing array of mobile apps, being able to quickly determine a phone's location even when inside and without a line of sight to the nearest GPS satellites becomes a necessity for developers. Skyhook, which launched in 2003, pioneered this system of using Wi-Fi access points to determine a device's location. Clearly, the engineers at Motorola felt that Skyhook's solution is currently superior to Google's services.

Over the last few months, a number of the Android developers we talked to voiced frustration with the quality of Google's location services on Android. Indeed, some of the most popular location-based applications on Android like ShopSavvy and Flixster already use Skyhook's Android libraries instead of Google's built-in services.