Location Labs is announcing the launch of its newest location, controls and security platform called "Sparkle." The platform, which will exist both as a pre-loaded client and set of APIs, provides access to location services, security and user level controls for things like voice, data and applications.Today,
With Sparkle, developers can do things like add geo-fencing to location-aware applications, or control the time of day an app can be used. It can even detect the motion and velocity of the handset.
Sprint has partnered with Location Labs to be the first to pre-install the new platform on its handsets. For now, the technology will be pre-loaded onto Sprint smartphones.
However, Sparkle isn't necessarily just for smartphones. Although it works on Android, RIM and iPhone for now, it can also work on Qualcomm's Brew Mobile platform as well, a platform often found on low-cost "feature" phones. It should be noted that on iPhone, all of Sparkle's features don't work due to Apple's controls - only the first two components in the list below will work on iPhone, location and geo-fencing.
The Sparkle platform has three parts: a mobile client that runs in the background, a web and application API and pre-packaged consumer services.
For developers, the Sparkle platform offers four things:
- On-Demand and Cloud-Based Location: The location part of the platform enables apps in genres like family finders, social gaming, fraud detection, phone detection, mobile marketing and more to locate a device.
- Geofencing & Location Service: Geofencing allows developers to draw virtual boundaries around real-world locales. Developers could use Sparkle's geofences to automatically "check in" a user to a popular location-based service like Foursquare or Facebook Places, for example.
- Controls for Data & Voice: The controls for data and voice can enable smarter, more controllable applications - something which could eventually enable I.T. lockdowns on app usage, perhaps, or more commonly, parental controls.
- Velocity Determination: Sparkle knows when the phone is in motion. This could enable safety conscious apps that prohibit texting while driving, for example. Velocity awareness can also help make GPS-enabled apps smarter - like a check-in app will only operate when it sees you've stayed put for awhile at a particular venue, thus saving you on battery usage.
To demonstrate Sparkle's potential, Location Labs has been working with select mobile developers. Earlier, a Fourquare-focused app called MayorMaker was released using Sparkle technology and now a Twitter-based game called TweetMover is available too. In Tweetmover, Twitter users can unlock neighborhood-level badges as they move around town. (Hey, shouldn't Foursquare be doing this? Geofenced-enabled points and badges?)
Developers interested in testing Sparkle can sign up for the private beta now, from here.