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Bruce Krulwich  

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  • Chip Makers Are Racing To Deliver Universal Location Positioning To Mobile Devices [View article]
    Invensense's Firefly series is a chip that integrates sensor data and other data on the chip. It's not a software solution as I understand it. The distinction between technology running in software, such as in a smartphone OS or in a mobile app, and in hardware, such as in dedicated chips, is whether the software runs alongside, and competes for resources with, other software running on the device. I'm not against such solutions, and have reported on them many times, but hardware (not software) based solutions, such as chip-based solutions from Invensense and others, is that they run in hardware and do not use software resources.

    Certainly hardware solutions do interact with software, primarily in making location data and other data available to apps. But the key in many chip-based solutions is that they do not require software to do the integration, since they happen in the chip, in hardware.
    Nov 25, 2015. 02:06 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chip Makers Are Racing To Deliver Universal Location Positioning To Mobile Devices [View article]
    @Esekla, the author has been tracking the area for years, and has discussed Invensense's chips many times. The first Grizzly Analytics report on indoor location processing was published in December 2011, and the updated report in May, 2012, analyzed Invensense R&D.

    Chips from several companies have been announced as adopted by phone makers, not just Invensense's. Other chips have actually been deployed in devices (such as Qualcomm's IZAT in some LG phones), even if they were not fully enabled.

    The major advantage will be getting the chips into the devices on the market and running.

    One more clarification: Chip-based research in indoor location positioning has been around for years, but the newest innovation to reach market, by most of the companies mentioned in this article, is the ability of the chips themselves to integrate multiple methods and to communicate directly with chips of different sorts. For example, some companies have GPS chips that are able to communicate directly (meaning over the bus, not via the application processor) with Wi-Fi receivers and sensor hubs. When this integration happens in software, it requires and loads the device's application processor. But when it happens in hardware, it frees up the AP and enables the integration to happen continuously and much more effortlessly.
    Nov 25, 2015. 12:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Asus And OnePlus: Unlikely Runners In The Flagship Phone Race [View article]
    First of all, I referred to what Asus was known for. Yes, they've had innovations. Many companies have. But if you ask anyone on the street what one company's top phone has more memory than the others, I bet not even 1% will guess Asus. That's why I wrote an article that's complementary of them. It's a great move.

    As for whether RAM is important, everyone can disagree, and it clearly depends on everyone's use case. But most top models I've bought slowed down noticeably in less than a year. Apps are getting heavier, and we're using more of them. I'm not a heavy gamer, and they are the heaviest apps out there. But I have 3-4 VoIP apps (and will have more if my local cell networks get faster), 4-5 messaging apps, 4 social net apps, a video streaming app, 3-4 email apps, and they all run all the time, and their performance has also slowed down over time, on each phone I get. I just want a top-of-the-line phone to last a year at top speeds. I'm convinced that 4gb RAM (or more) is the key to doing that.

    Remember when Microsoft thought 640K RAM was more than anyone would ever need? We see in computers that the app resource requirements, mostly Office and the like, are driving up RAM requirements. Why is it a surprise for the same to happen in phones?
    Jul 28, 2015. 02:33 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Acuity Acquires Bytelight: Why Mainstream Is Going Cutting Edge [View article]
    To see a demo of Acuity Brands' newest indoor location solution, see
    Jun 15, 2015. 04:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel Joins The Indoor Location Chip Revolution [View article]
    @Arpad Somlyody: I've written about INVN's technology, including two related acquisitions, here:

    One catch is that motion sensing technology of this sort, called "sensor fusion" since it integrates data from many sensors, always has a small degree of error, around 1%, which adds up over time. Because of this, mobile device based motion sensing is only accurate for the first few minutes indoors.

    That said, it's fantastic when combined with radio approaches like Intel's. The motion sensing handles the short movements, and the errors in motion sensing is corrected by the radio approach in the long term. Many companies are taking this sort of integrated approach, but not yet in chips, since sensor processors and radio processors tend to be different chips.

    All of these approaches, and their tradeoffs, are discussed in this report:

    Great question!
    Mar 23, 2015. 10:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Intel Joins The Indoor Location Chip Revolution [View article]
    @Michael from Redmond: There certainly is a lot of work in the indoor location area for industrial applications. Early on this was done with dedicated devices, but more and more on smartphones. Various companies are working on apps for warehouses, workforce management, and the like. That said, after all the success of social networking and media sharing and the like, it's hard not to see appeal for indoor location sharing, geotagging, friend finding, etc, not to mention shopping list navigation. The key here is that chips like Intel's (and Qualcomm's and Broadcom's) can make the ubiquitous, and leave it up to app developers to decide what to do with it, rather than requiring app developers to handle the location part as well.
    Mar 22, 2015. 07:02 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Oculus Rift Is Not A Game Changer For Facebook... Yet [View article]
    The head of Oculus clearly believes that the future of social networking and on-line activity is along the lines of the cult classic Snowcrash . I find this both hard to believe and troubling, but the side of the road is littered with people who tried to predict how users will use on-line social media.....
    Jan 22, 2015. 07:56 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Oculus Rift Is Not A Game Changer For Facebook... Yet [View article]
    It's interesting to compare FB's acquisitions to Google's "developing new technology completely unrelated to search." Most people say that regarding Google's work on Google Docs, a divergence that's fast becoming profitable, or Android. But Google is also plowing money into self-driving cars and private spacecraft, both of which are years away from any profitability or any convergence with Google's current interests. At the very least, there is logic behind FB hedging their bets with some far-out stuff.
    Jan 22, 2015. 03:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass? [View article]
    Yes, you're right, and I made it clear in the article that I'm speculating regarding Oculus's moving towards non-VR use. The founder of Oculus has said very clearly that he believes in a SnowCrash-like future of VR-based on-line experiences, and that he believes that this would be a much more "social" on-line experience than currently. But again, I'm speculating that they may be planning to shift some of their work in the AR or HUD direction.
    Dec 30, 2014. 08:11 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass? [View article]
    You write "Already we can locate ourselves in space via GPS and display images of our environment." But that's just the point. GPS doesn't work indoors, and you can't locate using display images of the environment until AFTER you've collected a huge set of display images of the environment. But what if you want to move around an indoor site which has not been prepared by collecting display images (or radio signal fingerprints)? Enter SLAM. SLAM gives a camera-based device (eyeglasses, drone, phone, ...) the ability to move through a NEW site, tracking location while moving, and learn along the way enough new information to track location better the next time.

    Get it now?
    Dec 29, 2014. 01:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass? [View article]
    Great points. Regarding SLAM:

    1. The "L" in SLAM relates to SLAM's tracking the location of the device/user while moving around, even in places where GPS is not available. Indoor location is a huge challenge in mobile these days, and while there are a lot of solutions (I've seen over 170 start-ups in the area, and all the major co's are working on it there's no solution out there for the mass market. Visual SLAM is often more accurate than the radio approaches running on today's mobile devices (although next-gen radio like UWB shows a lot of promise

    2. Visual SLAM often includes more interpretation of the objects in the image than is typically done by HUD eyeglasses like Google Glass. This is what they mean by "building a 3D model of the environment." If the system knows not only what the image of the front of a building looks like, but that it's a building of certain dimensions and certain characteristics, apps should be able to use that information to do new things. Hopefully.
    Dec 26, 2014. 02:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Might Facebook's Oculus Be Going After Google Glass? [View article]
    This is a great point - Google has a lot of visual technology in a lot of different projects. I mentioned Tango, but their car has a lot, and they also have projects analyzing Street View images, and image search, and more. Most of all, they seem to have a way of migrating technologies from one use to another.
    Dec 25, 2014. 07:52 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple Ready To SLAM The World? [View article]
    The following report was just released that gives a lot of information on R&D related to SLAM technology - - from Apple and ten other companies.
    Nov 4, 2014. 09:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Gemalto And A Wearable Future For Mobile Payments [View article]
    I understand that they are, but my understanding may not be accurate or current. Things like this change all the time. In any case, it's great to see companies like Gemalto that push into next-generation initiatives.
    Sep 8, 2014. 10:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Apple Ready To SLAM The World? [View article]
    MORE EVIDENCE: Apple's updated schedule for the WWDC conference next week now includes the following: Your phone always knows where it is. Using information about a device's location can help personalize your app and make it more engaging and memorable. (

    Is this hinting to a new works-anywhere indoor location capability, as predicted above? We'll know next week.....
    May 26, 2014. 04:21 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment