Windows Phone 7 needs a Location hub
Windows Phone 7 has introduced the notion of hubs. Hubs are essentially parts of the phone OS that aggregate information pertaining to a particular “thing”; right now those six “things” are:
- Music & Video
I’m of the opinion that there should be a seventh hub – Location. There are many services today that provide location specific data (Foursquare & Flickr are two such examples)although I can safely predict that the number of these will grow exponentially over the coming years. On Windows Phone 7 right now there is no way to present location-centric information in a single place – hence why I believe there is a need for a Location hub.
In this (currently mythical) scenario apps would be able to publish information that is relevant to the user’s current location into this Location hub in much the same way that (e.g.) the SmugMug app currently publishes photos into the pictures hub. The Location hub would display all of that information on a map and the user could zoom in/out to see more or less information as they please. I can think of many apps, or types of apps, that could take advantage of this:
- Foursquare could publish check-ins
- Twitter could publish geo-tagged tweets
- Retailers could publish special offers (“Come to our store on Oxford Street in the next 10 minutes with your Windows Phone and receive a discount”)
- London Underground could publish an overlay of the tube network, including real-time train information
- Event sites like Eventful, Elmcity and Upcoming could publish local events
- OpenTable (who already have an app in the Windows Phone marketplace) could publish information about nearby restaurants
- Weather apps could overlay current or future weather conditions
- Transport for London could publish up-to-the-minute information about their “boris bikes” such as which stations currently have bikes available
- Your friends could share their location which could get published into the hub (this suggestion came from Todd Mcdermid)
- Apps that provide data about public amenities (letter boxes, public toilets, post offices etc…) could overlay that information on the Location hub
The more I consider this the more I think its a fantastic idea (well, I would, wouldn’t I) and the more I become amazed that Microsoft didn’t provide it straight off the bat. I realise there’s little chance that this little blog post will reach the powers that be and make a difference but still, I can live in hope!
Let me know that you think. What other information could end up in a Location hub?
UPDATE: Vote for this idea on the Windows Phone 7 Community Wishlist at : New
hub for “Location” data