In an age where parents are becoming more and more worried about their children’s whereabouts, people are weary about their friends’ locations, or even in a simple case of miscommunication about the location of a meeting place amongst friends or families, anything that guarantees a concrete solution is potentially a major hit in the market. This is the premise behind the creation of Loopt.
A Service Application Software that was launched in September 2006 initially for Boost Mobile subscribers, Loopt uses Global Positioning System (GPS) Chips in mobile phones so users can readily view friends’ or family members’ locations on their phones or on the web. Barely a year after its launch it expanded its services to Sprint/Nextel subscribers. According to www.loopt.com, they are targeting further expansion by making Loopt available to other major providers towards the early part of 2008.
It is said to differ from other tracking devices because it is particularly tied to Mobile Phones and unlike ordinary text messaging, it allows the users to view their family members’ or friends’ locations on “real-time” maps whenever they need to for a prize of $2.99 (plus charges) per month. There’s not a need to update the users locations manually because it is designed to update locations automatically. To address “privacy issues”, Loopt users’ locations may only be viewed by those identified as members of his/her private network and the phone’s privacy settings allows on or off of location sharing.
Aside from the obvious “friend tracker” service, Loopt allows picture uploads straight from camera phones while users edit their profiles from anywhere (through phone or web, whichever is convenient). Usually, people make use of a mobile cover to protect the camera of their device and buy them from sites which sell Mobile Covers Online in India. Another feature is the web messaging ability to an individual or to a group or sending proximity messages to friends who nearby.
It may be considered a downside that Loopt is currently only available to a select group of GPS-enabled phones. For Boost amp; Nextel subscribers, it’s available on Motorola iPhones and for Sprint subscribers; it’s available to LG (LX570), Sanyo Katana, Samsung A920, amp; Motorola Razor. For a more detailed list of the Phone brands and model, check out https://loopt.com/loopt/phones.aspx.
Another downside is Loopt’s inability to provide cross-carrier functionality which may be an issue for a family or group of friends who uses different carriers (which is, in fact, a reality).
Loopt is most likely to succeed and become a hit among teenagers and members of the partying bracket. But like any other product in the market, Loopt’s marketability and success will greatly depend on how well issues are addressed beyond how great its services are. Another thing to consider is its practicability versus all the other tracker/locator devices available in the market today.