Buddy Beacon was initially developed by uLocate for U.S. wireless operator Helio and introduced in 2006 to Helio customers. In January 2008 uLocate bought back the software development and the trademark from Helio to integrate the friend finder into its own location aware widget platform, WHERE.
With access to the Buddy Beacon network, Garmin customers will be able to connect with their friends, share their location and update their status across a variety of online social networking sites including Facebook. Technically speaking Buddy Beacon is not a tracking application: the user is required to share its location proactively rather than passively transmitting its position.
For Garmin this is the second partnership with location-based software providers. At the end of June, mobile social networking provider GyPSii signed a multi-year worldwide agreement with the GPS manufacturer.
Last week uLocate also announced a partnership with U.S. Wireless operator AT&T to make WHERE widgets available to its customers. Mark Collins, vice president, Consumer Products, AT&T Mobility said: “It’s a great addition to our portfolio in this category, and as uLocate continues to add new location-based applications to WHERE, our customers will have access to an even broader menu.” WHERE is currently available with many U.S. wireless operators - with the exception of Verizon - and is also downloadable for Symbian phones, Blackberry and iPhones.