Not All Smartphone Owners Use GPS To Find Directions

November 4, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. status (n.) [stey-tuhs] – refers to a current condition
Example: Not much has improved in the status of the business recently.

2. shell out (v. phrase) [shel] – to pay, contribute or to hand over, especially money
Example: The employees shelled out part of their salaries as donation to the homeless.
3. fortune (n.) [fawr-chuhn] – a great amount of wealth or any material prosperity, especially money
Example: It will be worth a fortune to purchase that house.

4. speculate (v.) [spek-yuh-leyt] – to think or reflect when formulating a guess
Example: The supervisor speculated that the employees’ frequent absences must be due to health reasons.

5. mediocre (adj.) [mee-dee-oh-ker] – poor, inferior, or not satisfactory
Example: The dancer’s mediocre performance bored the audiences.

Read the text below.

Although most smartphones now have GPS features to track location, only about half of US smartphone owners use it to help them get directions.

This finding from the Pew Internet and American Life Project research reveals that 55% of smartphone owners in the US use GPS built in their phones to get maps, directions, and recommendations based on their location. These services are provided by applications such as Google Maps, Bing, or Yelp.

Besides GPS, only few smartphone owners also avail themselves of other location-related services, namely geosocial services and location tagging in social networks.

Geosocial services, like Foursquare and Gowalla, allow users to "check-in" at a certain place using their smartphones. It also enables them to see where their contacts are. According to Pew Research, only 12% of smartphone owners use these services, while only 14% of smartphone users use location tagging. This allows them to include their location when posting status updates on their social network profiles like those on Facebook and Twitter.

Mobile technology writer Amy Gahran finds it odd that although these people shell out a fortune to own a smartphone, only few of them take advantage of location services. Gahran speculates that since smartphones have mediocre battery life, users would rather turn off the GPS when not specifically needed so they can stretch out power usage.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         How can GPS be of help aside from getting directions?
·         How do you think GPS can be further improved?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some people would want to post their location online?
·         Would you like to share the places you’ve “checked in”? Why?

November 4, 2011