Interesting find by the sleuths over at PreCentral. A number of Verizon webOS owners have reported issues with GPS, location based apps providing less than stellar results. These applications often rely on a combination of data from both GPS and aGPS, the latter being dependent upon your wireless carrier who provides location using their infrastructure. aGPS is often faster than GPS. When combined, location based apps like Foursquare are going to be immeasurable better, since they rely on accurate data of your location.
Palm has confirmed that Verizon has a proprietary aGPS system and third party applications do not have access to aGPS on Palm devices. Palm’s developer page for GPS provides more details:
Some carriers may not support, or may limit access to, Assisted-GPS (A-GPS) for location services. This can dramatically increase the time necessary for an initial position fix. This can be mitigated to some extent by choosing the parameters “responseTime:1″ and “accuracy:3” when requesting position information. These settings, when combined with Google Services, will return a low-resolution fix within 30 seconds in most environments. Once the low resolution fix is acquired, updating the location using ‘responseTime:3’ and ‘accuracy:1’ will provide a high resolution location fix when available.
It’s not quite clear why Verizon does not provide support for aGPS to third party applications on Palm devices or if they provide support on other platforms including Android. What is clear is that the lack of aGPS support on Verizon Palm webOS phones is a kick in the location based services.