The phonelocator.mobi story

8.18.2014

by Alex Birkett

phonelocator.mobi is now closed. Our android app, Phonelocator for ten20 is now available.

Phonelocator was conceived while I was contracting at Nokia in 2007. I'd just bought a brand new Nokia N95, one of the first mass market phones that had a GPS that could be used by what later became known as 'apps'. At the time I was into long distance motorcycling, a friend and I were planning a trip to the Alps. We wanted to show our friends back in London where we were on a map.

Phonelocator was hacked together before the trip. The server supported only one handset and everything was public but you could see a pin on the map that indicated the current location of my phone and a trail behind the phone that showed where it had been.

Later that summer Phonelocator was released to the world, it began to morph into a security product. I added a lost phone alarm, a SIM card changed notification mechanism and a passcode to prevent the app being removed from the phone.

I used Phonelocator to track the bike on the 2008 Britt butt rally - I came 18th! In February 2009 I did another long trip with the N95 attached to the handlebars, this time from London to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress where Phonelocator was a semifinalist in the NAVTEQ lbs challenge. Phonelocator did not win but I had a great time and met some interesting people.

At its peak during 2011, a new user was being registered every 50 seconds. Since then usage has declined as the Symbian OS phones are replaced with phone running other, newer, OSes.

I spend the first part of my career writing software for Symbian OS. I'm sad to see the end of the Phonelocator for Symbian app and phonelocator.mobi. Now I feel the time is write to move on to something new. Through Phonelocator I've become acquainted with people from around the world. I want to thank everybody who has used the app and welcome to ten20live.com.

Alex on Bike