Qualcomm this week announced the commercial availability of Gimbal, its proximity beacons that allow companies to interact with customers via their smartphones.
Gimbal beacons are Bluetooth access points that help shops deliver content to users' devices and support both iOS and Android. Shops can manage their Gimbal beacons using Gimbal manager and send discounts and other offers to customers' devices as well as other contextually relevant content.
Right now, Qualcomm has two variations of the Gimbal beacon: the Series 20, which is available for as little as $10 per unit and measures 95 x 102 x 24 mm, and the Series 10, which is available for as little as $5 per unit and measures 28 x 40 x 5.6 mm. The more expensive Series 20 is weatherproof, and both models are accurate to one foot.
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Intrusive? A Bluetooth device (or beacon) can't just access your phone if it wants to. You need to have an App running in the first place for this to work.
For example, you go to the Smithsonian and run their App when you're inside. Then when you're looking at an exhibit your phone displays additional information about it.
For directions inside a mall or other building there could be a "universal" App just for getting directions. Or Google could incorporate with Maps with this support and you turn the feature on when you need directions.